LEXINGTON, Ky. – Behind its most Southeastern Conference wins since 2012-13, the No. 22 University of Kentucky women basketball team has earned the No. 4 seed and a double-bye in the 2016-17 Southeastern Conference Tournament, it was decided Sunday evening.
Kentucky (20-9, 11-5 SEC) will begin the event Friday at approx. 2 p.m. ET in the quarterfinals. UK will play the winner of fifth-seeded Tennessee vs. 12th-seeded Alabama or 13th-seeded Vanderbilt. UK lost its lone matchup vs. Tennessee this season 72-65 in Knoxville, while it defeated Alabama 71-54 in Tuscaloosa and Vanderbilt 71-63 in Lexington.
If UK wins, they will advance to the semifinals at 5 p.m. ET on Saturday before the championship game Sunday at 3 p.m. ET. Complete covers of UK’s run in the tournament will be online at UKathletics.com.
The tournament, which begins Wednesday, March 1, will be played at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, S.C. Two first-round games will be played Wednesday, followed by four second-round games Thursday, four quarterfinal games Friday, two semifinal games Saturday and the championship game Sunday.
Every game of the tournament will be televised nationally with the first three rounds on SEC Network, while the semifinals will be on ESPNU and the championship on ESPN. For more information on the event, including ticket information, visit SECsports.com.
Kentucky’s top-four finish in the SEC marks the seventh time in Matthew Mitchell’s tenure that the Wildcats have finished top four in the league. UK ended the SEC slate with an 11-5 record, marking its most wins in the league since going 13-3 in 2012-13. UK has now won 10 or more league games eight straight seasons. The Wildcats have only won 11 or more games in the league five times with all of those occurring during Mitchell’s tenure.
South Carolina beats UK
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Taylor Murray scored a career-high 29 points, but No. 22 Kentucky fell at seventh-ranked South Carolina 95-87 on Sunday at Colonial Life Arena in the regular season finale for both teams.
Kentucky (20-9, 11-5 SEC) had five players in double figures in the game. In addition to Murray, Makenzie Cann had 15 points, Evelyn Akhator and Maci Morris each had 14, and Makayla Epps added 10.
South Carolina (24-4, 14-2) shot a sizzling 61.8 percent from the floor in the game, while Kentucky hit 44.8 percent of its shots. Kentucky stayed in the game by hitting nine three-point shots, including three by Cann and two apiece by Epps, Morris and Murray.
Despite a huge size advantage inside, South Carolina only had two more rebounds than Kentucky (31-29). Kentucky had 11 offensive rebounds, which led to 10 second-chance points, compared to just eight second-chance points for the Gamecocks. The Wildcats used their speed to outscore South Carolina 17-2 on fast break points.