Senior Makenzie Cann scored 10 points, but the Kentucky women’s basketball team could not overcome a poor shooting day, as the Wildcats fell to Georgia 56-42 on Sunday at Memorial Coliseum.
Kentucky (8-9, 0-3 SEC) was able to hit just 11 of 54 (20.4 percent) from the field. Georgia also struggled shooting, hitting just 15 of 54 (27.8 percent) of its field goals. The Bulldogs converted 22 of their 26 free throw attempts, while the Wildcats were 17 of 23 from the line.
Junior Maci Morris had nine points in the game, while Jaida Roper had eight points before fouling out of the game.
The Wildcats held an 18-14 advantage in bench points in the game. Kentucky forced Georgia into 18 turnovers and turned those into 12 points.
The game was tight early, with the lead changing hands five times in the first six minutes. Kentucky held a 10-8 lead with 4:01 left in the first quarter, but Georgia scored the final seven points of the period and led 15-10 after the first 10 minutes.
Kentucky started the second quarter with a 7-2 run to tie the game at 17 apiece. From there, the game would be tied four times before the end of the half. With 22 seconds remaining the half, Georgia’s Mackenzie Engram scored on a layup to give the Bulldogs a 26-24 lead, an advantage that Georgia took to the locker room at the half.
In the third quarter, Kentucky grabbed the lead as freshman KeKe McKinney nailed a three-pointer from the top of the key. But the lead lasted only 40 seconds, as Engram hit a three from the corner to give the Bulldogs a 29-27 lead. Both teams struggled from the field, as Georgia made two of its 18 shots in the period, while Kentucky made just one of 11. But the Bulldogs made four of six from the free throw line to take a 35-29 lead at the end of three periods.
Georgia went on a 9-2 run to start the fourth quarter, establishing a 13-point lead in the process. The Bulldogs would lead by as many as 15
Kentucky returns to action on Thursday, as the Wildcats visit Florida. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. ET and the game can be seen on SEC Network+.
KENTUCKY WBB POSTGAME NOTES
Kentucky vs. Georgia
Memorial Coliseum – Lexington, Ky.
Jan. 7, 2018
FINAL SCORE: Kentucky 42, Georgia 56
Team Records and Series Notes
– Kentucky falls to 8-9 overall, including an 0-3 record in Southeastern Conference play this season, while Georgia is 14-2, 2-1 SEC.
– Matthew Mitchell is in his 11th season as head coach at Kentucky. He is the winningest head coach in program history at 249-109.
– Georgia leads the all-time series 37-18, including a 14-10 edge in games played in Lexington.
o The loss snapped a four-game win streak against the Bulldogs.
– Kentucky will continue SEC action Thursday, Jan. 11, traveling to Gainesville, Fla., to take on the Florida Gators. The game will be shown live on SEC Network+ and will be 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, junior Maci Morris and freshman Dorie Harrison.
o UK is 6-2 with that starting-five combination.
– The Wildcats had a 10-8 lead with 4:01 left in the first quarter, but Georgia ended the quarter on a 7-0 run to take a 15-10 lead.
– UK outscored the Bulldogs 14-11 in the second stanza to cut the deficit to two (26-24) heading into halftime.
– The first half alone saw 10 lead changes and seven ties.
– Both teams struggled to find offensive rhythm out of halftime, as UK shot just 1-of-11 (.091) and Georgia shot 2-of18 (.111) in the third quarter.
– The Bulldogs pulled away in the final quarter, outscoring UK 21-13 in the final period.
– UK’s 42 points marked its lowest scoring effort of the season.
– Kentucky shot a season-low 20.4 percent (11-54) from the field.
– The Wildcats bench outscored Georgia’s, 18-14.
– Makenzie Cann scored a team-high 10 points to go with five rebounds in the contest.
o The senior has scored in double digits in back-to-back contests.
o Cann is shooting 6-of-14 (.429) from beyond the arc in the last two games.
– Maci Morris added nine points for the Wildcats, playing limited minutes.
– Dorie Harrison led UK on the boards with nine rebounds.
Kentucky Women’s Basketball Postgame Quotes
Kentucky vs. Georgia
Memorial Coliseum – Lexington, Ky.
Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell
“Well, that was a tough game to watch right there. Neither team could really get the ball in the basket at a very high rate. Georgia made more than we did and won the game. We just had an extremely tough day. I thought in the first half, we gave ourselves a chance to be in positon to win, got in some unnecessary foul trouble and really the second unit battled hard and fought hard and we were in the game there at halftime and just a difficult third quarter. We’ve got to find a way to fix that. We have to regroup and try to march forward. It’s not very good right now. It’s not where any of us expected or wanted to be, but it’s where we are and we’ve got to work hard and persevere and see if we can get things turned around this week and go out and compete hard and see if we can get a victory on Thursday.”
On the failures in third quarters this season…
“I will keep searching and try to figure that out because you’re exactly right. It’s been a very poor quarter. We try and give them really good information and it has not been a good quarter for us. I don’t know what’s happening there, but I’ve got to try and get that fixed. It’s not good.”
On Maci Morris’ injury…
“It was just a contusion. She fell on the floor after a loose ball in practice and was in some discomfort Thursday. Obviously played like a warrior on Thursday, and we thought it was a bone bruise. It was really bothering her today and so we’ve just got to go back and see where she is and check that out. So, I don’t have a good answer for you there.”
