LEXINGTON, Ky. – Maci Morris scored 22 points, but the Kentucky women’s basketball team fell to No. 2 Mississippi State 85-63 on Sunday afternoon at Memorial Coliseum.
It was the sixth straight game in which Morris has scored at least 20 points. The junior from Bell County (Ky.) High School moved into 24th place on UK’s career scoring list with 1,071 points with her effort on Sunday. She needs just 17 points to move into the top 20 on that prestigious list.
Kentucky (14-16, 6-10 SEC) got 13 points from freshman Dorie Harrison and 11 from junior Amanda Paschal. Taylor Murray had six points and seven assists for the Wildcats.
Kentucky got off to a fast start, leading 6-1 and eventually taking an 11-5 lead on a jumper by Murray. But Mississippi State would assemble a 12-2 run to take a 17-13 lead with 3:12 left in the period. Kentucky would get within a point on two occasions, but MSU held a 21-18 lead after the first quarter. Morris had 10 points in the quarter for the Wildcats.
The second quarter did not start nearly as well for UK, as the Bulldogs scored the first nine points of the period to extend their lead to 30-18. Kentucky would cut the lead to nine, 40-31, on back-to-back three-pointers from Morris. But MSU closed the half on a 6-0 run and took a 46-31 advantage into the break.
MSU (30-0, 16-0) would score the first four points of the third quarter to lead 50-31. Kentucky would cut it to 50-35 on baskets by Harrison and Morris. However, MSU would continue to extend its lead, taking a 62-41 advantage with 3:38 left in the period. The Bulldogs would lead 68-49 after three periods.
In the fourth quarter, MSU would lead by as many as 23 points before setting for a 22-point victory.
FINAL SCORE: Kentucky 63, #2 Mississippi State 85
Team Records and Series Notes
– Kentucky moves to 14-16 overall, 6-10 in Southeastern Conference play this season, while Mississippi State finishes the regular season undefeated at 30-0, 16-0 SEC.
– Matthew Mitchell is in his 11th season as head coach at Kentucky. He is the winningest head coach in program history at 255-116.
– The Wildcats still lead the all-time series vs. Mississippi State, 27-19.
o This is the second game this season as UK fell 74-55 in Starkville on Feb. 11. That game broke Kentucky’s 11-game win streak against the Bulldogs.
– Kentucky will be back in action on Thursday, March 1, in the second round of the SEC Tournament in Nashville. The Wildcats will be the No. 9 seed in the tournament and will take on No. 8 seed Alabama at Noon ET on SEC Network.
– Kentucky used the starting combination of senior Alyssa Rice, senior Jess Hardin, junior Taylor Murray, junior Maci Morris and freshman KeKe McKinney.
o UK is 0-1 with that starting-five combination.
o Hardin made her first career start for UK on her Senior Day.
– The Wildcats got after it early leading for 4:45 in the first quarter, but Mississippi State would use a 12-2 run to go ahead and would not relinquish its lead again.
o Kentucky trailed 21-18 at the end of the first quarter.
– MSU carried over an 11-0 run across the first quarter and into the second to stretch its lead.
o Mississippi State led 46-31 at halftime.
– The Bulldogs took their largest lead of the game at 23 points with 7:23 to play.
– The Wildcats’ 63 points were the most Mississippi State has allowed since Jan. 7 (70 by LSU), and their third most allowed in conference play this season.
– UK’s bench outscored MSU’s, 29-19.
– Maci Morris led the Wildcats in scoring with 22 points.
o Recorded her sixth consecutive game with 20+ points.
- She is the only player in the SEC to score 20 or more points in six straight SEC games this season.
o Scored 10 points in the first quarter alone.
o Tied her career highs with three blocks and three steals.
o Has scored in double figures in all but three games this season.
o Just one point shy of moving into No. 25 on UK’s all-time scorers list with 1,169 career points.
– Dorie Harrison matched her second-highest scoring performance with 13 points.
o It was her eighth game in double-digit scoring this season.
o Her two blocks matched her most in conference play this season.
– Amanda Paschal scored 11 points to go with three rebounds and two assists.
o She has scored in double figures five times this season.