By: Tyrus York – After 2 straight losses the #9/10 UK Hoops team rebounded nicely in a “must win” for their psyche as they defeated the Missouri Tigers 80-69 Sunday in Memorial Coliseum.
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Without their senior leader Kastine Evans, who sat out with an undisclosed leg injury, Bria Goss stepped in and led the Cats with 20 points and 8 rebounds. Another stat I’m sure Kentucky fans can appreciate, she was a perfect 10-10 from the free throw line.
Despite the 11 point win, it wasn’t smooth sailing for the Cats in this game. They would fall behind by 8 points halfway through the first half before settling in on offense to go on an 11-0 run to claim the lead.
Missouri was led in the first half by Bri Kulas who scored 20 of her 27 points in the opening stanza. She also had a game high 14 rebounds to compliment her dominant performance.
Kentucky did a much better job defending Kulas and Missouri in the second half, holding Kulas scoreless in the first 14 minutes and stretching their lead to double digits.
Missouri would hang tough and keep the margin within 10 points, eventually losing by 11.
Jannee Thompson turned in 16 points to follow Goss in the scoring column for the Cats. She along with fellow point guard Jenn O’Neill teamed up for some 2 guard action against the Tigers. O’Neill hit some key shots down the stretch in route to her 11 points for the game.
Samarie Walker led the charge on the glass for Kentucky with 13 rebounds. The Cats would out-rebound the Tigers 42-38 in what turned out to be another rough battle in the paint. Kentucky also outscored Missouri in the paint 32-26.
Denisha Stallworth, still battling back from a knee injury, was able to contribute 11 points and 5 rebounds in 25 minutes of play. Stallworth notes that her conditioning has some work to do after returning from the injury, but says her knee is feeling good.
Kentucky (14-3, 2-2) will get the week off before heading to Auburn next Sunday. They will return home to face Alabama on Thursday January 23rd at 7 pm.