UK women’s basketball defeated by the Gamecocks 74-70


Kentucky head coach Matthew Mitchell looks up at the score board during the game. University of Kentucky women’s basketball team lost to South Carolina 74-70 at Memorial Coliseum on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2018, in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Michael Clubb| Staff

Jake Maynard

The no. 19 ranked Kentucky Wildcats were defeated 74-70 to the no. 16 ranked South Carolina Gamecocks in the Wildcats’ second loss in a row and third loss in five games.

South Carolina scored the first bucket, but UK answered with a 7-0 run. Kentucky controlled the game 20-10 with 1:26 remaining in the first quarter when the Gamecocks woke up, and South Carolina went on a 7-0 run in the last minute and a half. The run ended with a 3-point buzzer-beater.  

Maci Morris started the game strong for the Cats– the senior Bell County native scored eight points in the first quarter on 4-of-5 shooting. Morris ended with 21 points, five assists and three blocks.

That 7-0 run would build to become a 40-15 stretch from the last minute and a half of the first quarter to the first eight minutes of the third. Dawn Staley, Carolina’s head coach made it sound simple.

“We just played with more energy,” Staley said.

“You have to credit South Carolina,” UK head coach Matthew Mitchell said. “They played a lot harder than us tonight, played with a lot more energy, a lot more effort and if we lose that category we’re going to have a hard time in SEC play.”

The second half was back-and-forth, but South Carolina ended with another seven-point run in the final two and a half minutes and ended the half with a 31-28 lead.  

South Carolina exploded in the third. An 8-2 run forced a UK timeout. After that timeout, Carolina mounted a 6-3 run and forced another UK timeout in a minute and a half.   

Kentucky clawed back into the game in the fourth quarter, but the Cats, due to a seven and eight point run were able to cut South Carolina’s 13-point lead at the beginning of the quarter to just four points at the end.  

The Gamecocks’ head coach attributed this to the team’s substitutions.

“We had people in positions that we probably should not have had, but we also thought we’d built a big enough lead that we thought we’d able to execute at the end of the game.”

South Carolina’s leading scorer was former Kentucky player, Alexis Jennings. “She looked good and she really played well. She’s a good player,” said coach Mitchell about his former player.

The Wildcats’ next game will be against Florida in Rupp Arena on Sunday, February 3rd. The game will be available to watch on ESPNU.