No. 19 Kentucky shuts down Radford, 59-36
Seniors Evelyn Akhator and Makayla Epps scored 13 points apiece as the Kentucky women’s basketball team topped Radford 59-36 on Sunday afternoon at Memorial Coliseum.
The Wildcats held the Highlanders to a season-low 36 points in the contest. Radford shot just 26.4 percent from the floor in the game, while committing 19 turnovers.
Meanwhile, Kentucky had its own struggles on the offensive end of the floor, scoring a season-low 59 points. The Wildcats hit just 36.9 percent from the field in the game. However, Kentucky committed just 10 turnovers and won the battle of the boards 43-35. The Wildcats had 26 points in the paint, compared to just 16 for Radford.
Makenzie Cann was the only other player in double figures in the game, as she came off the bench to score 11 points and grab seven rebounds for the Wildcats. Alyssa Rice had nine points and nine rebounds in the game for Kentucky.
Kentucky was without the services of point guard Taylor Murray, who sat out the game with an injured hand. Her status is day-to-day. But the Wildcats got solid contributions from a pair of freshman in Murray’s absence. Jaida Roper got her first career start and responded with two points and four assists. Paige Poffenberger came off the bench, playing a career-high 16 minutes and scoring two points, grabbing three rebounds and handing out one assist.
Radford (7-2) was led in scoring by Brittany Allen, Destinee Walker and Janayla White, who each scored six points for the Highlanders.
Kentucky got off to a quick start, with Maci Morris hitting a three-pointer and a jumper to give the Wildcats a 5-0 lead. Radford cut the lead to 5-4, but Kentucky finished the stanza on a 10-4 run to lead 15-8 after one period. In addition to Morris’ five points, Akhator had four for the Wildcats, who held Radford to 25 percent (three-of-12) shooting from the floor in the quarter. Kentucky also forced Radford into eight turnovers in the first 10 minutes.
The Wildcats extended the lead to double figures early in the second quarter on a three-pointer by Epps and a basket by Akhator, which gave Kentucky a 20-10 advantage. From there, both teams went cold, but Kentucky was able to use a 10-0 run late in the half to build a 30-14 halftime lead. The Wildcats held the Highlanders without a field goal for a stretch of 7:42 in the period. As they did in the first quarter, Radford hit just 25 percent from the floor, on three-of-12 shooting. Kentucky hit six-of-16 shots in the frame. Epps had seven points in the period for Kentucky, while Akhator and Rice each had four.
The third quarter was fairly even throughout as both teams continued to struggle scoring against the opposing defense. Kentucky hit just five-of-16 (31.3 percent) from the floor, while Radford connected on just four of its 11 shots (36.4 percent) in the frame. Kentucky outscored Radford 11-9 in the period to take a 41-23 lead into the final quarter. Cann scored five points in the period for the Wildcats, connecting on a three-pointer and a putback.
Early in the fourth quarter, Radford was able to cut into Kentucky’s lead as Allen hit back-to-back three-pointers to pull the Highlanders within 43-29 with 9:08 left in the game. But Kentucky answered with a 13-2 run to extend the lead to 56-31.
Kentucky returns to action on Wednesday, facing Washington State at Memorial Coliseum. Tipoff is set for noon ET and the game can be seen on the SEC Network+.