UK women’s basketball extends losing streak against Lady Vols


Kentucky junior guard Maci Morris watches pauses during a timeout during the game against Louisville on Sunday, December 17, 2017 in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky was defeated 87-63. Photo by Arden Barnes | Staff

Roman West

UK women’s basketball opened SEC play against Tennessee for the second consecutive season. Like last season, the Wildcats were unable to defeat the No. 7 Volunteers, falling 63-49. The Wildcats are now on a six-game losing streak while the Volunteers are still undefeated at 13-0.

The game was rough for the Wildcats early, falling behind 10-0 within the first four minutes of the game. Maci Morris hit a jumper to get the Cats on the board with 5:52 to go in the first quarter. The Vols didn’t let up, scoring 26 points in the first quarter and allowing only seven.

It seemed like Tennessee couldn’t miss, going 5-8 from behind the arc in the quarter. Kentucky took seven threes in the quarter, but Jaida Roper was the only Cat able to connect on her sole made field goal of the quarter.

A scary moment for Wildcats happened late in the first quarter. Morris had to be taken to the locker room with blood pouring down her face after taking a hit going for a rebound. Luckily for the Cats, she was able to return after getting two stitches over her left eye early in the second quarter.

The Cats cut into the Volunteers lead slightly in the second quarter, outscoring the Vols 13-10 in the period. However, they were never able to get it under 14 after they scored the first five points in the second quarter.

After returning from her injury, Morris fought to keep the Wildcats in the game by fighting for positioning, scrambling for loose balls and playing hard defense.

However, she picked up her third and fourth fouls early in the third quarter, keeping her on the bench for the rest of the quarter. She was still able to lead the team in scoring and was the only Cat in double figures, finishing with 18 points.

“It was no question. I was coming back,” Morris asked when asked if she ever thought the injury would be too severe for her to play through.

Without her presence, the Cats couldn’t get much going. They were outscored by the Vols 13-11 in the third quarter. Taylor Murray was able to get herself on the board, scoring four points in the quarter after starting the game 0-8.

The fourth quarter was much of the same, as a close-scoring quarter that didn’t matter too much because of the lead Tennessee was able to build early in the game. The Cats outscored the Vols 18-14 in the quarter. Tennessee’s Mercedes Russell proved too much for the Wildcats’ interior play, finishing the game with 16 points on 7-10 shooting. She also finished the day with 7 rebounds and 4 blocks.

“Give Tennessee a lot of credit,” said Kentucky head coach Matthew Mitchell. “That first quarter was difficult for us to come back from. They came out with a lot of energy, really ran the ball hard at us.”