After breaking into the AP Top 25 on Monday for the first time since December 4th, 2017, the Kentucky women’s basketball team notched a 87-57 win over Morehead State University on Wednesday. The win was special for head coach Matthew Mitchell, who once coached at Morehead State.
Senior Maci Morris, who shined in the win over the Eagles, acknowledged her teammates’ value after the game.
“Taylor (Murray) is playing amazing right now and so is Rhyne (Howard), so it takes a lot of stress off me and I can play off them instead of just always looking for my shot. I can look for my shot, but I always know that they’re going to be available to score as well,” Morris said.
Coach Mitchell agrees.
“…everyone is better. It has taken more pressure off Maci,” Mitchell said.
Morris scored 31 points in the win, making it the second most that Morris has scored in her career– she scored 35 against South Carolina back in February. Morris came alive in the second quarter, scoring 19 points in just ten minutes. The Wildcats went on a 9-2 run to open the quarter and all nine points were scored by Morris. The senior led the Wildcats’ 12-4 run late in the quarter with ten points in five minutes.
Morris’ 31 points were a product of efficient shooting. The senior guard shot 12-20 on the game. Morris lived up to her sharpshooting reputation, making four of her eight three-point attempts.
Star freshman Howard added 17 points of her own to the Wildcats’ blowout win. Howard has scored ten or more points in all eight of her games as a Wildcat. She has emerged as more than just a scorer for the Cats– Howard pulled down ten rebounds for her second straight double-double.
The Wildcats have earned a reputation for their defense and Howard has bought into the defense-first system. The freshman forward’s hustle rewarded her with four steals and two blocks in the win.
Junior guard Jaida Roper scored 14 points for the Cats on ten-of-ten free-throw shooting.
Senior guard Taylor Murray tallied 13 points on five-of-eight shooting. Murray had six assist and five steals and also collected two offensive rebounds.
The Cats’ defensive efforts caused 25 Morehead State turnovers. Kentucky capitalized on the mistakes they forced, scoring 38 points off the Eagles’ turnovers.
The Wildcats will have more than a week off after playing four games in just a week. Coach Mitchell admitted to the team’s fatigue.
“We’re really banged up right now and some downtime for some of our players is really going to help us refresh, and rebound, and recover, and that’s what we need,” Mitchell said.
Kentucky will return to the court to face Rhode Island on Thursday, December 6. The game’s tipoff has not yet been announced but will be between seven and nine E.T. The game will be available on SEC Network+.