No. 19 Kentucky let a big lead slip, but it still got its second Southeastern Conference win 72-60 over Mississippi State on Sunday at Memorial Coliseum.
Four Cats finished in double figures behind Victoria Dunlap’s game-best 22 points and 10 rebounds. A’dia Mathies added 16 points, five boards and a career-high tying seven assists. Bernisha Pinkett scored 13 points and Jennifer O’Neill scored a career-high 11 points, all in the first half.
Despite a slow shooting start, UK led by as many as 22 points in the first half. The Cats missed their first nine shots and still had a 7-0 lead thanks for made free throws.
State responded by scoring eight straight, which woke up the Cats’ shooters, which scored 22 unanswered points. The defense and offense fed off one another and State was held without a point for just shy of nine minutes while they made that run.
Diamber Johnson, State’s leading scorer, was questionable for the game after suffering a concussion in the Bulldogs’ last outing. But she was big for Mississippi State, scoring 20 points, including 17 in the second half when the team tried to get back in it.
The Bulldogs used a 15-3 run midway through the second half that got them back in it. They cut it to as close as 11 points with three minutes to play, but UK was able to stay ahead. Mary Kathryn Govero added 16 points. Catina Bett, a former Kentucky player who was dismissed from the team two seasons ago, had 12 points and four rebounds for the Bulldogs, who slipped to 8-8 overall and 0-4 in the SEC.
- It’s still a 12-point game with 4:16 remaining. Dunlap has 18 points and eight rebounds.
- State hanging around, using a 15-3 run to get within 12 points with 7:18 to play.
- Cats up 56-35 with 11:36 to go. Four UK players are in double digits led by Dunlap’s 14 points and eight rebounds.
- Sarah Beth Barnette just hit a three-pointer on her birthday and gives UK a 49-28 lead over State with 16 minutes left in the game.
- HALFTIME: KENTUCKY 42, MISS. STATE 21: The Bulldogs have turned it over 16 times and trail at the break. Dunlap leads UK with 12 points and seven rebounds.
- O’Neill has 11 points in the first half for a new career high. Her previous high was eight points.
- The run expanded to 22-0 and State went 8:45 without a point. UK has a 29-10 lead with five minutes to go in half.
- The run has extended to 16-0 and UK is up 23-8 with 7:50 to play. State hasn’t scored in nearly six minutes.
- Kentucky has scored 11 straight and has an 18-8 lead. The only returning starter for Mississippi State (Govero) just picked up her third foul with 11:37 to go in the first half.
- UK hits three straight three-pointers to grab a 16-8 lead with 12:20 to play. O’Neill has come off the bench to hit two of them.
- Cats have missed nine shots and Govero has hit back-to-back three-pointers to give State an 8-7 advantage with 14:32.
- Kentucky leads 7-2 despite being 0-for-7 from the field with 15:34 to play in the first half.
- UK starters: Last game’s starters return … Mathies, Morrow, Evans, Dunlap and Henderson