UK women’s basketball pushes the pace to win season opener

Kentucky guard #4 Maci Morris goes in for a layup during the game against Sacramento State on Friday, November 10, 2017 in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky won 101-70. Photo by Chase Phillips | Staff

Roman West

The UK women’s basketball team started its 2017-18 campaign on the right foot, defeating the Sacramento State Hornets by a final score of 101-70.

The Wildcats were led by junior point guard Taylor Murray, who finished the game with 22 points on 8-12 shooting, including a perfect 5-5 from the free throw line.

The Wildcats came out on fire, scoring 31 points in the first quarter. Senior guard/forward Makenzie Cann started the game off hot, hitting 3-4 of her field goals in the first quarter, including 2-3 three-point attempts. She was also able to grab five rebounds, three offensive and two defensive.

When asked if she was “feeling it” during the beginning of the game, Cann responded, “You could say that. It was definitely a focus of mine this week, to have a bigger role than I did last year, that’s definitely been on my mind.”

UK was able to push their lead in the second quarter. With 7:27 left in the first half, the Cats found themselves in a tight one, with only a two-point lead after a layup by Sacramento State’s Justyce Dawson.

After that Kentucky finished the half on a 19-7 run, started by Cann hitting back-to-back three-pointers. The run was finished by Murray, who scored the last nine points of the half for the Cats.

“We got some rebounds, which made us get in transition which made us push the ball which gave us open shots,” Murray said when asked about what got the late first half run started.

The Hornets kept themselves in the game in the first half due to their defense and running a full court press that kept the Wildcats on their toes. The pressure got the Hornets six steals in the half.

Offensively, Sacramento State relied on sophomore guard Hannah Friend, who led the team with 12 points in the first half. The Hornets shot 37.5% from the field in the first half compared to the 51.4% shooting the Cats had.

The pressure wore the Hornets down in the second half. Their tired legs led to the Wildcats opening a 78-55 lead by the end of the third quarter.

To start the second half, Friend hit a three pointer, then the Hornets couldn’t put points on the board again until the 6:40 mark, following it with another scoring drought until the 3:58 mark. During that stretch, the Wildcats put up 13 points, pushing their lead to 20.

The Wildcats got over the century mark in the fourth quarter with a turnaround jumper by Dorie Harrison. This was the first game Kentucky has scored over 100 points since Nov. 18, 2015, when they scored 112 against Morehead State.

Harrison finished the day with 10 points and 9 rebounds with all 10 points coming in the fourth quarter.