UK Women's Basketball

Mitchell after UK women’s 8th straight loss: ‘Tough game to watch right there’

UK’s Taylor Murray pulls up and shoots against Georgia at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington on Sunday, January 7, 2018.
UK’s Taylor Murray pulls up and shoots against Georgia at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington on Sunday, January 7, 2018.

Know the phrase, “Couldn’t buy a basket?”

Fans in Memorial Coliseum learned on Sunday exactly what that meant.

Check, cash, credit card. All would’ve been pretty much worthless for Kentucky, which shot 13.8 percent in the second half and a season-low 20.4 percent for the game in a 56-42 loss to Georgia.

“Tough game to watch right there,” a befuddled Matthew Mitchell said after Georgia defeated his team for the first time in five tries. “Neither team could really get the ball in the basket at a very high rate. Georgia made more than we did and won the game. We just had an extremely tough day.”

The Bulldogs, who handed the Cats their eighth straight loss, likely would’ve been upset with their 11.1 percent shooting clip in the third quarter had the Cats not made just 9.1 percent of their shots in that same span.

In the third quarter alone, the two teams combined to score 14 points and make three of their 29 attempts.

Georgia Coach Joni Taylor told her group not to be discouraged and to remember to play hard on defense no matter what was happening on the offensive end.

“In the past we would have been in our feelings about missing shots,” Taylor said. “We let offense affect how we played and this year’s team has been able to find a way to not let that take them out of the game.

“Obviously it comes with experience and we’ve got some players who’ve logged a lot of minutes and played in a lot of crucial situations.”

Georgia (14-2, 2-1 Souhteastern Conference) kept plugging away, turning a 26-24 lead at halftime into a 35-29 lead after three quarters.

One of the more experienced Georgia players, Mackenzie Engram, had four of the Bulldogs’ nine points in the third quarter, including a three-pointer early in that span that put the winners up for good.

The senior forward was one of four players to finish in double digits for the Bulldogs with 12 points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots. Fellow forward Caliya Robinson added 12 points, 11 rebounds and six of a UGA season-high 13 blocked shots.

Guard Que Morrison led all scorers with 14 points and had seven boards for the Bulldogs, who outrebounded UK 46-37 and outscored the Cats in the paint 22-12. The win helped the Bulldogs remain unbeaten on the road this season.

Kentucky (8-9, 0-3) was without leading scorer Maci Morris for much of the second half. The junior guard, who had nine points, was relegated to the bench with a knee injury.

Morris fell on the floor for a loose ball in a practice on Thursday and played through some pain in the loss at Texas A&M, but she wasn’t able to finish on Sunday.

“It was really bothering her today and so we’ve just got to go back and see where she is and check that out,” Mitchell said of the diagnosed bone bruise.

Kentucky never seemed to find any rhythm without Morris. The other starters went a combined 4-for-26 from the field.

“We really gave into the disappointment and the discouragement today,” said Mitchell, whose team continued its longest losing streak since the 2001-02 season when it lost 13 in a row. “You can’t do that in this league. You have to find a way.”

If Kentucky, which was led by Makenzie Cann’s 10 points, is going to end its slide soon, the Cats will have to do it on the road either at Florida on Thursday or at Vanderbilt on Monday night.

“It’s real hard right now, but I believe in them and I think they will continue to be resilient,” Mitchell said. “They have been to this point. We’ve got to just keep battling. Fight our way through it.”

Jennifer Smith: 859-231-3241, @jenheraldleader

Next game

Kentucky at Florida

7 p.m. Thursday (SEC Network Plus)