From UK Athletics
Akhator Scores Career-High 29 in Road Win
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Forward Evelyn Akhator had a career-high 29 points, and added a season-high 15 rebounds, as the Kentucky women’s basketball team beat Alabama 71-54 on Thursday night at Coleman Coliseum in SEC action.
For Akhator, the senior from Lagos, Nigeria, it was her ninth double-double of the season and the 22nd of her two-year career with the Wildcats. She hit 12 of her first 13 field goals, and finished 12-of-14 from the field for the game.
Fellow senior Makayla Epps was the only other Wildcat in double figures, scoring 16 points. Makenzie Cann came off the bench to hit three three-point shots to account for her nine points.
Kentucky (11-6, 2-2 SEC) shot 16-of-25 (64 percent) from the field in the second half, including eight-of-11 (72.7 percent) in the fourth period. The Wildcats also won the rebounding battle in the contest, grabbing 37 compared to just 33 for the Tide. Kentucky held Alabama to just two second-chance points in the game.
Alabama (14-3, 2-2) turned the ball over 18 times, leading to 16 Kentucky points. The Wildcats had 15 turnovers, leading to 14 Alabama points.
Kentucky got off to a quick start, shooting 60 percent (six-of-10) from the floor in the first period. Six different Wildcats scored in the quarter, as Kentucky led 16-9 after the first 10 minutes of action. While Kentucky was shooting well from the floor, Alabama struggled, hitting just three-of-18 (17 percent) from the field. The Tide missed its last nine shots from the floor in the frame.
In the second quarter, Kentucky cooled off considerably, hitting just five-of-21 (23.8 percent) from the floor. Alabama was able to hit six-of-15 (40 percent) from the field in the frame, and the Tide closed the gap, as Kentucky led 27-24 at the halftime break. Akhator led Kentucky with eight points and 10 rebounds in the half.
Kentucky opened the third period by outscoring Alabama 16-9 to build the lead to 43-33. After Alabama was able to cut it back to four at 43-39, the Wildcats outscored the Tide 6-2 over the remaining 3:12 in the period to lead 49-41 at the end of three quarters. Akhator had 13 points in the period to lead the Cats.
In the fourth quarter, Kentucky hit six of its first seven shots to extend the lead to 15 at 63-48. A pair of Maci Morris free throws with 1:45 left gave Kentucky its biggest lead of the game at 17 points, which would also be the final margin of victory.
Highlights from UK Sports Video
KENTUCKY WOMEN’S BASKETBALL POSTGAME NOTES
Kentucky vs. Alabama
Coleman Coliseum – Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Jan. 12, 2017
FINAL SCORE: Kentucky 71, Texas A&M 54
Team Records and Series Notes
– Matthew Mitchell is in his 10th season with Kentucky. Mitchell is 259-124 overall as a head coach and 229-95 during his tenure at Kentucky.
– With today’s victory, Kentucky improves to 27-17 in the overall series record against Alabama.
o Kentucky has won the last three contests between the programs including a 73-48 victory in Lexington last season.
o Alabama has not won against UK since Jan. 23, 2014.
– Kentucky will return to action Sunday, Jan. 15 at 3 p.m. ET, when the Wildcats return home to take on Georgia inside Memorial Coliseum. The game will be broadcast live on SEC Network and on the UK Sports Radio Network in Lexington on 630AM WLAP.
– Kentucky used the starting five of Makayla Epps, Evelyn Akhator, Maci Morris, Alyssa Rice and Taylor Murray.
o UK is 8-4 this season with that starting-five combination.
– With today’s win, UK improves to 11-6 overall this season.
o UK is now 2-2 in Southeastern Conference games.
– This was the Wildcats first win on the road this season.
– Kentucky held Alabama to just 16.7 percent shooting (3-of-18) and just nine points in the first quarter.
o This was the 12th quarter Kentucky has held an opponent to single-digit scoring this season.
– After Kentucky lost for the first time inside Memorial Coliseum this season on Sunday against Texas A&M, the Wildcats were able to do the same to Alabama who lost at home for the first time this season.
– Kentucky had an 11-point lead in the first half, but hit just 1 of its last 10 shots after an Alabama timeout halfway through the second giving UK only a three-point lead at the half (27-24).
– The Wildcats held the Crimson Tide to just 54 total points, a team which was averaging 76.4 points per game.
– Before tonight, Alabama was averaging 54 rebounds per game. Kentucky held them to just 33 and out-rebounded them 37-33.
– Kentucky outscored Alabama 44-30 in the second half.
– Evelyn Akhator scored a career-high 29 points and tied a season-high 15 rebounds for her ninth double-double of the season.
o Akhator’s 22 career double-doubles ties for the fourth most in UK history.
o The senior had 13 points in the third quarter alone, including a 6-0 run after Alabama had pulled within four to get the lead back to 10.
– Makayla Epps added 16 points, three assists, one rebound and one steal.
o With tonight’s performance, the senior climbed into the top 10 scorers in UK history for the first time.
o Her 1,495 career points currently ranks 9th in UK history.
o Before tonight, she ranked 12th on the all-time scorers list.
o Scored in double figures for the 15th time this season and the 76th of her career.
– Makenzie Cann went 3-of-6 from beyond the arc to score nine points.
o Her nine points marked her highest scoring performance since Dec. 21 (vs. Washington State) when she also scored nine.
– Maci Morris had eight points, one assist and one steal.
– Taylor Murray posted four points, four assists, four rebounds and four steals.
– Alyssa Rice scored three points to go along with two assists, one rebound and one steal.
– Jaida Roper added two points, two boards and one assist.