The No. 15 University of Kentucky women’s basketball team lost its first game of the season Saturday, falling 79-69 to Colorado at the Coors Events Center in Boulder, Colo.
Senior Evelyn Akhator scored 12 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for her fifth straight double-double. Senior guard Makayla Epps and sophomores Taylor Murray and Maci Morris each scored 14 points.
Alexis Robinson, a sophomore out of Ashland Blazer, led Colorado with 19 points, and she also had four assists. Kennedy Leonard added 14 points and 12 assists while getting two steals and committing no turnovers.
Kentucky (3-1) held an eight-point lead early in the game and a 12-11 lead at the end of the first quarter, but Colorado (3-0) used a 7-0 run in the second period to gain the lead and give the Wildcats their first deficit at halftime this season.
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“We always want to — offensively and defensively — dictate tempo,” Colorado Coach JR Payne said. “Initially we’d thought we might sag off some of their more penetrating type players, but we did a better job pressuring them, we sped them up which created turnovers.”
The Buffaloes took control of the game in the third quarter, hitting two early threes to force a Kentucky timeout. Colorado shot 45.5 percent from the field in the third quarter, outscoring Kentucky 25-16 to take a double-digit lead into the fourth quarter.
Colorado would not relinquish the lead, hitting 61.5 percent from the field in the final 10 minutes.
“We wanted to come out and play what we thought would be a real tough Colorado team, to see where our team is at this point of the season. It was a great game for us to learn,” UK Coach Matthew Mitchell said. “It was a good lesson for us; if we don’t hustle more than our opponents, we get in this kind of positions.”
The Buffaloes took advantage of offensive rebounds in the game, outscoring Kentucky 22-12 in second-chance points behind 17 offensive rebounds. The Wildcats struggled from the free-throw line, hitting just 12 of 21 from there.
“They were aggressive,” Mitchell said of Colorado’s players. “They were decisive. They played great. The pick and roll tonight was really impressive to see them and how hard they played.”
Morehead State at Kentucky
7 p.m. Wednesday