Big fourth quarter gives UK third straight win


Kentucky junior forward Maci Morris leaps for a lay-up during the game against Louisville on Sunday, December 17, 2017 in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky was defeated 87-63. Photo by Rick Childress | Staff

Mohammad Ahmad

The UK women’s basketball team has won three games in-a-row after defeating the Auburn Tigers in Memorial Coliseum Thursday night, 65-48.

For the first time in 2018, UK is above .500 with a record of 12-11. The Cats now improve to 4-5 in SEC play and have now won 10 of their last 11 meetings against Auburn.

The Tigers have lost seven of their last eight games and the team is now 10-10 all-time when playing in Lexington.

Aside from their winning streak, UK players were able to celebrate Maci Morris’ 1000th career point. She now has 1,014 points, 33rd all-time in school history.

Morris led Kentucky in scoring with 18 points.

“I feel like we’re clicking a lot better. Lately we’ve played really well, and part of that comes from communicating more and executing plays together,” Morris said after the game.

Taylor Murray was a key defensive presence that complemented Morris. Murray garnered five steals against the Tigers as she now has 21 steals in her last six games.

The Cats’ first points were two straight threes from Morris to go on a 6-0 run, but Auburn responded with their own 9-0 run. Kentucky finished the quarter shooting 25 percent and missed seven of its last eight shots in the quarter.

As Auburn entered the second quarter with a 12-11 lead, Kentucky looked no different than earlier after missing its first four shots. However, the tide would shift in favor of the Cats halfway through the quarter.

After Emari Jones gave Auburn a 20-13 lead with 5:32 in the first half, UK went on a 16-5 run to finish the half with a 29-25 lead. The Cats scored eight of those points off of turnovers as the Tigers had six turnovers in the quarter.

Alyssa Rice was a big piece to UK keeping up with Auburn. She had seven points and six rebounds in the half, and she would finish the game with 11 points and nine rebounds, just a rebound shy from her third double-double this season.

“I came into today with an aggressive mindset, and I made sure I helped my team out grabbing boards and doing what I need to,” Rice said.

Once halftime was over, Auburn wasted no time coming out of the locker room and took the lead 32-31 with 6:28 left in the third. Unfortunately for Auburn, the excitement would be short lived as this would be the last time the Tigers would lead in the game.

UK went on a 8-2 run during the quarter and entered the fourth quarter up 42-38. Kentucky outscored Auburn 23-10 in the final quarter after opening the quarter with a 13-0 run. Auburn missed six shots in a row at one point as the Cats put the game away.

The Cats will play their next game on Feb. 4 at Rupp Arena against LSU. Tipoff is at noon.