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Wildcats Begin 2018 Slate At No. 19 Texas A&M Thursday - LEX18.com | Continuous News and StormTracker Weather

Wildcats Begin 2018 Slate At No. 19 Texas A&M Thursday

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The University of Kentucky women’s basketball team will continue its difficult stretch of games Thursday at 7 p.m. ET inside Reed Arena as it travels to face No. 19 Texas A&M, marking the Wildcats’ fourth meeting against a top-25 team in its last five games. The Aggies are the seventh straight team UK has faced that has been or currently is ranked or receiving votes in the national listings.

The game will be broadcast live on the SEC Network with Pam Ward and Gail Goestenkors on the call. The action can also be seen through WatchESPN on computers, smartphones or tablets. Darren Headrick, in his first year with the program, will be calling the game on the UK Sports Radio Network. Fans in Lexington can hear Headrick’s call on 630AM WLAP. Live stats and free audio will be available online at ukathletics.com.

This difficult stretch in Kentucky’s schedule has got the better of the Wildcats, who enter Thursday’s Southeastern Conference road opener having lost six in a row. Three of those losses have come to ranked teams in No. 3 Louisville, No. 7 Tennessee and No. 24 Cal, while the other three have come in true road games. UK is the only team in the league to play six non-conference true road games.

TAMU is the seventh straight opponent UK has faced that has been ranked or receiving votes at some point this season, including the fourth top-25 team in the last five games. UK is 0-4 against ranked foes this season and is scheduled to play six more games against teams currently ranked in the Associated Press Top 25, starting with Texas A&M.

Kentucky (8-7, 0-1 SEC) enters the game looking to regain confidence on both ends of the court. The Wildcats are shooting 41.6 percent from the field and 36.3 percent from long range this season, both numbers that have dipped during the tough stretch. UK is averaging 70.4 points per game and allowing opponents to score 62.2 points per game.

Junior guard Maci Morris is averaging a team-best 16.1 points per game, hitting 46.8 percent from the field and 48.1 percent from long range. Morris has scored in double figures in every game but one this season, while she has four games of 20 or more points. The native of Pineville, Ky., ranks 12th nationally and second in the SEC in 3-point field-goal percentage this season.

Fellow junior guard Taylor Murray is averaging 10.4 points per game. The native of Odenton, Md., ranks second on the team with 5.3 rebounds per game and leads the team with 55 assists and 31 steals. Murray’s 2.39 assist-turnover ratio ranks fifth best in the league and 53rd best nationally.

Texas A&M enters Thursday's game ranked No. 19 in both the Associated Press Top 25 and USA Today/Coaches Top 25. The Aggies are 11-4 overall this season, including 8-2 at home, 2-1 in true road games and 1-1 in neutral-site games. All four of the Aggies losses have come to highly ranked teams with two losses vs. Oregon, and single losses to West Virginia and South Carolina.

Freshman guard Chennedy Carter is leading the Aggies in scoring this season with 21.2 points per game, adding 3.1 rebounds per game. Carter is hitting 46.4 percent from the field and 42.6 percent from 3. Junior guard Danni Williams is averaging 14.8 points per game and 3.1 rebounds per game, while senior Khaalia Hillsman is averaging 14.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. Junior forward Anriel Howard is averaging a team-best 13.1 rebounds per game, adding 11.5 points per game.

As a team, Texas A&M is scoring 76.4 points per game, allowing opponents 65.6 points per game. The Aggies are shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 35.5 percent from 3 this season.

Kentucky leads the all-time series in games played against Texas A&M, 4-3. The Wildcats have never lost in College Station to the Aggies, holding a 3-0 record since TAMU entered the SEC. The road team has won the last five meetings in the series.

Texas A&M used a second-half surge to power past Kentucky, 77-68, last season in Memorial Coliseum. Kentucky's Makayla Epps and Evelyn Akhator each had 20 points in the game to lead all Kentucky scorers. Kentucky took a six-point lead at 47-41 midway through the third quarter before Texas A&M used a 9-2 run including seven in a row to push past the Wildcats and take a one-point lead at 50-49 at the end of the third quarter.

In a back-and-forth fourth quarter, the lead changed four times before a 7-0 run by the Aggies including a key 3 put the Aggies ahead 69-62. Texas A&M would then go on to make all eight of the free throws they attempted inside the final three minutes of the game to ice it.

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