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Takeaways From UK Hoops’ 77-68 Defeat Against Texas A&M

NCAA Womens Basketball: Alabama at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The script was familiar. The Kentucky hoops team entered the fourth quarter of today's game with the Texas A&M Aggies trailing by a single point, 50-49. The Wildcats and the Aggies traded the lead for much of the final frame. Two free throws by Evelyn Akhator knotted things at 62 with 5:23 to play.

Then the contest reached the crescendo that Matthew Mitchell's team barely avoided against Missouri on Thursday; they faded down the stretch to fall to 10-6 on the season and 1-2 in SEC play.

It was not a total tank job for the Cats, but the small details again colluded to foil another hard fought effort.

A&M's Front Court Shredded the Cats

Kentucky simply had no answer for the Aggies center, Khaalia Hillsman. The junior posted a devastating double-double, 16 points, and 12 rebounds. She also was shot an efficient 7-of-12 from the floor and hit her only free throws of the game.

Forward Anriel Howard struggled from the floor (3-of 9 shooting, 3-of-4 free throws) and scored nine points but added eleven boards.

Overall, A & M outrebounded Kentucky 38 to 26. Their 15 offensive rebounds put 22 points to their final tally to offset the Cats 40 to 30 advantage in points scored in the paint.

The Cats Were Cold From Deep

3's ultimately saved the Wildcats' collective hyde against Missouri and crippled them against the visitors from the Lone Star State.

Kentucky went 3-of-13 (23 percent) from deep. Two of which came early from Maci Morris who did not hit another all day.

In contrast, the Aggies backcourt duo of Kurtyce Knox and Jasmine Williams combined to hit six of the team's seven triples. The two touched Cats even worse than Hillsman. Knox played a fabulous game and came close to a double-double with 26 points and nine rebounds. Williams scored 19 and added four rebounds.

The Usual Suspects Had Big Games

If Kentucky is going to make the NCAA tournament this season, then Makayla Epps and Evely Akhator need play at a high level from this point forward.

After not seeing the ball for much of the Missouri game, the UK regularly feed the ball to Akhator in the post. The Nigerian native finished 6-of-10 from the field and was perfect from the free throw line, 8-for-8. She finished with 20 points but was limited to only four rebounds.

Epps also finished with 20 points on 9-of-19 shooting and 2-of-3 from the foul line. She also had four rebounds and two assists.

Taylor Murray was the only other Wildcat with double figures with 11.

Paige Poffenberger Played Well Off the Bench

With Jessica Hardin's spot in the rotation free due to the senior still suffering from the effects of a concussion, West Virginia native and freshman walk-on, Paige Poffenberger is making her case for more minutes.

She hit a 3 and scored five points in ten minutes of action. Giving Kentucky another option off the pine and added depth even when Hardin returns from injury.