By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell said after his team’s 66-56 win at Georgia Thursday night that he knew it would be a “tough game” and thought Georgia played that way.
Still, Kentucky won a key road game after beating the Bulldogs 82-61 in Lexington earlier this season.
“Our toughness really came through. They would not go away and we were just able to come up with some tough plays. I thought [Makayla] Epps’ steal was a big momentum shift. It was teetering back and forth, and I thought that was a big play,” Mitchell said.
“I just thought there was play after play that was really tough in there. Those 14 defensive boards Evelyn [Akhator] got were grown up rebounds. They were coming at them tonight and they were really, really tough in the paint. I thought our team communicated really well down the stretch, had great poise and did a great job.”
Akhator had 17 rebounds along with 11 points for her 13th double-double this season. Epps had 16 points to snap a streak of four straight games with 20 or more points.
Still, MItchell was pleased with his team’s late-game poise more than anything.
“We have all tried to work on it hard. I was the worst one that did not keep their poise at Missouri. There were some tough times tonight, but I thought the players did a great job keeping their poise,” the coach said. “We made some really tough plays. Like I said before the game, I feel like we learned a lot since that night and they have really worked hard a t that, so I am very proud of that.”
So was Epps.
“Coach emphasized that we would see a totally different Georgia team than the team we played in Lexington. In Lexington, we jumped on them early. We are on their home court, and nobody wants to get beat like that on their home court. It was a battle, especially getting a win on the road after coming off of a loss on the road,” Epps said.