Kentucky Slips Past Boston College on Thursday
Playing shorthanded and riding a five-game losing skid, the Kentucky women’s basketball team seemed to be in a tough spot on Thursday night, facing Boston College in the ACC/SEC Challenge. But the Cats hung tough and when Eniya Russell scored on a driving layup with less than a second remaining, Kentucky came out a winner, 83-81.
Russell scored a career-high 21 points in the game, including the final two that put the Cats over the top. Kentucky also got 17 points and eight rebounds from Ajae Petty, 13 points from Maddie Scherr and 11 from Saniya Tyler.
Scherr left the game in the third quarter and did not return. Sophomore Amiya Jenkins also missed the game due to injury.
Kentucky started quickly, as the Cats got a three from Emma King on their first possession of the game. Scherr scored on a jumper to give UK a 5-2 advantage. The Cats would lead 7-4 before BC went on a 7-2 run to lead for the first time, 11-9.
The Cats answered by scoring the next four points, all by Petty, retaking the lead, 13-11. The teams would trade the lead five times in the first, but BC closed the period on a 6-1 run to lead 21-17 after 10 minutes of action.
Boston College stretched the lead to four early in the second quarter before the Cats scored five in a row, including a three from Cassidy Rowe, to take a 26-25 lead. BC scored the next five points to lead 30-26.
The teams would trade baskets for the next five minutes and change. With the Eagles leading 40-36 and only 1:05 left until halftime, UK mounted a rally, scoring the final five points of the half to take a 41-40 lead into the break. Scherr led all scorers with 13 points in the first half.
BC scored the first four points of the second half before Kentucky went on a 9-2 run, sparked by four points from King, to lead 50-46. The Eagles answered by scoring the next six points, part of a 10-1 run that gave BC a 56-51 lead with 4:56 to play in the third. The Cats would spend the rest of the period chasing the Eagles, eventually getting within one, but the Eagles led 64-61 after three quarters.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Cats trailed 66-61 before Russell scored five in a row to tie the game at 66 apiece. BC would again take the lead, by as many as three, before Tyler drained a three to tie the game at 75-75 with 4:58 remaining. That basket was part of a 9-2 run that gave UK an 81-77 lead with 1:50 to play.
BC got a three to cut the UK lead to 81-80 with 1:32 left. That would be the score with less than 30 seconds remaining when the Eagles went for a potential game-winning shot. But Dontavia Waggoner was fouled with 10 seconds remaining. She made the first free throw but missed the second. Kentucky rebounded and immediately called timeout.
That set up Russell’s heroics and snapped the Cats losing streak in the process.
Kentucky returns to action on Sunday, hosting Tennessee Tech at the Beck Center at Transylvania University. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. and the game can be seen on SEC Network Plus.