UK women rally past Mississippi State 81-74
Kentucky went on a 24-2 run to end the game
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ/UK ATHLETICS) – The Kentucky women’s basketball team got a 24-2 run to end the game, rallying past Mississippi State 81-74 on Tuesday night at Memorial Coliseum.
Trailing 72-57 with 7:10 left in the game, the Cats got hot on offense and clamped down on defense, turning a double-digit deficit into a seven-point victory.
Kentucky (11-11, 4-8 SEC) got 23 points and 10 rebounds from Dre’una Edwards, who also had three blocked shots, three assists and two steals for the Cats.
Freshman Jada Walker added 17 points, five rebounds and two assists for UK, while All-American Rhyne Howard had another double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. She added six assists, two blocks and two steals for the Cats.
Mississippi State (15-9, 6-6) got the scoring started when Jerkaila Jordan made a reverse layup just 12 seconds into the contest. Kentucky would score the next five, on a jumper by Jada Walker and a three by Howard, to lead 5-2. Mississippi State would tie the game on a three by Caterrion Thompson but UK then got a three from Walker and two free throws from Nyah Leveretter to lead 10-5 with 6:47 left in the first quarter.
MSU would use a 5-1 run to cut the UK lead to 11-10 before the Cats responded with a run of their own. UK got a layup from Dre’una Edwards, then five straight points from Howard and a Treasure Hunt layup to go up 20-10 with 2:34 left in the first.
The Bulldogs would respond by scoring the next nine points, cutting the UK to one, 20-19. After a Jazmine Massengill basket, the Bulldogs tied it, 22-22, on a basket and free throw from Anastasia Hayes with 24 seconds left. But UK took the lead back when Hunt banked in a three just before the buzzer, giving the Cats a 25-22 advantage after one period.
In the second period, Hayes got the Bulldogs within one, 25-24, before the Cats got six in a row, all from Walker, to grab a 31-24 lead with 7:56 left in the half.
However, it was then that Mississippi State put together a huge run to take the lead. The run was 18-2, including 16 in a row, that gave MSU a 42-33 lead with 3:12 to play in the half. Kentucky snapped the run on a Massengill basket with 2:49 to play in the first half and would cut the deficit to five, 42-37. The Cats would trail 47-41 at the break.
The third quarter started with a 7-2 run by the Bulldogs, which extended the lead to 54-43. UK would get a three from Walker, but MSU answered with a three from Jordan, making it 57-46 MSU with 5:14 left in the third period.
Kentucky would answer with an 8-3 run to get within six, 60-54, with 1:26 to play in the quarter. But MSU would lead 64-57 with 10 minutes left in the game.
MSU scored the first eight points of the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 72-57 with 7:10 to play. Kentucky went more than three minutes into the final stanza before Edwards got a basket and free throw to cut the deficit to 72-60 with 6:58 remaining.
That play sparked the Cats, who got a basket from Howard, another from Walker and two from Massengill to cut it to 72-68 with 2:59 to play.
But that wasn’t the end of the UK run. The Cats would get three straight free throws, two from Edwards and one from Massengill, to get within one, 72-71. And the Cats would grab the lead for the first time since the first quarter when Edwards hit a corner jumper with 2:06 to play, making it 73-72 Cats.
The lead lasted just 11 seconds, as MSU’s Anastasia Hayes hit a jumper in the lane with 1:55 to play, giving MSU a 74-73 lead.
UK took the lead back on the next possession when Edwards converted again, this time with 1:17 left, giving the Cats a 75-74 advantage. And on the next UK possession, Howard hit a corner jumper to extend the lead to 77-74 with just 48 seconds remaining.
The Bulldogs would miss a chance to tie the game on their next possession and Howard was fouled. She would convert both free throws to give the Cats a 79-74 advantage with just 23.9 seconds to play. MSU would get no closer.
To view the box score, click here.
Kentucky gets back to action on Thursday, hosting Vanderbilt at Memorial Coliseum. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. ET and the game can be seen on SEC Network Plus.