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Kentucky women’s basketball outlasts Tennessee Tech 73-67 to earn second win in a row

Kentucky+forward+Ajae+Petty+%2813%29+falls+during+the+Kentucky+vs%2C+Tennessee+Tech+womens+basketball+game+Monday%2C+Dec.+4%2C+2023%2C+at+the+Clive+M.+Beck+Center+in+Lexington%2C+Kentucky.+Kentucky+won+73-67.+Photo+by+Travis+Fannon+%7C+Staff
Travis Fannon
Kentucky forward Ajae Petty (13) falls during the Kentucky vs, Tennessee Tech women’s basketball game Monday, Dec. 4, 2023, at the Clive M. Beck Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 73-67. Photo by Travis Fannon | Staff

Kentucky women’s basketball (4-5) defeated Tennessee Tech 73-67 on Sunday inside the Clive M. Beck Center on the campus of Transylvania University to get its fourth win of the season.

The Cats got it done despite not having senior guard Maddie Scherr, who was unavailable for the contest due to being in concussion protocol.

Senior Eniya Russell would pick up right where she left off after her career-high 21-point performance against Boston College, with the Baltimore native sinking two 3-pointers and scoring eight of the Wildcats’ 13 opening points.

Another Baltimore native in junior Ajae Petty would waste no time getting into the scoring column herself, with Petty scoring the next six Kentucky points to maintain a six-point lead heading into the second quarter.

Kentucky guard Eniya Russell (4) shoots the ball during the Kentucky vs, Tennessee Tech womens basketball game Monday, Dec. 4, 2023, at the Clive M. Beck Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 73-67. Photo by Travis Fannon | Staff (Travis Fannon)

The start of the second quarter would be back-and-forth, with both teams exchanging buckets as the Wildcats maintained their seven-point lead halfway through the period.

A 10-3 Golden Eagle run would shorten the Wildcat lead to two, but the surge would be short lived with sophomore Saniah Tyler netting two consecutive 3-pointers to bring the Kentucky advantage back to six heading into the break.

Petty would kick off the scoring in the second half, with the junior forward being responsible for the only two field goals scored in the first four minutes of the third quarter.

“We have to do a better job finding our body defensively,” Kentucky Head Coach Kyra Elzy said. “We weren’t settling in defensively… we weren’t switching like we were supposed to be.”

Layups from Petty and graduate student Emma King would give the Wildcats their first double-digit lead of the game, with more perimeter shooting from Tennessee Tech following to cut the lead down to six.

The Golden Eagle surge would hold steady, with six Kentucky turnovers and numerous trips to the charity stripe for Tennessee Tech leaving the Wildcats with a four-point advantage heading into the fourth.

“We were falling all over each other,” Elzy said. “We can’t be afraid of turning the ball over but there’s a fine line.”

Petty would again secure the first points of the quarter, with her three buckets adding to her eventual career-high 33-point performance, with Petty also tearing down 15 rebounds to get her fourth double-double of the season.

“I was so proud of Ajae,” Elzy said. “Yes, they were smaller, but she still found a way to score even when they double-teamed her.”

The Golden Eagles would put up a fight, but the Wildcat lead, along with Kentucky sinking 13 of its 16 free throw attempts, would prove too much as the Cats secured a 73-67 win.

Kentucky will look to extend what would be the longest winning streak of its season thus far when it takes on the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Wednesday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m. ET, this time at Rupp Arena.

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