Kentucky couldn't find its shot on the offensive end, but its defense saved the day and helped the Cats win the championship game of the Courtyard LaGuardia Turkey Classic 46-43 over tournament host Long Island.
A day after shooting a season-high 55.6 percent from the field in the semifinals, the Cats managed to hit just 17 of 61 shots (27.9 percent).
"It was a tough day shooting the ball," Coach Matthew Mitchell said. "LIU packed it in and our confidence was shaken early and we were really never able to regain it."
UK's defense had to be the star.
Trailing by three points with 50 seconds to go, Amber Smith intercepted a pass by LIU's Jade Brown and hit a driving layup to pull the Cats within one. On the Blackbirds' next possession, Victoria Dunlap stole a pass and was fouled on her shot attempt. She hit one of two free throws, tying the game at 41-41 with 39 seconds left.
Dunlap later made a layup and Amani Franklin made two free throws to help the Cats pull ahead by four, 45-41, with 20 ticks left. Carly Ormerod, tournament Most Valuable Player, hit one of two free throws late to seal the win.
"Those two steals were huge by Amber and Victoria," Mitchell said. "That is called finding a way to win. We are definitely happy to win this game and this tournament."
Eleia Roddy led UK with 12 points and nine rebounds. Franklin added eight points and eight rebounds.