Kentucky defeats Mississippi State 83-67 in SEC tournament | Sports

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Kentucky guard Jada Walker (11) dribbles down the court during the United Kingdom women’s basketball game against Vanderbilt Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022 at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Ky. The UK won 69-65. Photo by Isabel McSwain | Staff




7-seeded Kentucky beat No. 10 Mississippi State 83-67 in the second round of the SEC Tournament on Thursday, further solidifying itself as an NCAA Tournament team.

With the win, Kentucky earns a rematch against No. 2 LSU, hoping to get revenge on the Tigers after they lost to Baton Rouge on Jan. 30 as part of their 1-8 losing streak to start the year.

In their win over the Bulldogs, Kentucky extended their winning streak to seven games.

Freshman guard Jada Walker led the charge in Kentucky’s win, tying her career-high 21 points, all while wearing a face mask due to a broken nose she suffered in the home final. of the United Kingdom against Auburn on Sunday.

“I felt really good,” Walker said. “Especially coming back with the mask, I wasn’t sure how I was going to play, but I played well. I do not think so [the mask] affected my game, but it was an adjustment for me because I’m not used to wearing anything on my face.

Along with Walker, four other Wildcats scored in double figures in the win, with junior forward Dre’una Edwards scoring 18 points.

“Dre can put the ball in the basket,” Kentucky guard Rhyne Howard said. “We’ll get it to her whenever she’s there.” She can score at all three levels and we trust her to make the right decisions the way she does. If she scores, we give her the ball, if she doesn’t score, we give her the ball. She believes in us so we believe in her.

Kentucky trailed Mississippi State late in the first quarter, with the UK as a team looking slower than usual, but the Cats outscored the Bulldogs 22-9 in the second quarter and didn’t never looked back.

Kentucky head coach Kyra Elzy noted before the game that she was not looking for the team to make another comeback after recording its biggest fourth-quarter comeback in program history to defeat the Bulldogs on Feb. 15, and that comeback didn’t happen. themselves in double digits entering the final period of play.

Although just holding on for the win would have been enough, Kentucky was not satisfied, beating the Bulldogs again in the fourth quarter to extend their margin of victory.

Kentucky topped the paint in the win, beating the Bulldogs in the paint and outscoring them 47-25.

“We came into the game saying we had to own the boards,” Elzy said. “We had to make sure that we bounce back by committee, and I really challenged our guards. I told them: ‘You can’t stand it, you have to leave and help us bounce back. Offensively we wanted four people on the boards, defensively five. I’m so proud of our heart, [rebounding] was a big priority, so I’m smiling because we bounced back well.

Although the Bulldogs are unlikely to make it to the NCAA Tournament, being projected before the loss as one of the top four eliminated, Kentucky’s strong win further validates the UK’s case as a team that worth a trip to the Big Dance.

The bracket’s recent projections already had the Cats in the field, currently a No. 11 seed, thanks in large part to the winning streak Kentucky ended its regular season on.

With another good win on the books, it looks like Elzy’s cats, barring some, will be putting their dancing shoes on regardless of the outcome against LSU.

That said, the game against the Tigers is not one Kentucky plans to blow up as they continue to fight for their revenge and a higher seed in the tournament.

“[LSU] is well trained,” Elzy said. “They’re tough, we were in a fight with them at LSU and we were in the game until the last three minutes. They are physical, they are extremely athletic, and we will have to fight on the boards. One thing that I don’t think we did well at LSU was end up in the paint, we’re going to have to speed up the transition.

A win over a projected No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament would be a big boost to Kentucky’s resume and is very likely a seed-changing game if the Wildcats come out on top.

No. 10 Kentucky vs. No. 2 LSU is currently scheduled for Friday March. 4, still from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. The whistleblower is currently scheduled for 7 p.m. EST and will air live on the SEC Network.

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