UK’s comeback attempt falls short against LSU

Junior Guard Taylor Murray moves the ball closer to the hoop on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018 in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky lost 70-72. Photo by Edward Justice | Staff

Roman West

The Kentucky women’s basketball team, riding a three-game win-streak, could not complete a late game comeback against the LSU Tigers as the Cats fell back into the losing column, falling 72-70. 

UK’s leading scorer was Maci Morris, who scored 17 points on 6-14 shooting. She also had two rebounds and four assists. 

This was UK’s third and final game at Rupp Arena this season; the Cats lost all three.

“I’m real disappointed today,” head coach Matthew Mitchell said. “The game came down to effort and we didn’t give everything that we had.”

The first quarter was a grim time to be a Cat. The team was unable to connect on its first eight shots from the field. The Cats’ first points of the game came on an and-one finish by Dorie Harrison 6:14 into the game. 

The Cats ended the first quarter down 16-5, a score that was better than it could have been with how UK played early. The Tigers had two players who outscored UK’s entire team through the first quarter, Ayana Mitchell (six) and Chloe Jackson (eight).

“That’s as good of an excuse as anything, but that’s what it is: an excuse,” Mitchell said on if the rough start affected the rest of the game.

In the second quarter, the Cats showed signs of life, connecting on their first seven attempts from the field. UK forced the Tigers to call a timeout after going on a run that cut the deficit to seven.

LSU adjusted in the timeout and pushed the lead back up to 12 over the last three minutes of the second quarter. 

After a back-and-forth third quarter, the Cats entered the fourth quarter down eight points. They were able to make it interesting, cutting the lead to as few as two points in the last three minutes of the game; however, they were never able to take the lead as LSU had an answer seemingly every time Kentucky scored. 

As the game turned into a free throw shooting contest, the Cats had hope. LSU was missing free throws and Kentucky wasn’t. It came down to the last possession, where UK was down two with the ball with 10 seconds to go. Morris had a shot to send it to overtime after creating good separation, but the shot didn’t fall.

UK is now 12-12 on the season and 4-6 in the SEC. The Cats take on the Missouri Tigers in Columbia, Missouri, this Thursday at 9 p.m.