Playing without leading scorer Maci Morris, the Kentucky women’s basketball team came up short on Monday night, falling at Vanderbilt 70-55 at Memorial Gymnasium.
Junior Taylor Murray led the Wildcats with a season-high 23 points and a career-high seven steals. Freshman KeKe McKinney had nine points and six rebounds for Kentucky.
Kentucky (9-10, 1-4 SEC) was able to create 19 Vanderbilt turnovers, including 16 steals in the game. The Wildcats converted those miscues into 15 points on the offensive end. Kentucky also had an advantage in offensive rebounds, 13-12, and the Wildcats outscored the Commodores 15-9 in second chance points.
Both teams struggled offensively in the first quarter. In fact, neither team scored until Vandy’s Rachel Bell connected on a jumper with 4:46 left in the period to give the Commodores a 2-0 lead. Vandy would hold the lead until the final minute of the period, when Murray scored six points in 33 seconds to give the Cats a 10-7 advantage after one quarter.
Vanderbilt started the second period on a 15-0 run to turn a three-point deficit into a 22-10 lead. The Commodores would extend the lead to 29-15 before Kentucky scored the final five points of the first half, cutting the halftime deficit to 29-20. Murray had 12 of Kentucky’s 20 points in the half.
In the third period, Kentucky cut the lead to seven, but Vandy closed the period on a 20-10 run to lead 55-38 after three quarters.
Vanderbilt held a double-digit lead through the entire fourth quarter.
Kentucky returns to action on Sunday, as the Wildcats host South Carolina at Rupp Arena. Tipoff is set for noon p.m. ET and the game can be seen on ESPNU.
Team Records and Series Notes
– Kentucky falls to 9-10 overall, 1-4 in Southeastern Conference play this season, while Vanderbilt advances to 5-14, 1-4 SEC.
– Matthew Mitchell is in his 11th season as head coach at Kentucky. He is the winningest head coach in program history at 250-110.
– Kentucky trails the all-time series vs. Vanderbilt, 28-24.
– The Wildcats will have a six-day break, returning to action on Sunday, Jan. 21, taking on South Carolina inside Rupp Arena at noon ET. The game can be seen live on ESPNU and broadcast on the UK Sports Radio Network with Darren Headrick calling the action.
– Kentucky used the starting combination of senior Alyssa Rice, senior Makenzie Cann, junior Taylor Murray, sophomore Jaida Roper and freshman Tatyana Wyatt.
o UK is 0-1 with that starting-five combination.
o Kentucky was without junior guard Maci Morris, who is still recovering from a knee bone bruise. This was the first game of her career which she has not started.
– Both teams struggled to get offense going as each went scoreless for the first 5:14 of the first quarter.
– Kentucky ended the first quarter on a 6-0 run, but the Commodores answered by opening the second period on a 15-0 run.
– UK ended the second quarter on a 5-0 run, but trailed 29-20 at the half.
– The Wildcats were able to get some offense going in the second half, but the Commodores outscored UK 26-18 in the third quarter to stretch their lead.
– Kentucky outscored Vandy in second-chance points, 15-9, and fast break points, 8-2.
– Taylor Murray scored a season-high 23 points to lead all scorers in the game.
o Murray recorded a career-high seven steals in the game.
o It was her second 20+ point performance of the season.
– KeKe McKinney added nine points and six rebounds for the Wildcats.
o Her nine points matched a career high for the freshman.
‑ GO CATS –
For more information contact: