To steal a line from the early days of the United States space program, sometimes a person has “just the right stuff,” and this afternoon sophomore Kentucky guard Maci Morris proves that mantra fits her to a tee. However, Morris’ career day fell prey to a single mistake in the Wildcats’ 73-71 defeat against Arizona State in overtime.
With nine ticks left on the clock in the extra period, Morris grabbed what would have been a key defensive rebound that would have given the Wildcats a shot to win the game. Instead, Morris caught the ball after she previously stepped out of bounds.
Seconds later the Sun Devil’s Sophie Brunner sunk the game-winning basket while Makayla Epps desperation three at the buzzer did not draw iron.
Regardless of the costly final error, Morris played the game of her life. She scored a career-high 29 points to go along with three assists and a rebound. Morris was 9-of-17 from the floor and hit all nine of her free-throw attempts. More importantly, she demonstrated an ability to cut seamlessly to the basket, which will help spread the floor for the team’s shooters.
Fellow second-year guard Taylor Murray also played lights out for Kentucky. Murray’s vaunted speed was on full display as she regularly broke ahead of the Sun Devil’s transition defense for easy layups, but like, Morris, Murray’s day will be remembered for a missed opportunity.
After a sensational offensive rebound and basket in the dying seconds of the game, Murray had a chance to give Kentucky the lead at the foul line. She then missed her only attempt of the day. Murray finished the game with 16 points (8-of-13 shootings), four rebounds, and four assists.
Epps was the only other Wildcat in double figures, She scored 14 points, all in the second half, to go along with seven boards and two assists.
Kentucky lead at the half 31-24 and had an eight-point lead in the third quarter, along with the momentum before the Sun Devils used a quick 4-0 run to put themselves within striking distance.
The loss drops Kentucky to 7-3 on the season and is the team’s second overtime defeat of the year. It is also their third consecutive loss to a Pac 12 team, a streak that extends back last season’s upset loss to Washington in the Sweet 16.