On how he keeps the players motivated through the tough times…
“Well, it’s been pretty remarkable how hard they’ve worked and how resilient they’ve been. I thought we had a really good week of practice going into the Texas A&M game, really went down there and fought hard and scored 70 points. We just have to show back up and get going. That’s what I tried to explain to them. I’ll be here on Tuesday coaching them as hard as I can. I just think we really gave into the disappointment and the discouragement today and you just can’t do that in this league. You’ve got to find a way. It’s a great opportunity to strengthen ourselves. It’s not where we want to be. It’s not good. It’s a really hard time we are going through right now, really hard. They are a great group of kids and we just have to keep our focus on what went wrong in the game. What could we have controlled? We didn’t box out the way we wanted to, we didn’t make layups the way we wanted to, we didn’t make open 15-footers. Those things aren’t emotional. Those things you have some control over. We didn’t get lined up, we didn’t execute out of timeouts, we didn’t execute. Those are things as a coach that I have to try and get corrected. I have to be really focused on what’s going on no matter how bad things seem over the totality of difficulty and try to stay focused. It’s real hard right now, but I believe in them and I think they will continue to resilient. They have been to this point. We’ve got to just keep battling. Fight our way through it.”
#32 Jaida Roper, G
On third quarter issues…
“Third quarter we just went in a scoring drought and didn’t knock down shots. We had some great looks, but we didn’t knock them down. The layups we missed, just got to focus in and hit those.”
On what allowed Georgia to pull away towards the end…
“Missing easy layups. Missing simple baskets that we know we can make. So, like I said, we just have to hit those and that’s the game right there. When we hit those baskets, get in the rhythm and stay playing Kentucky basketball, I feel like that’ll end the game for us.”
On what they’re doing to stay motivated…
“It’s easy to stay motivated. We’re in a great position. We play for the University of Kentucky, peoples’ dreams. So, it’s not hard to get motivated. It’s not the end of the world. We just have to re-focus and prepare for the next teams. So, were not really dwelling on the past and dwelling on losses. We just have to get ready for the next team, practice hard.”
Georgia Head Coach Joni Taylor
On the third quarter to get the team through …
“Defense travels every day. There are times that offensively it looks like what it looks like. I mean both teams were missing shots that we don’t normally miss or typically miss. But, defense travels every day. So, until we get things figured out on the offensive end, we’ve got to hold the court defensively. We’ve got to try to force turnovers and grind it out until we can figure it out on the offensive end.”
On being proud of getting through the third quarter to finish with a win …
“Very. I mean you look at, in the past, it just speaks to the maturity of the team. In the past we would have been in our feelings about missing shots. We let offense affect how we played and this year’s team has been able to find a way to not let that take them out of the game. Obviously it comes with experience and we’ve got some players who’ve logged a lot of minutes and played in a lot of crucial situations. So, I think it’s just experience and again, for them to be able to buy in to what we’re asking them to do makes all the difference.”
On what Georgia did defensively against Kentucky …
“I don’t know, I think they missed some shots. I will say we tried to turn them over a little bit. They are a team that takes care of the basketball really well, I think 12 a game and we were able to force 18 turnovers today. And then just, our goal was to try to make them do something that’s uncomfortable. We can’t let Maci get 3s, we can’t let Maci drive us and post us up. And then we knew they were going to try to attack us inside. They’ve been very successful in the past with their inside presence against us, so we knew that they were going to try to get it inside and we were fortunately able today to block a couple shots and rebound the basketball.”
On the team’s 6-0 road record …
“I think it’s a couple things. I think it’s that (defense). I think again it’s the maturity of the team. You’ve got two seniors and a junior that again has played a lot. And, we have some freshmen who have been able to come in and start and play immediately because of where they were when they showed up on campus. When you have more options it helps you out a whole lot. Last year we just were limited number wise and offensively, so you know today you’re able to sub in and keep things going, have fresh legs.”
On the difficulty of getting new players or a new team invested when things aren’t going well …
“Well, I think it’s got to be your message, it’s got to be your driving force and I mean that’s what we did last year and I mean, good Lord, Matthew is an incredible coach. If you look at what he’s doing even this year, you know for him to be able to keep them motivated, they played extremely hard, they execute. Those kids look like they’re on fire to play for him and each other and they play a heck of a schedule. I mean they’re not losing to (bad teams). I think every team they’ve played have been ranked or are receiving votes, so he’s played a heck of a schedule and you look next year, watch out because he’s got some young freshman down there that are going to be really dynamic players.”
#33 Mackenzie Engram, F
On the difficulty of overcoming a bad shooting day…
“Just having to push through and make sure we’re keeping up on the defensive side, which I think we did pretty well and that obviously will carry over and our shots started falling.”
On the frustration associated with missed layups today…
“Yea, it was very frustrating because they were simple layups that a couple of us were missing, but that’s just a challenge for us that we have to start looking at as pushing through that frustration and knowing when our shots aren’t falling, keep doing what we have to do on the defensive end and they’ll eventually fall.”
On whether the team enjoys the road environment…
“I think it’s something that [Coach] Joni has challenged us to do this year – get as many road wins as possible. I know for myself and Haley Clark we’ve never won here, we’ve never beat Kentucky so that was something that we put on our shoulder – a chip on our shoulder. We told the younger girls and that helped us get the win today.”
‑ GO CATS –
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