Akhator, Murray Lead Kentucky Past LSU

BATON ROUGE, La. – The Kentucky women’s basketball team opened the game on a 12-0 run and never looked back, as the Wildcats topped LSU 55-42 on Thursday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

The win, which was Kentucky’s third in a row, was also the Wildcats’ first in Baton Rouge since January 28, 2010, ending a three-game losing streak at the PMAC.

Evelyn Akhator scored 20 points, marking the fourth straight game in which she has scored at least 20, while grabbing 11 rebounds in the victory. Akhator earned her 24th career double-double, and her 11th this season. It was the sixth time in her career that Akhator has scored at least 20 points, and it was also the third straight game in which she has done so.

Sophomore guard Taylor Murray had her first career double-double, with 11 points and a career-high 13 rebounds. Murray also added five assists.

Kentucky (13-6, 4-2 SEC) dominated the game inside, outscoring LSU 40-22 in the paint. Kentucky also dominated the rebounding battle, grabbing 45, compared to just 30 for the Tigers. Kentucky held LSU to just 18-of-55 (32.7 percent) shooting from the field in the game.

Makayla Epps was held to just nine points, but the senior did have six assists for the second consecutive game.

Kentucky got off to a quick start, jumping ahead 6-0 on a pair of baskets by Akhator and a layup by Murray, forcing LSU into a timeout. But the stop in action didn’t stop the Kentucky run, as the Wildcats ran off six more points to lead 12-0. LSU did not score until 3:14 remained in the first quarter. Kentucky led 17-6 after one period after shooting 58.3 percent from the field, while holding LSU to just 23.1 percent shooting. Akhator and Murray each had six points in the frame.

In the second quarter, both teams struggled to score early, as the game went without a point for nearly five minutes at one stretch. When Murray made a layup with 4:42 left in the period, Kentucky led 21-8. But LSU scored the next six points to cut Kentucky’s lead to 21-14. The teams traded baskets to end the half, which ended with the Wildcats holding a 23-16 advantage.

LSU (14-5, 3-3) scored first in the third period to cut Kentucky’s lead to 23-18, but the Wildcats had an answer. A jumper by Akhator, a steal and layup by Epps and a three-pointer by Maci Morris gave Kentucky a 7-0 run and a 30-18 lead. After an LSU basket, Kentucky scored seven in a row again, and the lead ballooned to 37-20. The Wildcats would lead 42-26 after three quarters of play.

In the fourth quarter, LSU tried to rally, but the Tigers never cut the Kentucky lead to single digits in the period. LSU got within 10 at 50-40 with 1:09 left. But free throws by Morris and Epps, and a jumper by Akhator, sealed the victory.

Leave a Reply