TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Forward Evelyn Akhator had a career-high 29 points, and added a season-high 15 rebounds, as the Kentucky women’s basketball team beat Alabama 71-54 on Thursday night at Coleman Coliseum in SEC action.
For Akhator, the senior from Lagos, Nigeria, it was her ninth double-double of the season and the 22nd of her two-year career with the Wildcats. She hit 12 of her first 13 field goals, and finished 12-of-14 from the field for the game.
Fellow senior Makayla Epps was the only other Wildcat in double figures, scoring 16 points. Makenzie Cann came off the bench to hit three three-point shots to account for her nine points.
Kentucky (11-6, 2-2 SEC) shot 16-of-25 (64 percent) from the field in the second half, including eight-of-11 (72.7 percent) in the fourth period. The Wildcats also won the rebounding battle in the contest, grabbing 37 compared to just 33 for the Tide. Kentucky held Alabama to just two second-chance points in the game.
Alabama (14-3, 2-2) turned the ball over 18 times, leading to 16 Kentucky points. The Wildcats had 15 turnovers, leading to 14 Alabama points.
Kentucky got off to a quick start, shooting 60 percent (six-of-10) from the floor in the first period. Six different Wildcats scored in the quarter, as Kentucky led 16-9 after the first 10 minutes of action. While Kentucky was shooting well from the floor, Alabama struggled, hitting just three-of-18 (17 percent) from the field. The Tide missed its last nine shots from the floor in the frame.
In the second quarter, Kentucky cooled off considerably, hitting just five-of-21 (23.8 percent) from the floor. Alabama was able to hit six-of-15 (40 percent) from the field in the frame, and the Tide closed the gap, as Kentucky led 27-24 at the halftime break. Akhator led Kentucky with eight points and 10 rebounds in the half.
Kentucky opened the third period by outscoring Alabama 16-9 to build the lead to 43-33. After Alabama was able to cut it back to four at 43-39, the Wildcats outscored the Tide 6-2 over the remaining 3:12 in the period to lead 49-41 at the end of three quarters. Akhator had 13 points in the period to lead the Cats.
In the fourth quarter, Kentucky hit six of its first seven shots to extend the lead to 15 at 63-48. A pair of Maci Morris free throws with 1:45 left gave Kentucky its biggest lead of the game at 17 points, which would also be the final margin of victory.