UK women’s basketball downs Montana to remain undefeated


Kentucky guard #24 Taylor Murray takes a shot during the game against Southern Indiana on Sunday, November 5, 2017 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Chase Phillips | Staff

Roman West

The UK women’s basketball team kicked off its West Coast trip on Thursday night by defeating the Montana Grizzlies 71-54 to improve to 3-0.

The Cats were led by Taylor Murray and her speed. Murray used her biggest weapon to get to the basket and finish around the rim. When she wasn’t scoring, she was drawing help and finding her open teammates. Murray recorded her first double-double of the season, finishing the game with 18 points, 12 rebounds and added on three assists.

The Cats started the game off well, shooting their way to a 20-13 lead by the end of the first quarter. Kentucky was able to beat Montana’s press early, making four threes in the quarter.

Murray was a huge reason for the lead, scoring seven points, pulling down seven rebounds and dishing out her three assists all in the first quarter. Murray’s speed came into play when she got the defensive rebounds, as she was able to push the offense in transition.

With 2:10 left in the quarter, Murray showcased her abilities to hurt teams in transition by grabbing the rebound, getting in front of Montana’s defensive and keeping her head up to find Makenzie Cann for a three to push UK’s lead to 18-9.

UK’s offense stagnated in the second quarter, scoring only seven points in comparison to 14 from Montana. Kentucky wasn’t able to put any points on the board for over five minutes until Jaida Roper connected on a jumper to tie the game at 22.

The Grizzlies were led in the first half by forward Jace Henderson. Henderson led her team at the break with nine points, shooting 4-7 from the field and 1-2 from the line.

Kentucky was able to get back in the swing of things in the second half by starting the third quarter on a 13-2 run. The run was led by Murray and Alyssa Rice. 

Murray and Rice combined for 10 of the points on the run while also grabbing seven combined rebounds. 

Another factor in the Cats’ third quarter success was their free throw shooting, going 9-10 from the charity stripe.

Heading into the fourth quarter, Kentucky led by 10 points. With 9:01 left in the game, Maci Morris was fouled on a made jump shot and went on to make the free throw to convert the and-one. UK went back to score on the next three possessions, with two made jumpers from Dorie Harrison and a three-pointer from Morris.

From that point on, the Wildcats never looked back. They outscored the Grizzlies 24-17 in the fourth quarter, and the Cats were able to push their lead to as much as 20. 

The next game of UK’s trip out west will be at Washington State at 4 p.m. on Sunday. The game will be broadcast on the PAC-12 network with live audio on