Maci Morris scored 18 points, including the 1,000th point of her career, leading the Kentucky women's basketball game to its third consecutive victory, a 65-48 triumph over Auburn on Thursday night at Memorial Coliseum.
Morris scored her 1,000th career point early in the first quarter when she hit back-to-back three-pointers. The junior from Bell County (Ky.) High School, who hit five shots from behind the arc in the game, became the 33rd player in program history to eclipse 1,000 points in a career.
Kentucky (12-11, 4-5 SEC) also got double-figure scoring efforts from Taylor Murray and Alyssa Rice. Murray had 14 points and five assists, while Rice had 11 points and nine rebounds. Freshman KeKe McKinney had another solid effort, scoring nine points and grabbing seven rebounds in the contest.
Auburn, which is known for its trapping defense that causes turnovers, forced Kentucky into 20 miscues, and the Tigers turned those into 24 points. However, Kentucky forced Auburn into 25 turnovers and the Wildcats scored 32 points off of those miscues.
Kentucky won the rebounding battle 36-27, and the Wildcats held a 13-9 advantage on the offensive glass. Kentucky had 18 second-chance points, compared to just six for Auburn.
Kentucky grabbed an early 6-2 lead on Morris' consecutive three-pointers. But Auburn answered with nine straight points, taking an 11-6 lead with 5:12 left in the first period. From there, Kentucky got a basket and free throw from Amanda Paschal to make it 11-9, but Auburn would hold a 12-11 lead after one quarter.
Early in the second period, Auburn held a 15-13 lead and the Tigers added to their advantage by scoring the game's next five points, taking a 20-13 lead with 5:42 left in the half. Kentucky answered with a 14-0 run, sparked by two more three-pointers from Morris and an old fashioned three-point play by Alyssa Rice to take a 27-20 lead with 51 seconds left before the break. The Cats would lead 29-25 at the break after Auburn's Janiah McKay hit a midcourt shot as the first half clock expired.
Auburn (11-10, 2-7) opened the third period with a 7-2 run to take a 32-31 lead. But the lead lasted only 26 seconds, as Kentucky scored the next five points to lead 36-32. The Wildcats would extend the lead to 39-34, and would hold a 42-38 lead after three quarters. Kentucky hit three of its seven shots in the quarter while committing seven turnovers. The Wildcats were also hit seven of nine from the free throw line in the period.
Kentucky scored the first 13 points of the fourth quarter, building 17-point lead in the process. The Wildcats hit five of eight shots during the run and forced Auburn into five turnovers in the first 3:57 of the period. In total, the Wildcats would assemble a 23-3 run to lead 65-41.
Kentucky returns to action on Sunday, as the Wildcats host LSU at Rupp Arena. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. ET and the game can be seen on the SEC Network.
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