UK’s late-game triumph pushes Wildcats past LSU


Sophomore forward Keke McKinney looks for an open teammate to pass to during the game against Middle Tennessee on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018, at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky defeated the Blue Raiders 72-55. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

Jake Maynard

The no. 16 ranked Kentucky women’s basketball team, without two key players due to injuries, performed a late-game comeback to beat the LSU Tigers 64-60 on the road Thursday evening. The Cats are now 16-3 this season and 3-2 in SEC play.

Taylor Murray and Rhyne Howard both did not play due to injuries. Star senior Maci Morris played through a knee injury.  

Despite being in obvious pain at times, Morris ended with 20 points and five rebounds on 7-of-12 shooting. Morris’ 20-points once again moved her up the UK all-time scoring list, this time up to number nine.

Kentucky opened the game with an 18-5 run in which six different Wildcats scored in slightly over seven minutes. UK would lead by as much as 16 in the first quarter.

LSU’s Jaelyn Richard-Harris ended the first quarter by making three 3-pointers in less than a minute and a half to cut the Wildcat lead down to seven.

The second quarter started slowly for LSU– Kentucky held the Tigers scoreless for the first three minutes of the quarter, but LSU marched back into the game in under five minutes. With 3:43 left in the half, the Tigers had cut the Kentucky lead to just one point.

Freshman Blair Green stepped up and made a three-pointer with 2:18 remaining on the clock, sparking a UK run. LSU’s next possession ended on a 1-of-2 trip to the line, one of many poor free throw trips for the Tigers. Morris drilled a three on the other end of the floor with slightly under two minutes in the half. Kentucky then forced an LSU turnover for a Keke McKinney three, sending UK to locker room with a 31-25 lead at the half.

The third quarter began with a back-and-forth scoring effort but ended in LSU’s favor. The Tigers cut the Wildcats’ six-point halftime lead to just two points to begin the fourth quarter.

With seven minutes remaining in the game, LSU tied the contest for the first time. After a two-minute power struggle, LSU’s Ayana Mitchell stole the lead with 5:06 remaining.

With a minute left on the clock, UK had regained the lead with a score of 60-58. Mitchell scored the next basket and tied the game at 60 with 45 seconds left.  

Kentucky called a timeout, which was followed by McKinney’s hitting her second notable three of the night to give the Wildcats a 63-60 lead with 20 seconds left. LSU missed a quick attempt at a layup and was forced to foul McKinney, who made 1-of-2 free throws to push the lead to four and seal the game at 64-60.

Kentucky returns to the court next Thursday against Missouri. Tip-off is set for 7:30 at home at Memorial Coliseum and will be televised on the SEC Network.