Experiencing what may have been a pre-Thanksgiving turkey hangover, the 20th ranked Kentucky Hoops team fought through several barren stretches to record their fourth win of the season, 74-47, tonight against the Morehead State Eagles at Memorial Coliseum
Kentucky started the game on an 11-0 run only to see the Eagles hit four consecutive three-pointers to close the opening quarter and draw within three points at 20-17.
A prolonged period without points in the second quarter by Morehead allowed for Kentucky to put scrap and claw their way to a 33-19 halftime lead which they never surrendered.
Below are the main takeaways from the victory:
Taylor Murray matched her career high with 14 points in the first half. The speedy sophomore is best known for her defense and dishing out assists, but with leading scorers Makayla Epps and Evelyn Akhator struggling to score, Murray proved there is more to her game than meets the eye and became the fourth different Wildcat to lead the team in scoring this season. Murray scored Kentucky’s first basket of the game (a three) and never looked back. She hit six of her first eight shots in the first half, most of which were gorgeous mid-range jumpers. Murray even tried her hand at topping Kentucky’s ace rebounder, Evelyn Akhator, in that category, but came up just a bit short. Murray finished the game 18 points on 8-of-13 shooting (2-of-5 from distance), eight rebounds, two assists, and a steal.
Maci Morris played her best game of the season and didn’t hit a three-pointer. The Bell County native hustled her heart out in over thirty minutes of action. Morris fought for loose balls, skyed for rebounds, and was often the first player back on defense. She also continued to demonstrate her growth as a player with smooth drives to basket and some slick moves in the paint. Morris finished the game with 14 points on 6-of-13 shooting, was perfect from the foul line, and collected six rebounds to go with a single assist.
Kentucky waged total war in the post. Morehead made more threes (eight) and free throws (13) than two-point baskets (five). The Wildcats scorched the Eagles in the paint 40-6 to offset an off 3-of-15 night from the three-point line. The stat looms even more impressive considering that bigs Evelyn Akhator and Alyssa Rice combined for only 13 points.
Kentucky could not hit the broad side of the barn during the middle portion in the first half. After the 11-0 run above run to start the game, Kentucky struggled to put a ball in the basket. Morehead outscored Kentucky 11-5 for the rest of the first quarter and only trailed by three points at the end of the first ten minutes. The Wildcats failed to score for 3:50 midway through the second quarter but maintained a seven-point advantage throughout due to a seven minutes Eagles’ dry spell.
The third quarter was not any kinder to the Wildcat’s shooting percentage. Kentucky only hit six of their 21 shot attempts in the quarter and saw a 45-24 lead shrink to an uncomfortable 13 points going into the final ten minutes of the game.