The Ags arrived in Lexington at 1-1 in SEC play, having fallen behind by double digits in the first half of both games. Against an experienced if thin Kentucky team, they couldn’t afford that kind of start. I missed the first couple of possessions as the Vandy-Georgia game went past our designated start time (and the end of that game was dramatics with the Dawgs hitting the winner with 0.3 seconds left). When the SEC Network switched over, UK was up 4-0 after only a minute and a half had gone by. When the first play I saw was an offensive foul on Danni Williams in the lane, I was worried about a repeat performance. The Ags only had 4 points with 3:22 left in the first quarter, but fortunately the D had held the Cats to just 9. Khaalia Hillsman put back a pair of missed shots by Danni to cut the lead to 1, but then Maci Morris got hot and hit a ridiculously long 3. Curtyce answered with a 3 for the Ags, but another Morris 3 and a coast to coast drive by Taylor Murray gave Kentucky a 6 point lead to end the first quarter.
Cats 17 Ags 11 after the first.
Kentucky would stretch the lead to 9 in the second quarter, but this time the Ags didn’t let it get to double digits or wait until halftime to mount the comeback. A 6-0 run by Danni cut it to 3. After Akhator made it 28-23, Khaalia and Curtyce cut the lead to 1 with just 1:28 left in the half. Curtyce drawing a charge on Akhator and then hit Khaalia on a deep lob for a layup. After Morris missed a 3 pointer, Curtyce got a friendly bounce on a 3 pointer from the right side to give the Ags the lead for the first time. Makayla Epps answered with a strong drive on Lumpkin. The “and one” made it 33-32 with 34 seconds left. The Ags worked the clock. Curtyce drove into the lane from the right side and dropped the ball off to Anriel, who hit a short J from middle of the lane for her only bucket of the half.
Ags 34 Cats 33 at halftime
The Ags lead came from a 19-14 rebounding advantage that gave A&M 8 more FG attempts than Kentucky. Hillsman and Knox each had 12 points at halftime. The Ags limited Epps to 5 in the first half.
The Ags started the second half with Taylor Cooper in the lineup in place of Jasmine Lumpkin because Jaz had 3 first half fouls. The two teams came out pretty aggressive, with Anriel crashing the glass for the Ags to force two UK fouls before either team scored. Epps and Murray pushed transition for the Cats. Kentucky went on a run in the middle of the quarter to go up by 6. The Ags fought back at the end of the quarter to regain the lead. By the end of the period, the two teams had played dead even.
Ags 50 Cats 49
Kentucky scored the first two baskets of the final quarter, but the lead went back and forth through the first part of the final period. Blair gave Khaalia a short rest in the middle of the quarter. The Ags got some more rest while the officials reviewed whether or not a 3 pointer by Curtyce was behind the arc (it was). After the timeout Walnatia Wright fouled Akhator. Two FTs tied the score at 62. From there the Ags went on the run that won the game. First, a miss was knocked out of bounds by Kentucky allowing the Ags to run a baseline inbounds play for Lumpkin, who hit from the left baseline right before a media timeout. Coming out of the break, Curtyce deflected a pass from Epps to Cann and Anriel came up with the ball. Lumpkin posted up Morris on the left block and got fouled after Curtyce got a lob entry in to her. Jaz hit both FTs to put the Ags up 4. Morris missed a drive, but Kentucky got possession on a held ball. But Akhator couldnt convert. The Ags got the ball in to Khaalia who found Danni at the top of the arc as the D collapsed. Danni hit the trey. Up 7 with 3:45 left.
Kentucky fought back to within 3 off a couple of turnovers and a stop. Blair called a timeout and Curtyce went right back to Khaalia for a lob and a layup. A pair of FTs from Akhator made it 71-68 with 1:13 left. The Ags worked the clock. Knox held the ball to 10 seconds on the shot clock. She dribbled down the left side of the lane, circled back to the right, almost lost the ball, and then threw in the dagger with 47 seconds left. On replay it might have been a 3 pointer. But after the game, Knox and Blair admitted that she was just trying to hit the rim to avoid a shot clock violation.
After Morris missed a 3 point attempt, Kentucky had to foul. Knox missed the second, but Anriel got the rebound and was fouled. When Anriel was fouled again with 14.6 left, she could have gotten another double double by hitting both, but she missed the first to finish with 9 points.
Final score 77-68 Ags.
- The Ags ended up outrebounding the Cats 38-26
“Well last year they killed us on the boards and that was a very strong point of emphasis for this game. We weren’t quite over the Georgia loss, and I felt like we took our anger out on them.
- Both teams shot 26-59 from the field (44.1%). A&M made more 3s (7/15 vs 3/13) and outscored UK from the FT line (18/21 vs 13/14); both teams shot FTs very well and some of the difference in attempts was due to the end of the game intentional fouls.
- 26 points was a career high for Curtyce, and she had another game with 9 assists. Khaalia had another double double with 16 points and 12 boards. Danni had 19 points. UK was led by Epps and Akhator, who each had 20 points.
- Arkansas Razorbacks
- 7PM Thursday Jan 12, 2017
- Reed Arena
- Streaming: SECN+ Radio 1150 AM/102.7 FM
Coach Jimmy Dykes is in only his third year with the Lady Hawgs and the Fire Jimmy Dykes threads are up on Arkansas forums, based on going 18-14(6-10 SEC) and 12-18 (7-9) in his first two seasons after Tom Collen was fired for going 19-11 (6-10). The Arkansas fans, some of whom still long for a return of Gary Blair, weren’t placated much by the Razorbacks 11-2 nonconference start against . The team has lost a bunch of players to transfers and several players decision to kneel during the National Anthem in November alienated some fans.
Arkansas lost their SEC opener vs Ole Miss with G Malica Monk (no relation to UK men’s star Malik Monk, even though both are from Arkansas) out on concussion protocol. The kept it reasonably close vs Mississippi State. But the critics are not going to be happy with what happened on Sunday. I watched the end of this on SECN+. At home vs LSU, Arkansas held the Swamp Kittens to 28.8% shooting, turned them over 16 times, outrebounded them 39-34... and lost 53-52. Arkansas was up 9 with 4:20 remaining. Coming out of a TV timeout, they then went 2 turnovers, shot blocked, 5 turnovers. After that last one, a Chloe Jackson layup gave LSU the lead with 8 seconds left. Arkansas would tie it up, but that was their last score and LSU would win by making 1 of 2 FTs with under 3 seconds remaining.
A loss like that could make Arkansas more dangerous for the Ags. Probable starters for Arky:
- #00 6-3 Sr F Jessica Jackson leads the team in scoring (17.2) rebounding (6.7) and minutes (29.8). She’s their star and has started every game.
- #03 5-5 So G Malica Monk (10.8 ppg) starts when she’s healthy. As noted above, she was out for a few games with a concussion earlier.
- #14 5-9 Fr PG Jailyn Mason (7.9 ppg) leads the team in assists. She’s started every game.
- #35 6-3 Sr C Alecia Cooley (7.9 ppg) is second in rebounding (5.5).
- #22 5-10 Jr G Devin Cosper (6.4 ppg) was coming off the bench but started vs LSU
With an 0-3 start to SEC play, Dykes could change the lineup by Thursday. But only 9 players overall show up in the Arkansas team stats.