Cats ride hot start to move to 10-1


Senior guard Taylor Murray dribbles along the baseline 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

Mohammad Ahmad

The No. 18 ranked UK women’s basketball team put its loss against Louisville behind it and took care of business at Memorial Coliseum Saturday afternoon in a 72-55 victory over the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders to remain unbeaten at home this season.

The Cats avenged their 62-57 loss against the Blue Raiders in Murfreesboro last year, during a rough year for Kentucky. UK is now 16-5 all-time against Middle Tennessee. 

Four double-digit scorers led the way for the Cats. Blair Green, KeKe McKinney, Maci Morris and Taylor Murray combined for 50 points. Morris led the Cats in scoring with 14 points.

UK got off to a hot start early, scoring seven unanswered points early in the first quarter as they led 9-2 with 5:32 in the first. The Cats ended the first quarter with a 20-11 lead. Green came off the bench and scored two three-pointers in the first quarter.

The freshman was perfect from behind the arc in the game as she was 3-3 with 11 points in the game.

MTSU did a better job keeping up with the Cats early in the second quarter. MTSU and UK were even in scoring in the first 6:06 of the quarter as each team scored 12 apiece. Alex Johnson, MTSU’s leading scorer on the season, scored all 12 of MTSU’s points in that sequence.

However, the Cats took over for the rest of the quarter. UK ended the quarter on a 13-0 run during the last 3:54 of the half. Morris scored seven of those 13 points, ending the half with 12 points. The score was 45-23 UK at halftime.

The Cats shot 71% percent from the field in the half, making 15 of 21 field goal attempts. They forced five turnovers against the Blue Raiders in the half and scored seven points off those turnovers.

Still, MTSU was down but not out as it played catch up heading into the third quarter.  The Blue Raiders started the quarter on a hot streak as they made their first six field goals of the half.

A’Queen Hayes and Amanda Whittington combined for 10 points as they each made two field goals during the stretch. Both of Whittington’s shots were three-pointers. Overall, the Blue Raiders were 8-10 from the field in the quarter.

On the other hand, UK lost its hot hand that it had in the first half. The Cats shot 31 percent from the field and missed four shots in a row at one point. They were outscored by the Blue Raiders 18-11.

Entering the fourth quarter with a 56-41 lead, UK regained momentum and put the game out of reach as the Cats outscored the Blue Raiders 16-14. Murray and Jaida Roper combined for eight points in the quarter. Murray finished the game with 12 points.

UK will return to Memorial Coliseum on Tuesday to take on the Western Carolina Catamounts at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network+.