FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Kentucky women’s basketball team had four players in double figures as the Wildcats won their fifth SEC road game of the season by beating Arkansas 69-62 on Thursday night at Bud Walton Arena.
Sophomore point guard Taylor Murray had 16 points, eight rebounds and five assists for Kentucky, while senior guard Makayla Epps added 14 points and four assists.
Senior forward Evelyn Akhator recorded her 14th double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds. It was Akhator’s 27th career double-double, more than all former UK players except the legendary Valerie Still.
Kentucky (18-8, 9-4 SEC) also got 13 points from sophomore Maci Morris, who has now scored in double figures in six of Kentucky’s last seven games.
Arkansas actually hit a higher percentage from the field (45.0-40.4), but Kentucky took advantage of a number of key areas to win the game. The Wildcats hit 15-of-19 (78.9 percent) of their free throws, while Arkansas attempted just four free throws, and made just one.
Kentucky also forced Arkansas into 18 turnovers, and the Wildcats turned those miscues into 21 points. The turnovers also allowed Kentucky to outscore Arkansas 15-0 on fast break points. The Wildcats turned the ball over 12 times, surrendering 14 points to the Razorbacks.
Each team started slowly, with Kentucky hitting just one of its first five shots, and Arkansas making just one of its first 10. The Wildcats built an early 8-2 lead, with Morris hitting a pair of shots from behind the arc. Arkansas climbed back and got within one on two occasions, including at the end of the period when Kentucky led 17-16. The Wildcats hit five three-pointers and a layup to account for the 17 points.
The second quarter started in much the same fashion, with Kentucky making just one of its first seven shots, while Arkansas converted just one of its first five. However, Kentucky was able to convert five-of-five free throws to extend its lead to 24-18. In fact, Kentucky went on a 12-4 run to lead 29-20 after a Makenzie Cann three-pointer with 4:04 left in the half. From there, neither team would score again until Epps converted a layup with 38 seconds left to provide the halftime margin, 31-20.
Kentucky forced 10 Arkansas turnovers in the first 20 minutes, leading to 13 Wildcats’ points. Arkansas forced just four Kentucky turnovers, and got no turnovers off of those miscues.
The Wildcats built the lead to 13 at 35-22 early in the third quarter before Arkansas clawed back with a 17-5 run to cut Kentucky’s lead to one, 40-39. But the Wildcats answered, closing the period on an 8-2 run, giving Kentucky a 48-41 lead after three periods. Arkansas, which had shot just 29 percent from the field in the first half, shot 64.3 percent in the third quarter, but still trailed by seven.
Early in the fourth quarter, Kentucky extended the lead to 11 (55-44) before Arkansas scored nine straight points to cut the lead to two at 55-53. But the Wildcats maintained their composure, and soon went on a 9-0 run that essentially put the game out of reach.
Arkansas (13-13, 2-11) was led by Jessica Jackson, who led all scorers with 24 points.
Kentucky returns to action on Sunday when the Wildcats host Florida at Memorial Coliseum. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. ET and the game can be seen on the SEC Network.