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Wildcats End Two-Game SEC Road Swing Sunday at Auburn

Taylor Murray (Vicky Graff Photo)

LEXINGTON, Ky. – In the midst of a three-game Southeastern Conference win streak, including two road wins over teams that were receiving votes in the Associated Press Top 25, the University of Kentucky women’s basketball team looks to continue its winning ways Sunday at 3 p.m. ET against Auburn inside Auburn Arena.

The game will be broadcast live on SEC Network with Sam Gore and Mike Thibault calling the action. The game will also be available through WatchESPN on computers, smartphones and tablets. Now in his 12th season, Neil Price will have the call on the UK Sports Network. Fans in Lexington can hear Price’s call of the game on 630 AM WLAP.

Kentucky (13-6, 4-2 SEC) is currently riding a three-game SEC win streak with wins at Alabama and LSU, who were both receiving votes in the Associated Press Top 25, and a home victory against Georgia. Most recently, the Wildcats took down LSU, 55-42, in Baton Rouge behind another strong defensive night. UK limited the Tigers to a season-low 42 points on 18-of-55 shooting, while outrebounding LSU, 45-30.

Senior post Evelyn Akhator was the star again for the Wildcats, posting 20 points with 11 rebounds. The performance marked her third straight game she has posted 20 or more points with 10 or more rebounds, becoming only the third player in program history to accomplish that feat. Akhator has 11 double-doubles this season, taking her career total to 24, which ranks fourth most in program history.

Sophomore guard Taylor Murray also shined in the win, recording her first career double-double with 11 points and a career-high 13 rebounds. Murray added five assists and three steals in the game. Senior guard Makayla Epps scored nine points with six rebounds, while sophomore guard Maci Morris had eight points, three rebounds, two blocks and two steals.

The Wildcats have arguably player their best basketball in this three-game win streak with a scoring margin of +17.0. UK is averaging 69.3 points per game, allowing opponents to just 52.3 points per game. UK is shooting 47.1 percent from the field, limiting opponents to just 36.5 percent. UK has controlled the glass during the streak, outrebounding teams by 9.7 rebounds per game.

Epps leads Kentucky in scoring this season averaging 16.3 points per game, while Akhator is second at 15.3 points and 10.7 rebounds. Murray and Morris are also averaging double figures with Murray averaging 12.6 points with 5.2 rebounds while Morris is averaging 11.2 points.

Auburn enters the weekend with a 14-5 record, including a 6-2 mark at home and 4-1 record in SEC play. The Tigers started league play with a win at Florida 82-75, before a 73-47 setback against South Carolina. AU has rattled off three straight wins in the series, winning vs. Ole Miss 83-60, at Vanderbilt 64-59 and most recently vs. Tennessee 79-61. The Tigers trailed 25-10 after the first quarter but outscored the Lady Vols 49-17 in the second and third quarters combined.

The Tigers have been paced this season in scoring by Katie Frerking averaging 16.4 points and a team-best 7.1 rebounds per game. Frerking is also second on the team with 53 assists and leads the team with 56 steals. Brandy Montgomery is second on the team averaging 15.4 points, while Janiah McKay is the final AU player scoring double-figures with 13.2 points per game.

As a team, Auburn is scoring 67.1 points per game, limiting opponents to just 59.9 points per game. The Tigers are forcing teams into 24.0 turnovers per game averaging 12.6 steals per game. AU is hitting 40.2 percent from the field this season and 29.7 percent from 3, while opponents are hitting 41.5 percent from the field and 33.8 percent from 3.

Sunday’s meeting with Auburn is the 47th all-time in program history with the Tigers leading the all-time series 26-20. AU leads the all-time series in games played in Auburn, 12-7. Kentucky has won three of the last four meetings in Auburn. The Wildcats have won 11 of the last 14 meetings between the two teams. Matthew Mitchell is 10-3 in his career against Auburn with all meetings coming during his UK tenure.

Kentucky and Auburn met twice last season with each team winning on its home court. The Tigers won the first meeting of the season inside Auburn Arena 66-61. AU forced Kentucky into 26 turnovers and scored 25 points off those miscues. Akhator had a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, while Epps scored 20 points.

In the second meeting inside Memorial Coliseum, UK won 54-47. The Wildcats won the battle in the paint, 26-18, and scored 16 points off 21 Auburn turnovers. Akhator had another double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Epps scored 13 points with six points, while Murray had 14 points with six steals.

 

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