Mor­ris moves up all-time scor­ing list to No. 15 in rout

Lexington Herald-Leader (Sunday) - - Sports - BY JOSH SULLIVAN

Se­nior guard Maci Mor­ris scored 17 points and keyed a gamechang­ing run as the Univer­sity of Ken­tucky women’s basketball team closed its non-con­fer­ence sched­ule with a 71-43 rout of Sa­cred Heart in Me­mo­rial Coli­seum on Satur­day.

Mor­ris went 7-for-16 from the field, in­clud­ing a 3-for-5 mark from three-point range, and added five re­bounds, three as­sists and two blocks. She also moved up to No. 15 on UK’s all-time scor­ing list, pass­ing Jodie Whi­taker.

Mor­ris sank a three­p­ointer from the left cor­ner for the first points of the game. With Sa­cred Heart (4-7) lead­ing 13-12 late in the first quar­ter, Mor­ris nailed an­other three-pointer to put the Cats ahead for good. UK closed the first half on a 10-0 run that in­cluded five points from Mor­ris, tak­ing a 33-20 ad­van­tage into the locker room.

Ken­tucky (13-1) hit nine of its first 13 shots and went on a 14-0 run dur­ing the third quar­ter, then stretched the lead to 31 points in the fourth.

The Cats held Sa­cred Heart score­less for nearly seven min­utes to be­gin the sec­ond half and forced 12 of the Pioneers’ 17 turnovers af­ter the break. UK Coach Matthew Mitchell said a re­newed com­mit­ment to de­fense was the main point of em­pha­sis at half­time.

“We talked at half­time about our de­fen­sive fo­cus,” Mitchell said. “Forc­ing 12 turnovers in the sec­ond half is more on sched­ule with what we we’re want­ing to do.”

Jaida Roper had 12 points and five as­sists off the bench and Tay­lor Mur­ray added 11 points, six re­bounds and three steals. Fresh­man sen­sa­tion Rhyne Howard pulled down a game-high 15 re­bounds, lead­ing Ken­tucky to a 57-35 ad­van­tage on the glass. Sopho­more for­ward Tatyana Wy­att added seven boards.

“Coach has re­ally been em­pha­siz­ing re­bound­ing. We’ve been work­ing on box­ing out and try­ing to go to the boards hard,” Mor­ris said. “I’ve got to give a ma­jor shout-out to (Wy­att) be­cause she was crash­ing the boards like crazy to­day and keep­ing the ball alive.”

The 18th-ranked Wild­cats open South­east­ern Con­fer­ence play against Van­der­bilt on Thurs­day at 7 p.m. in Me­mo­rial Coli­seum. Mitchell said the Cats are ready for the chal­lenge of the SEC grind.

“We have done a good job of build­ing our team and we know what we need to do to be suc­cess­ful,” he said. “Now there are no more games where you can kind of let your ath­leti­cism over­whelm the op­po­nent. Now you re­ally have to lock in ... I think we have enough ath­leti­cism to be suc­cess­ful.”

Maci Mor­ris

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