LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky women’s basketball team mounted another fourth-quarter rally on Sunday, but this one came up just short, as the Wildcats fell to LSU 72-70 in SEC action at Rupp Arena.
Kentucky (12-12, 4-6 SEC) had used big fourth quarters to win games over Alabama and Auburn in the last two weeks, and Sunday’s game appeared to be following a similar pattern. The Wildcats cut a 10-point fourth quarter deficit to one, 71-70, with 18 seconds left. After LSU hit one of two at the line with 16 seconds remaining, the Wildcats had a final possession with a chance to tie or win. But Maci Morris’ shot from the right side rimmed out, giving the Tigers a hard-fought win.
Morris led the Wildcats with 17 points while Taylor Murray added 16 points and six assists. KeKe McKinney and Amanda Paschal each scored 10 points for the Wildcats.
LSU (15-6, 7-3) took advantage of its superior height, winning the battle of the boards 35-23, including an 18-5 margin on the offensive glass. LSU was able to turn those 18 offensive boards into 15 second chance points, compared with just four such points for Kentucky. The Tigers forced the Wildcats into 15 turnovers and scored 21 points off of those miscues, while Kentucky forced 12 LSU turnovers, turning those into 13 points.
Kentucky missed its first nine shots from the floor in the game, allowing LSU to build an early 6-0 lead. In fact, Kentucky’s first points of the game didn’t come until 3:46 left in the first quarter, when Dorie Harrison converted an old fashioned three-point play to cut the LSU lead to 6-3. The Wildcats’ shooting woes continued throughout the period, as Kentucky made just two of its 15 attempts (13.3 percent) in the game’s first ten minutes. LSU finished the period on an 8-0 run and held a 16-5 lead at the end of the quarter.
In the second period, Kentucky hit its first eight shots from the floor, but LSU was able to take extend its lead to by taking advantage of five Wildcat turnovers. LSU led 27-15 before Kentucky mounted a 7-2 run to cut the lead to 29-22 with 3:01 left in the half. However, the Tigers responded by outscoring UK 9-4 to end the half, taking a 38-26 lead into the break.
Early in the third period, Kentucky got five straight points from senior Makenzie Cann to cut the LSU lead to 40-31. Kentucky eventually cut the lead to eight, 44-36 on a three-pointer by McKinney. However, LSU responded by scoring the next seven points to stretch the advantage to 51-36 with 1:18 left in the period. But Kentucky closed strong, scoring seven consecutive points to end the period, cutting the LSU lead to 51-43 after three quarters.
In the fourth period, Kentucky chipped away at the LSU advantage, setting the stage for the final sequence, where Morris’ shot missed and the rally came up just short.
Kentucky returns to action on Sunday, as the Wildcats visit Missouri in Columbia. Tipoff is set for 9 p.m. ET and the game can be seen on the SEC Network.