Kentucky’s junior forward Evelyn Akhator took a pass from teammate Taylor Murray early in the game, seconds in actually, and swished a jumper to give the Wildcats a 2-0 lead over the Georgia Bulldogs.
UGA’s Pachis Roberts tipped in a basket a little under three minutes later to bring Georgia within seven points, 9-2. It was the closest they would get for the rest of the game.
Kentucky crushed the Bulldogs in the first half, leading 44-14 at the break, and cruised in the second half to bring their record to 12-6 on the season and 3-2 in conference play with an 82-61 win.
A First Half Georgia Would Rather Forget
Without a doubt, Kentucky played their best first half of the season this afternoon. They held the Bulldogs to four points in the first quarter on 2-of-17 shooting (12 percent).
Despite an active six-point swing early in the second, Georgia managed just ten points in the quarter and did not put a dent in the UK lead over the final four minutes of the half. The Bulldogs finished 6-of-33 (18 percent) for the half.
The Bulldogs took good care of the ball, only during it over six times during the half, but could not even get to the free throw line to offset their shooting woes. They managed only two trips to the charity stripe and finished 2-of-4.
Kentucky also staved off a season long thorn in their collective paw by limiting Georgia to only two offensive boards in the half.
Evelyn Akhator Dominated, Again
In Kentucky’s crucial 71-54 road win over Alabama, Evelyn Akhator played a magnificent game. She posted a double-double with a career-high 29 points and 15 boards.
Against Georgia, Akhator was just as effective. She started strong by scoring Kentucky’s first four points, blocking a shot, and stealing a pass. By the end of the first quarter, Akhator had ten of Kentucky’s first 23 points. She finished the half with a double-double, 17 points, and ten rebounds.
For the game, Akhator scored 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting (66 percent) coupled with 17 rebounds, two blocks, and two steals in only 30 minutes of action. However, Akhator did struggle from the free throw line, hitting just 4-of-8 attempts.
When Akhator is in the zone, like she was today, Kentucky is a completely different team. The Nigerian native’s ability to spread the floor opens up the offensive and her relentless energy on defense is infectious. Akhator is a special player that the Big Blue Nation needs to appreciate in her final two months in a UK uniform.
Kentucky’s Guards Played Fantastic As Well
When Akhator has played at a human level this season, Kentucky’s backcourt of Makayla Epps and Taylor Murray have stepped up to save that day. While that was not necessary against Georgia, the two managed to stand out.
Each scored in double figures, Murray with 14 and Epps with 13, and found a way to impact the stat sheet. Epps finished the game with a team-high six assists. Murray had an excellent game from the field (4-of-8) but shined at the free throw line, finishing a perfect 6-for-6.
Reserves Mackenzie Cann and Jaida Roper had big games off the bench. Cann hit a trip of triples and had 11 points, five rebounds, and three assists. Roper netted seven points, dished out four assists, and grabbed two rebounds. One never knows when the second strip will need to augment an off day from the starters. So it is a welcome sign that Cann and Roper are starting play with some consistency.