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Murray’s 11 Assists Help Kentucky Top Florida, 67-48

Taylor Murray (Vicky Graff Photo)

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Senior Evelyn Akhator scored 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds as the Kentucky women’s basketball team beat Florida 67-48 on Sunday afternoon at Memorial Coliseum.

Sophomore Maci Morris had 15 points, scoring in double figures for the seventh time in the last eight games. Senior Makayla Epps was the third Wildcat in double figures, scoring 14 points.

Sophomore guard Taylor Murray scored just four points, but dished out a career-high 11 assists for Kentucky.

Kentucky (19-8, 10-4 SEC) forced Florida into 23 turnovers, which the Wildcats were able to turn into 24 points. Meanwhile, Kentucky turned the ball over 15 times, but Florida was only able to get 10 points off of the Wildcats’ miscues.

Kentucky won the rebounding battle 30-28, and the Wildcats took advantage of their opportunities on the offensive glass. Kentucky had 13 offensive rebounds and the Wildcats were able to get 25 second-chance points, compared to just five second-chance points for Florida.

Jessica Hardin, who had missed the previous 12 games with a concussion, returned to the lineup for Kentucky on Sunday. Hardin took advantage of the opportunity, hitting a three-pointer on her only field goal attempt of the game.

The Wildcats led 20-12 after one quarter, as Morris and Akhator each posted six points during the game’s first 10 minutes. Kentucky hit 50 percent (9-for-18) from the floor in the quarter and forced five Florida turnovers, which led to seven Wildcat points. Kentucky also had eight second-chance points in the period, compared to just two for Florida.

Early in the second quarter, Kentucky extended its lead to 10 at 24-14 on a Taylor Murray layup. But Florida answered with seven straight points to cut the UK lead to 24-21 with 5:49 left in the half. After Kentucky scored five straight points to lead 29-21, Florida finished the half on a 6-2 run, to make the score 31-27 at the break. Akhator had 10 points and four rebounds in the half for the Wildcats.

Florida (13-14, 4-10) scored first in the third quarter, cutting the Kentucky lead to 31-29. But the Wildcats responded with eight straight points to increase their advantage to 10 at 39-29. After Florida cut the lead to 39-33, Kentucky outscored the Gators 11-4 to close the period with a 50-37 lead. Epps had six points in the quarter and Morris added five.

In the fourth quarter, Kentucky pulled away from Florida, leading by as many as 22 before settling for a 19-point win.

Delicia Washington led Florida with 14 points.

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