UK tops Belmont in women’s NCAA opener 73-70

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) – Maci Morris made seven of eight free throws in the final 37 seconds, including two with 3.2 seconds remaining, to help fourth-seeded Kentucky edge No. 13 Belmont 73-70 victory on Friday in a first-round game of the NCAA Tournament.

Wildcats seniors Makayla Epps and Evelyn Akhator did their parts to get Kentucky ahead with 52 combined points that were needed to hold off the determined Bruins. Belmont got within 69-68 on two Sally McCabe free throws with 13 seconds remaining.

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Morris was already clicking at the line by then and sealed the victory with four more in the final seconds for 15 points and an edge that proved critical against Belmont’s last chance to tie.

Darby Maggard was defended well and shot an off-balance 3 that missed as the horn sounded to end Belmont’s school-record 21-game winning streak.

Epps scored 30 with a career-high five 3-pointers while Akhator added 22.

Kentucky will play Ohio State in the second round on Sunday.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Alex Risen joined the ABC 36 News team in October of 2011 as ABC 36’s Weekend Sports Anchor/ Sports Reporter. Alex can also be seen Friday nights co-anchoring the Highschool Highlight Reel. Alex started out in the broadcast business while still in college at the University of Kentucky, heading up the school’s daily student news network as the Sports Director. He made his commercial televsion debut in May of 2011 while at WYMT in Hazard, Kentucky as co-host of a weekly, half-hour high school sports program previewing area schools’ games on Friday nights and as a morning sports anchor. Alex has also spent time as an intern at ESPN in the Statistics and Analysis department, as a production assistant for NBC Sports horse racing and Sunday Night Football productions, and as an intern for WLKY in his hometown of Louisville, KY. Alex graduated from Saint Xavier High School in 2007 and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism and Political Science from the University of Kentucky in 2010 where he graduated magna cum laude from the Honors Program. He’s excited to be covering his passion in his home state and make Central Kentucky his home for years to come. Alex can be reached at ARisen@wtvq.com