LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Morehead State Women's Basketball team won the rebounding battle and saw three players crack double-figures in scoring before suffering a 79-54 setback against No. 13 Kentucky on Thursday evening at Memorial Coliseum.
"I expected there to be some jitters for us coming out between the crowd, the atmosphere, and playing in a venue like this," said MSU head coach Greg Todd. "Credit to Kentucky for how well they came out pressuring the ball and forcing us into turnovers. That pressure began to get to us in the second quarter and we weren't able to overcome how well they shot the ball."
The sixth-year head coach saw his pre-game expectations brought to life as the Wildcats turned the Eagles over three times and jumped out to a 10-2 advantage in the opening 4:13.
While Morehead State managed an answer that cut the deficit to four late in the quarter, the nationally-ranked host used a quick 10-0 run from the 3:48-1:56 mark to extend its lead to double digits.
The Eagles did manage to outscore the Wildcats 11-8 in the fourth quarter.
"I was pleased with how we competed," said Todd. "I didn't think we played as well as we could have defensively tonight but overall the competitiveness we showed down the stretch and throughout most of the game was a positive."
Part of that competitiveness showed in the final statistics as Morehead State outrebounded Kentucky 43-37.
"I thought we did a good job in the paint tonight," added Todd. "It's certainly never easy to outrebound an SEC (Southeastern Conference) opponent but we also managed to score 26 points in the paint which is a credit to us continuing to attack all evening."
The Eagles finished the contest shooting a 34% clip from the floor (16-for-47) while the Wildcats hit on 39.7% (29-for-73) of their shot in the game. Kentucky managed to knock down 11-of-32 shots from three-point range while locking down MSU to a 3-of-14 clip.
Kentucky's hot shooting was powered by sophomore Rhyne Howard's 24 points on 9-of-20 shooting. Howard, who was the 2019 NCAA Freshman of the Year, hit five triples as well.
In the scoring column for Morehead State, junior guard Jazzmyn Elston and freshman guard Tomiyah Alford led the way with 11 points each while freshman guard Ariel Kirkwood achieved double figures with 10 points.
Kirkwood's scoring effort gives her three-straight games with at least 10 points while Alford has now done so in back-to-back contests.
On the glass, senior forward Jaleesa Avery along with Alford and Kirkwood snagged eight rebounds apiece.
With the win, Kentucky moves to 5-0 overall.
Morehead State falls to 2-3 with the loss
Next up, the Eagles return home for a Tuesday evening matchup against North Carolina A&T. Tipoff at Johnson Arena is set for 6:00 p.m. ET