UK’s confidence grows as they beat Alabama


Junior guard Taylor Murray gets ready to pass the ball during the game against California on Thursday, December 21, 2017 in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky was defeated 62-52. Photo by Olivia Beach | Staff

Jordan Colquitt

Kentucky’s women’s basketball team took on the Alabama Crimson Tide on Thursday night at Memorial Coliseum and won 79-54, ending its two-game losing streak and picking up the team’s tenth win of the season.

Alabama moves to 4-4 in the SEC while Kentucky goes to 2-5. 

The Crimson Tide shot 8-14 from the field while the Cats shot 8-12 in the first quarter. The Cats trailed as the end of the first quarter despite the efficient shooting.

“We knew it was going to be tough game and it was,” Kentucky head coach Matthew Mitchell said after the game.

KeKe McKinney tied up the game 24-24 with 4:19 left in the second quarter, and the Cats took a five-point lead with them into halftime.

At halftime, Kentucky was shooting 58 percent from the field while only hitting 1-5 from behind the arc. Alabama was 3-9 from behind the 3-point line while hitting 43 percent of their shots.

“We knew we had to come out (to the third quarter) with high intensity,” McKinney said.

The Cats did come out of the locker room with intensity, as they outscored Alabama 45-25 in the second half. Kentucky went on 18-3 run to end the fourth quarter while the Crimson Tide went through a scoring drought that lasted 4:22 minutes.

The Cats have struggled during the season getting their shots to fall, but tonight they got into a groove.

“You know that the shots you’re taking may not be falling but if you keep practicing those shots, then eventually they’re going to go in,” Taylor Murray said. “You just have to stay confident and stay aggressive.”

Senior Ashley Williams led the team with 15 points for Alabama. Alabama shot 20-51 from the overall and 5-18 from behind the arc.

Murray ended the game with a double-double of 20 points and 10 assists, becoming the only player in school history to have 20 points and 10 assists in SEC game.

This is the first double-digit win for the Cats since Dec. 5 in their game against Evansville, where they won 100-62. Kentucky shot a season-high 64.7 percent from the field, which is also the second best field goal percentage in a game in school history.

This is Kentucky’s first point-assist double-double since Feb. 2016.

Although the Cats are happy with the win, they know there’s still work to be done.

“A win is a win, but we still have a stretch to go,” Murray said. “We can celebrate now, but we still have more games to finish out.”

Kentucky will play at Arkansas on Jan. 29 at 7 p.m. The game will be streamed live on the SEC Network.