UK Women's Basketball

UK women drop second straight

AUBURN, Ala. — The Kentucky women's basketball is heading into the post-season on a sour note.

Alli Smalley scored 26 points, and Auburn beat No. 16 Kentucky 65-53 on Sunday, the Wildcats' second consecutive loss and the third in their last five games.

Kentucky (23-6, 11-5 Southeastern Conference) lost at No. 4 Tennessee 81-65 on Thursday.

The SEC Tournament starts Thursday in Duluth, Ga. As the No. 2 seed, UK has a first-round bye and will play Friday against the winner of Florida and Auburn.

"We're on a two-game losing streak, so we definitely don't want to make that three," said Kentucky guard Amber Smith, who had 17 points and four assists. "We're going to get a lot of motivation from this game, and we can't let teams outplay us. We're going to come back with a lot of energy and a lot of motivation for the SEC Tournament."

Auburn (14-15, 5-11) overcame 22 turnovers by getting to the foul line, where the Tigers went 15-for-18 in the last game at Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum. UK was only 3-for-5 at the line.

Adia Mathies led Kentucky with 20 points. Limited by Auburn's 2-3 zone defense, UK junior standout Victoria Dunlap had her worst offensive game of the season with just four points — 13 below her average — on 2-for-15 shooting.

"They were active and really shut us down around the rim," UK Coach Matthew Mitchell said. "I thought that their size and athleticism really bothered us today. They are a real tough team around the rim to score against."

Dunlap's previous low this season was nine points, also against Auburn, on Jan. 24.

"I think for the first few minutes we came out with the right energy and the right intensity," Dunlap said. "After that, I think we just weren't playing like ourselves, and we weren't that energetic and enthusiastic about the game. We let that get to us."

Two UK players — Crystal Riley and Lydia Watkins — did not play because of injuries.

Tigers senior Keke Carrier scored 13 points and Jordan Greenleaf had 10. Carrier also scored her 1,000th career point during senior night, the 26th Auburn player to reach that mark.

"I wasn't focusing on that at all, I just wanted to be effective," Carrier said. "This is my last game in the Coliseum at Auburn. I just wanted to play big. My focus was going hard and being the player I can be."

Kentucky cut the lead to 48-43 with 5:41 left in the game, but Auburn followed with an 8-0 run. The Tigers led by as many as 15 with 14:20 left in the game.

UK shot 36 percent from the field and had 17 turnovers.

"We played really well. We played the majority in zone defense and it was very effective," Auburn Coach Nell Fortner said. "It limited Kentucky's shot opportunities. They got a lot of their shots out of shot clocks winding down and things like that. We did a good job of slowing them down a little bit."

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