Taylor Murray scored 20 points and Maci Morris added 16 as the Kentucky women’s basketball team beat Alabama 79-54 on Thursday night at Memorial Coliseum.
Murray added a season-high 10 assists, one off of her career-best, as Kentucky beat Alabama for the fifth straight time and the seventh time in the last eight meetings.
Kentucky (10-11, 2-5 SEC) got a career-high 15 points from freshman Dorie Harrison and a career-high-tying 12 points from fellow freshman KeKe McKinney.
The Wildcats hit 33 of their 52 field goal attempts, for a sizzling 63.5 percent, the highest percentage Kentucky has shot from the field this season. Meanwhile, Kentucky held Alabama to 39.2 percent shooting while forcing 16 Tide turnovers. Kentucky was able to convert those miscues into 28 points.
The Cats also controlled the inside game, outscoring Alabama 36-20 on points in the paint. Kentucky also got big contributions from their bench, outscoring Alabama 19-14 in bench points.
The first quarter was a back-and-forth affair, with a tie and three lead changes, before Alabama took a 9-6 lead on a jumper by Ashley Williams with 5:09 left in the period. From there, the Tide would lead by as many as five, but Kentucky ended the quarter on a 6-2 run, and the Wildcats trailed 17-16 at the end of one period.
In the second quarter, Alabama extended its lead to six, 24-18, with 6:02 remaining in the half. But, as they did in the first period, Kentucky answered, this time with nine straight points to take a 27-24 lead. The game would be tied at 27 and 29 before Kentucky scored the last five points of the half to take a 34-29 lead into the break. Murray had 12 points in the first half for the Cats, while McKinney added eight. Kentucky hit 15 of its 26 shots (57.7 percent) in the half, while scoring 13 points off of Alabama’s 10 turnovers.
Kentucky maintained the lead early in the third quarter, extending the advantage to six on two occasions. Alabama got within two, 40-38, but senior Makenzie Cann drained a three-pointer from the left side to boost the UK advantage back to five, 43-38. Alabama again cut the lead to two before Kentucky went on an 11-3 run to lead 54-44. However, Alabama scored the final five points of the period, cutting UK’s lead to 54-49 after three quarters.
The Cats started the fourth quarter with a 7-0 run to take their biggest lead of the game, 61-49, with 7:52 left in the game. But Kentucky was not done. After the Tide scored a basket to make it 61-51, the Wildcats ran off nine straight points, including three-pointers from Morris and Cann, to build the lead to 19 points, 70-51, with 4:40 remaining. Kentucky would lead by as many as 26 before settling for a 25-point win, UK’s largest margin of victory since beating Evansville 100-62 on December 5.
Kentucky returns to action on Monday, as the Wildcats visit Arkansas. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. ET and the game can be seen on the SEC Network.
FINAL SCORE: Kentucky 79, Alabama 54
Team Records and Series Notes
– Kentucky rises to 10-11 overall, 2-5 in Southeastern Conference play this season with the win, while Alabama falls to 14-7, 4-4 SEC.
– Matthew Mitchell is in his 11th season as head coach at Kentucky. He is the winningest head coach in program history at 251-111.
– The Wildcats still lead the all-time series between the two programs, 29-17.
o Kentucky has now won the last five games in the series.
– Kentucky will be back in action Monday, Jan. 29, traveling to Fayetteville, Ark., to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks at 7 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast live on SEC Network and 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, junior Maci Morris and freshman KeKe McKinney.
o UK is 3-5 with that starting-five combination.
– Alabama started the second quarter on a 7-2 run to take its biggest lead of the game at the time of six points at 24-18.
– UK followed the Crimson Tide’s 7-2 run with a 9-0 run of its own.
o That 9-0 run was the beginning of Kentucky’s 16-5 run to end the first half.
– Taylor Murray hit a huge 3-pointer just before the buzzer to give Kentucky its five-point lead at halftime (34-29).
o That lead was UK’s largest of the game at the time.
o It was just the second time Kentucky has led at halftime in SEC play this season.
o UK is 9-2 when leading at halftime this season, including 2-0 in SEC games.
– The Wildcats stretched their lead to as many as 10 in the third quarter, but the Crimson Tide ended the third quarter on a 5-0 run to cut it back to five (54-49).
– UK blew its lead wide open using a huge fourth quarter, outscoring Alabama 25-5 in the final quarter.
o Kentucky led by as many as 26 points in the final stanza.
– The 25-point victory marked UK’s largest since Kentucky defeated Evansville by 38 (100-62) on Dec. 5.
o It was the first time UK has won an SEC game by 20 or more since beating Ole Miss 89-57 on Jan. 26, 2017.
– Kentucky shot 64.7 percent from the floor in the game, which was its first game shooting 60.0 percent or better since Feb. 18, 2007 vs. Arkansas.
o The shooting performance was UK’s second-best in school history behind a 74.1 percent game vs. Alabama in 1987.
– UK outscored the Tide in the paint, 36-20, and off turnovers, 28-10.
– Four Kentucky players scored in double figures for the second consecutive game.
– Taylor Murray recorded her fourth career double-double with 20 points and a season-high 10 assists.
o Murray became the first player in program history to have at least 20 points and 10 assists in an SEC game.
o The performance marked the fourth 20-point, 10-assist performance in UK women’s basketball history, and the first since Makayla Epps vs. Morehead State on Nov. 18, 2015.
o Over the past four games, Murray is averaging 19.8 points per game.
o Her 10 assists marked the first double-digit assist performance from a UK player since she had 11 vs. Florida on Feb. 19, 2017.
o It was the sixth time she’s led UK in scoring this season.
– Maci Morris added 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting in the win.
o Fourteen of her 16 points were scored in the second half.
o She now needs just 15 points to join Kentucky’s 1,000 point club.
o Morris has scored in double digits in 17 of 20 games played this season.
– Dorie Harrison scored a career-high 15 points and grabbed five boards for UK.
o Going 5-of-9 from the floor, her five made field goals were also a career high.
o The freshman made a career-high five free throws on six attempts.
– KeKe McKinney matched her career-high with 12 points to go with five rebounds in the victory.
o It was her second consecutive game scoring 12 points.
o She’s averaging 11.0 points per game in the past three contests.
Associate Media Relations Director (WBB, FB)
University of Kentucky Athletics