No. 19 Kentucky Shuts Down Radford, 59-36

MacKenzie Cann (Brittney Howard/UK Athletics)

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Seniors Evelyn Akhator and Makayla Epps scored 13 points apiece as the Kentucky women’s basketball team topped Radford 59-36 on Sunday afternoon at Memorial Coliseum.

The Wildcats held the Highlanders to a season-low 36 points in the contest. Radford shot just 26.4 percent from the floor in the game, while committing 19 turnovers.

Meanwhile, Kentucky had its own struggles on the offensive end of the floor, scoring a season-low 59 points. The Wildcats hit just 36.9 percent from the field in the game. However, Kentucky committed just 10 turnovers and won the battle of the boards 43-35. The Wildcats had 26 points in the paint, compared to just 16 for Radford.

Makenzie Cann was the only other player in double figures in the game, as she came off the bench to score 11 points and grab seven rebounds for the Wildcats. Alyssa Rice had nine points and nine rebounds in the game for Kentucky.

Kentucky was without the services of point guard Taylor Murray, who sat out the game with an injured hand. Her status is day-to-day. But the Wildcats got solid contributions from a pair of freshman in Murray’s absence. Jaida Roper got her first career start and responded with two points and four assists. Paige Poffenberger came off the bench, playing a career-high 16 minutes and scoring two points, grabbing three rebounds and handing out one assist.

Radford (7-2) was led in scoring by Brittany Allen, Destinee Walker and Janayla White, who each scored six points for the Highlanders.

Kentucky got off to a quick start, with Maci Morris hitting a three-pointer and a jumper to give the Wildcats a 5-0 lead. Radford cut the lead to 5-4, but Kentucky finished the stanza on a 10-4 run to lead 15-8 after one period. In addition to Morris’ five points, Akhator had four for the Wildcats, who held Radford to 25 percent (three-of-12) shooting from the floor in the quarter. Kentucky also forced Radford into eight turnovers in the first 10 minutes.

The Wildcats extended the lead to double figures early in the second quarter on a three-pointer by Epps and a basket by Akhator, which gave Kentucky a 20-10 advantage. From there, both teams went cold, but Kentucky was able to use a 10-0 run late in the half to build a 30-14 halftime lead. The Wildcats held the Highlanders without a field goal for a stretch of 7:42 in the period. As they did in the first quarter, Radford hit just 25 percent from the floor, on three-of-12 shooting. Kentucky hit six-of-16 shots in the frame. Epps had seven points in the period for Kentucky, while Akhator and Rice each had four.

The third quarter was fairly even throughout as both teams continued to struggle scoring against the opposing defense. Kentucky hit just five-of-16 (31.3 percent) from the floor, while Radford connected on just four of its 11 shots (36.4 percent) in the frame. Kentucky outscored Radford 11-9 in the period to take a 41-23 lead into the final quarter. Cann scored five points in the period for the Wildcats, connecting on a three-pointer and a putback.

Early in the fourth quarter, Radford was able to cut into Kentucky’s lead as Allen hit back-to-back three-pointers to pull the Highlanders within 43-29 with 9:08 left in the game. But Kentucky answered with a 13-2 run to extend the lead to 56-31.

 

KENTUCKY WOMEN’S BASKETBALL POSTGAME NOTES

No. 19 Kentucky vs. Radford

Memorial Coliseum – Lexington, Ky.

Dec. 18, 2016

FINAL SCORE: No. 19 Kentucky 59, Radford 36

Team Records and Series Notes

–          Matthew Mitchell is in his 10th season with Kentucky. Mitchell is 257-121 overall as a head coach and 227-92 during his tenure at Kentucky.

–          Currently, UK is No. 19 in the Associated Press Top 25 and No. 23 in the USA Today/Coaches Top 25. Kentucky has been ranked in both the USA Today/Coaches’ Top 25 and The Associated Press Top 25 since week 13 of the 2009-10 season, which is a program-record streak of 138 weeks.

–          With today’s win, Kentucky’s overall record against Radford rises to 2-0.

o   The only previous meeting between the two schools came Nov. 26, 1988 when the Wildcats earned an 89-83 win.

–          Kentucky will return to action Wednesday, Dec. 21 at 12 p.m. ET, when the Wildcats host Washington State inside Memorial Coliseum. The game will stream live on SEC Network+ and will be broadcast on the UK Sports Radio Network in Lexington on 630AM WLAP.

 

Team Notes

–          Kentucky used the starting five of Makayla Epps, Evelyn Akhator, Maci Morris, Alyssa Rice and Jaida Roper.

o   UK is 1-0 this season with that starting-five combination.

–          Today’s victory brings UK’s record to 8-3 overall.

–          The Wildcats now own a 12-1 overall record over Big South opponents.

–          With the victory, UK snapped Radford’s seven-game winning streak.

o   In its last game, Radford earned its first victory over a Power 5 opponent Dec. 16, 2007 by defeating Wake Forest 68-60.

–          Kentucky held Radford to its lowest scoring performance of the season, allowing them to only score 36 points.

o   Before today’s contest, the Highlanders were averaging 63.5 points per game and its lowest scoring total was 44 points.

o   Radford’s 36 points also represent the lowest scoring total from a UK opponent this season.

o   The Wildcats also held Radford to single-digit scoring in three quarters for the first time this season.

–          The Wildcats dominated the paint, out-scoring Radford 26-16 in points in the paint.

–          Kentucky capitalized on Radford’s 19 turnovers, scoring 19 points off those miscues.

 

Individual Notes

–          Makayla Epps ended the game with 13 points, five rebounds and one assist.

o   Epps has now scored in double-figures in all but one game this season.

o   With today’s performance, Epps needs just 85 points (1,487 total) to enter Kentucky’s top-10 scorers in school history, as her total is currently 1,402 which is 15th in UK history.

–          Evelyn Akhator added 13 points and seven rebounds for the Wildcats.

o   Akhator also had two steals and one block.

o   The senior leads the team in blocks with 11 overall.

o   Akhator has scored in double figures in nine of UK’s 11 games. This was only the fourth game all season that Akhator did not record double-figure rebounds.

–          Alyssa Rice had a near double-double with nine points and nine boards.

o   Rice’s nine rebounds ties her career high, which was set against Florida on March 4, 2016.

o   Her nine points marked her second-best scoring performance of the season after posting a career-high 10 points against New Hampshire earlier this season.

o   The junior re-entered the starting lineup today after coming off the bench in the last three contests.

o   Kentucky is 7-1 when she starts.

–          Makenzie Cann posted 11 points and seven rebounds in the outing.

o   Cann provided double-digit scoring for the fourth time this season in today’s game.

o   Cann went 3-of-7 from beyond the arc in today’s game, which is the second most 3s she’s made in a contest this season.

  • She leads the team with 20 made 3s this season.

–          Maci Morris added seven points, four assists and two rebounds.

o   Morris’ four assists marked a career high for the sophomore.

–          Jaida Roper had two points, four assists and two steals in her first career start.

o   Roper’s two steals marked a career high for the freshman.

o   Roper also saw a career-high 25 minutes of playing time in today’s contest.

–          Paige Poffenberger tied two career highs today with two points and three boards.

o   Poffenberger also grabbed her first career steal and played a career-high 16 minutes in the contest.

–          Jess Hardin scored two points to go along with one rebound and one assist.

–          Taylor Murray missed today’s game due to a left-hand injury sustained in UK’s game vs. Arizona State.

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