Kentucky trailed by as many as 15 points and was one bounce of the Rupp Arena rim away from overtime versus Louisiana State, but Maci Morris’ jumper failed to fall.
For most of the game, LSU always seemed to have an answer in the form of a transition basket or putback and those things helped earn the Tigers their third straight victory, 72-70, on Sunday in Rupp Arena.
The loss snapped the Cats’ three-game win streak with a brutal stretch coming that includes four of the final six games on the road, including three at ranked opponents.
Raigyne Louis led the Tigers with 20 points and seven assists, including seven crucial points in the fourth quarter. She was one of four LSU players in double figures. Chloe Jackson added 17 points and six rebounds and Ayana Mitchell 13 points and 12 boards.
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The rebounds were the big difference with LSU managing 15 second-chance points to just four for the Cats, who were outrebounded 35-23, including 18-5 on the offensive end.
The Tigers (15-6, 7-3 Southeastern Conference) also scored 21 points on 15 Cats turnovers, most coming in transition.
Kentucky (12-12, 4-6) dug itself an early hole.
Shots went in and out.
They hopped off the rim.
It happened eight straight times to open the game before Kentucky was able to get its first points with 3:47 left on a Dorie Harrison layup in the lane and subsequent foul shot.
By then UK had spotted the Tigers a six-point lead, which ballooned to nine points, 16-5, after one quarter in which the Cats made just two of their 15 shots (13.3 percent).
Shooting got considerably better for Kentucky in the second quarter when it made 90 percent of its shots, but it had zero answer for LSU, especially in transition where the Tigers outscored UK 10-0 after one half.
Louisiana State, which shot 50 percent from the field in the first half, was up 38-26 at the break behind 14 points from Jackson.
After struggling to get loose in the first half, Morris found her rhythm from long range in the second half, knocking down a three to end the third quarter and cap a 7-0 UK run to get the Cats within eight, 51-43.
Morris connected on another with 7:30 to play and get UK as close as it had been to the Tigers, 57-50. Another two minutes later cut the lead to six.
Morris led Kentucky with 17 points, followed by 16 points and six assists from Taylor Murray. Amanda Paschal and KeKe McKinney added 10 points apiece in the loss.
Kentucky at Missouri
9 p.m. Thursday (SEC Network)