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Akhator’s double-double paves the way for UK women in easy 89-57 victory over Ole Miss


Evelyn Akhator scored 28 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as the Kentucky women’s basketball team won its fifth straight game by beating Ole Miss 89-57 on Thursday night at Memorial Coliseum.

“It sure was a great win,” Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell said. “They came out with tremendous enthusiasm and energy on the defensive end, created a lot of turnovers early in the game that led to some fast-break points that got us off to a good start on a night where we were not sure what was going to happen. We were shorthanded. Everybody had to pick up the slack and they did.”

Evelyn Akhator produced a double-double in Kentucky’s win over Ole Miss Thursday night (UK Athletics Photo)

Thursday’s effort was the fifth time in the last six games that Akhator has scored at least 20 points. The 28 points is second only to her 29-point effort against Alabama two weeks ago. Akhator has now eclipsed 20 points on eight occasions in her two-year Kentucky career. The double-double was the 25th of Akhator’s career and the 12th for her this season.

“Evelyn is just playing with great poise and shooting the ball great,” Mitchell said. “She is really aggressive, and you know, teams early on have tried to double-team and sag. These last three teams have sagged  to try and put pressure on you, and so that gives you opportunities to get north and south and she is just making great decisions, rebounding the ball, hustling, and-one plays. Just really giving a great effort.”
 
Kentucky (15-6, 6-2 SEC) posted its second-highest point total of the season. The Wildcats scored 92 points on November 17 in a home win over New Hampshire.
 
Makayla Epps also hit double figures, scoring 20 points, making eight of her 12 shots from the floor, including two-of-three from three-point range. Epps also had six assists and four rebounds.
 
Maci Morris had her second straight strong outing, posting 17 points on six-of-13 shooting, including five-of-nine from three-point range. The five three-point field goals are the most Morris has made in a game this season, and tied her previous career-best.
 
For the game, Kentucky hit 34-of-58 (58.6 percent) of its shots from the floor, while holding Ole Miss to 23-of-61 (37.7 percent) shooting. Kentucky also scored 25 points off of 19 Rebel turnovers.
 
Kentucky jumped on Ole Miss right away, racing to an 8-2 lead early in the first quarter. Akhator and Alyssa Rice each had four points in the run. Ole Miss would cut the lead to 8-5, but the Wildcats closed the first period on a 16-7 run to lead 24-12 after the first quarter. Kentucky hit 11 of its 18 field goals (61.1 percent) in the period while holding Ole Miss to just five of 15 (33.3 percent) shooting.
 
Each team missed its first four shots of the second quarter before Kentucky got on the board with a Morris fast-break layup. But later in the quarter is when the Wildcats would break the game open. Kentucky finished the half on an 18-2 run to take a 46-18 lead into the half. The Wildcats turned up the defense in the quarter, holding Ole Miss to just two-of-11 (18.2 percent) from the floor and forcing the Rebels into seven turnovers.
 
The onslaught continued in the third quarter, as Kentucky opened the frame with a 13-4 run to further put the game out of reach. At the end of the quarter, Kentucky would lead 71-36.
 
In the final period, Kentucky extended the lead to as many as 38 before settling for a 32-point margin of victory.
 
Ole Miss (13-8, 2-6) was led by Madinah Muhammad, who scored 13 points.
 
Kentucky returns to action on Monday when the Wildcats visit Missouri in Columbia, Mo. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. and the game will be shown on the SEC Network.

From UK Athletics


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