Video: No. 14 MSU Women Humbled at Home vs. No. 16 Kentucky
STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI/MSU Athletics) – Mississippi State found the going tough Thursday night during a marquee Southeastern Conference women’s basketball Top 20 matchup with Kentucky.
No. 16 Kentucky shot 44.8 percent from the field and enjoyed a plus-15 rebounding advantage to take an 83-60 win over No. 14 MSU at Humphrey Coliseum.
MSU lost only its second home game of the season, while falling to 21-6 overall and 8-5 in league play. Kentucky improved to 18-6 and 7-6. The Bulldogs remain tied for third place in the conference standings with three league games remaining.
“Kentucky played like they had something to prove,” MSU head coach Vic Schaefer said. “They played with an edge. That is what we are trying to get our kids to do. We were on our heels from the start and never got off them. Kentucky was aggressive and really took it to us in every phase of the game.”
Breanna Richardson led the Bulldogs with 13 points, her best total in an SEC game this season, while Kayla Nevitt also had her best SEC scoring effort with 12 points. Teaira McCowan had nine rebounds. Dominique Dillingham and McCowan each had three blocked shots, while Morgan William had four assists.
Kentucky scored nine straight points to build an early 9-2 lead. A jumper by William had the Bulldogs back within 13-9. A 3-pointer by Kayla Nevitt brought the Bulldogs within 16-14.
Kentucky followed with the final four points of the quarter to build a 20-14 lead after one quarter.
In the second quarter, the Bulldogs got some new faces into action and continued to hang tough. A 3-pointer by Blair Schaefer had the Bulldogs within 24-21 with 6:29 left in the half. A basket by Nevitt brought the Maroon and White within two at 30-28.
Again, Kentucky ended the half strong with a 7-2 run for a 37-30 lead at halftime.
In the third quarter, Kentucky used an 11-0 run midway through the period to build a 54-35 lead with 1:40 left in the quarter.
“We didn’t see this coming,” Richardson said. “We had two great days of practice but didn’t play well. We have to get back to practice to work hard and get better.”
For the contest, MSU hit 23 of 65 shots from the field (35.4 percent), 5 of 17 shots from 3-point range (29.4 percent) and 9 of 16 shots from the foul line (56.3 percent). Kentucky hit 30 of 67 shots from the field (44.8 percent), 4 of 9 shots from 3-point range (44.4 percent) and 19 of 24 shots from the foul line (79.2 percent).
Kentucky held a 49-34 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 10 assists and 11 turnovers, while the Wildcats had 17 assists and nine turnovers.
Kentucky placed four players in double figures. Maci Morris had 17 points, while Makayla Epps added 16 points, Taylor Murray added 13 points and Alexis Jennings added 12 points. Evelyn Akhator had a team high 12 rebounds.
MSU returns to the road for a Sunday matchup at Ole Miss. The Bulldogs and Rebels meet for the first time in the Pavilion with a 4 p.m. start. The contest will be televised nationally on ESPN2.