UK grabs third consecutive win with victory over Murray State


Freshman guard Blair Green high-fives senior guard Maci Morris after a play 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 UK women’s basketball team has now won three games in a row after taking down in-state rival Murray State Racers 88-49 Friday afternoon at Memorial Coliseum to remain undefeated at home.

Just three days after the Cats had six double-digit scorers against Western Carolina, they had four double-digit scorers in Friday’s win. Maci Morris, Rhyne Howard, Jaida Roper and Taylor Murray all crossed the ten-point threshold. Howard led all scorers with 25 points. 

The game started off as a back-and-forth show. After a 4-0 start by the Cats, there were five different lead changes between both teams within the first quarter. Murray State held a 16-10 lead at one point and UK shot a dismal 16.7 percent from behind the arc in the first quarter.

A jumper from Tatyana Wyatt with 2:02 left in the quarter tied the game 20-20 heading into the second quarter.

Racers’ forward Evelyn Adebayo led the way as she had 12 points in the first quarter – the most among all scorers. Despite Adebayo’s efforts, however, the Racers had 10 turnovers in the quarter. Those turnovers would soon come back to haunt MSU.

After five different lead changes at the start of the second quarter, UK commanded the period after a Cats went 18-3 run in the last 8:26 of the half. Morris scored 11 in the quarter, including two three-pointers, after scoring only two points in the first.

The Cats got their first double digit lead of the game after a fast break layup from Murray with 1:26 left in the half. UK forced 18 total turnovers against the Racers in the first half and scored 18 points off those turnovers in the half.  The score was 42-28 UK at halftime as UK shot 50 percent from the field in the half despite being outrebounded 17-14. 

Right out of the gate after halftime, the Cats continued to try and put the game out of reach. UK opened the second half on a 11-2 run with Howard scoring seven of those 11 points. Murray State made only one field goal in the last 5:26 of the third quarter. Howard scored 17 points in the third as the Cats entered the final quarter leading 68-37.

The Cats gained some insurance in the last quarter, outscoring the Racers 20-12. UK’s 39-point margin was its largest lead Friday. 

Anyagaligbo provided a valuable presence off the bench for the Cats with 10 rebounds. Roper had a season high 15 points, Morris had 13 and Murray had 12. 

The Cats will head home for Christmas before they have to return to Memorial Coliseum on Saturday, Dec. 29thto take on Sacred Heart University at 11:30 am.