LEXINGTON, Ky. – Maci Morris (pictured) scored 31 points and Rhyne Howard added 17 as the 25th-ranked Kentucky women's basketball team beat Morehead State 87-57 on Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 28, at Memorial Coliseum.
Morris, the senior from Bell County High School, hit 12 of her 20 shots from the field, including four of eight from behind the arc, while adding three-of-four from the free throw line. The 31 points are the second-most Morris has ever scored in a UK uniform, trailing only her career-high of 35, which came on February 18, 2018, against South Carolina.
For Howard, it was her eighth straight game in double figures to begin her UK career. The freshman from Cleveland, Tennessee, added 10 rebounds to claim her second consecutive double-double.
Sophomore Jaida Roper had 14 points and four assists, while senior Taylor Murray had 13 points and six assists for the Cats.
Points off turnovers were huge for Kentucky again on Wednesday. The Cats forced 25 MSU turnovers and scored 38 points off those miscues. Morehead State scored just 10 points off 18 UK turnovers.
Kentucky (8-0) got out of the gates quickly, scoring the game's first seven points. Morehead State scored the next five points, but the Cats answered by going on a 11-0 run to lead 18-5 with 4:53 left in the first period. MSU used a 7-2 run to cut the UK lead to 20-12 with 1:31 left in the first period, but the Cats would lead 26-14 after 10 minutes of play. Kentucky hit 10 of its 16 shots (62.5 percent) from the floor in the quarter.
In the second quarter, Morris got hot, helping the Cats increase the lead. In fact, UK went on a 9-2 run in which Morris had all nine points, giving Kentucky a 35-17 lead with 6:40 left in the half. The Cats would stretch the lead to 40-19 on a three-pointer by Murray with 5:05 left in the second quarter.
Kentucky would close the half on a 12-4 run, again fueled by Morris, who scored 10 of UK's 12 points in the stretch. Morris had 19 points in the period, and the Cats would lead 52-23 at the break behind 25 points from the senior sharpshooter.
Early in the third quarter, Kentucky was cold from the field, hitting just two of its first seven shots. However, the Wildcats were able to extend their lead by converting eight-of-eight at the free throw line, including four straight by Roper. UK would got on a 12-3 run to lead 68-33 with 3:34 left in the period. Overall, UK would outscore MSU 22-12 in the period, and the Cats would take a 74-35 lead into the fourth quarter.
Morehead State (6-2) opened the fourth quarter on an 8-2 run, hitting four of its seven shots from the field, while Kentucky missed its first two shots and committed a pair of turnovers. But after a UK timeout, the Wildcats would score six straight to take their largest lead, 82-43, with 5:18 remaining. MSU closed the game with a 14-5 run.
Kentucky returns to action next Thursday, Dec. 6 when the Wildcats host Rhode Island at Memorial Coliseum. Tipoff will be at eight 7 or 9 p.m. ET, and the game can be seen on SEC Network Plus.
Photo by Jamie H. Vaught