Cats suffer first loss of season at hands of Colorado


Head coach Matthew Mitchell of the Kentucky Wildcats talks to his team during the NCAA women’s basketball tournament Sweet 16 game against the Washington Huskies at Rupp Arena in Lexington, KY on Friday, March 25, 2016. Photo by Michael Reaves | Staff.

By Chris Leach

The No. 15 UK women’s basketball team played in their first road game of the season, and that challenge proved to be too much for the Cats to handle as the Colorado Buffaloes handed UK their first loss of the season Saturday evening.

The Cats fell to the Buffaloes 79-69 at the Coors Event Center, spoiling the undefeated record the Cats maintained through their first three games.

Early in the game, the hot shooting from the previous game against New Hampshire carried over as the Cats were knocking down shots and opened up an eight-point lead in the first seven minutes.

However, in the second quarter, Colorado’s lethal guard-combo of Alexis Robinson and Kennedy Leonard brought the Buffaloes back into the game, and them a seven point lead midway through the second.

The Buffaloes’ lead would be cut to only two at halftime, as the Cats were able to trim Colorado’s lead with three three-pointers, and a Makayla Epps floater as the halftime buzzer sounded.

The Cats came out cold to start the second half and could not knock down shots which allowed Colorado to go to work.

Leonard would come out of halftime on a mission to take down the Cats, as she either scored, or assisted six of the Buffaloes’ first eight shots coming out of the half. It was during that time that Colorado took advantage of the Cats’ cold shooting and opened up a 12-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Trying to overcome a double-digit lead with only a quarter of action remaining, the Cats would need to play near-perfect basketball if they had any chance of keeping their perfect record alive.

However, UK would play the opposite of perfect basketball as they turned the ball over 17 times the entire game, 11 more turnovers than the Buffaloes’ had. Colorado scored 17 points off those turnovers, many of which were easy transition layups from either Leonard or Robinson.

Robinson, who is an Ashland, Ky. native, led the Buffaloes’ with 19 points off 50 percent shooting. Leonard contributed 14 points herself, and dished out 12 assists.

For the Cats, all starters except Alyssa Rice scored in double figures, with Taylor Murray, Maci Morris and Epps each scoring 14. Where the Cats lacked scoring was from the bench, as the subs were only able to contribute nine points to the scoreboard, compared to 18 from the Buffaloes.

Evelyn Akhator extended her double-double streak to four games as she scored 12 points, and secured 13 rebounds.

The next game for the Cats will be back in Memorial Coliseum, as they will take on Morehead State on Wednesday, Nov. 23. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.