It’s not quite panic time for head coach Matthew Mitchell and the University of Kentucky women’s basketball team, but it’s getting close. The Wildcats lost to the visiting Texas A&M Aggies 77-68 on Sunday afternoon at Memorial Coliseum. The loss drops Kentucky 1-2 in the SEC and 10-6 overall. In what has become a pattern for the Cats, the game was tight until the opponent made a run during the fourth quarter that the Wildcats couldn’t match.
The Aggies and the Cats both shot 26-59 (44.1%) from the field overall, with UK only hitting 3-13 (23.1%) from three point range and TAMU hitting 7-15 (46.7%). Despite the redhot shooting for the Aggies, the biggest issue for Mitchell and company was the fact that Kentucky gave up 15 offensive rebounds which lead to 22 second chance points. Overall, Texas A&M outrebounded UK 38-26 despite the Cats leading that stat 10-7 in the first quarter.
Makayla Epps and Evelyn Akhator both put up 20 points and 4 rebounds for the Cats and Taylor Murray had 11 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists. The Aggies were paced by Curtyce Knox’s 26 points and Danni Williams’ 19. Khaalia Hillsman lead all players with 12 rebounds (and 16 points) and Anriel Howard had 11 boards.
Kentucky was down 1 point at the half, 34-33, and after both teams scored 16 points in the third quarter went into the fourth down the same margin. Things were still even until about 6 minutes left in the game. And then the wheels fell off for the Cats. The Aggies exploded for 27 points in the final frame and put the game out of reach with little more than a minute left. Kentucky couldn’t score, despite great looks at the rim. Texas A&M took advantage hitting 7-12 shots in the fourth, including 3-3 from three.
Post game, Coach Mitchell stressed that the Cats would get back to practice on Tuesday and see if they can right the ship. He downplayed fatigue being an issue for his team even though he’s down to 7 scholarship players, but it’s hard to not see the team’s fourth quarter struggles and wonder if tired legs is an issue. Matthew Mitchell has had a lot of success with his program and the Big Blue Nation knew that this season would be tough on the team. It’s time to dig deep and, as senior Makayla Epps stated, focus on their composure and finish tough games.