LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Lady Tigers fell to the University of Kentucky in its final game before the start of conference play. The 12th ranked Wildcats (11-2) claimed an 87-75 win over Tennessee State (3-8) at Memorial Coliseum on Sunday afternoon.
Brianna Lawrence led the way for TSU with a season high 19 points, while I’mani Davis recorded her first double-double of the year with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Chelsea Hudson added 16 points and nine boards, despite sitting out for ten minutes in the first half due to injury.
As a team, the Lady Tigers shot 45 percent (28-of-62) from the field, 50 percent (6-of-12) from long-range and 81 percent (13-of-16) from the line. UK edged out the Lady Tigers on the boards, 44-42.
TSU opened quickly as they used 71% shooting from the field to grab the early advantage. Leading 7-6, the Lady Tigers went on a 7-0 run behind a pair of free throws from Lawrence, a jumper from Rachel Allen and a three-pointer from Davis making the score 14-6.
After Jamilah Leonard gave TSU an 18-12 lead with a layup at the 13:01 mark, the Wildcats charged back with an 8-0 run to take their first lead of the game, 20-18.
Freshman Samantha Palma seemed to stop the surge with a 20-foot baseline jumper to even the score at 20-20 with 10:39 on the clock. But Kentucky would go on to score the next 12 points opening the lead to 32-20.
TSU would trail by as many as 16, but would battle back in the final four minutes of the opening stanza outscoring the SEC opponent 11-8. At the half, UK led TSU 47-35.
The two teams battled back-and-forth for the first five minutes of the second half as Kentucky grabbed a 15 point advantage, 60-45.
Over the next six and a half minutes the Lady Tigers came storming back, cutting the UK lead to four, as they capped off a 16-5 spurt.
Davis opened the run by hitting a pair of free throws ahead of an old fashioned three-point play by Leonard. Hudson would take over underneath with thee buckets inside the paint. Davis added two more points from the line before Lawrence drained a three making the score 65-61 with 8:14 on the clock.
TSU had an opportunity to cut the lead to two, but was not able to convert on a contested fast break.
Kentucky would recharge the 5,810 in attendance by using pressure to outscore TSU 8-0 over the next two minutes, reestablishing a 12 point advantage at 73-61.
The two squads would close out the game matching each other, 14-14, to reach the 87-75 final.
Jayda Johnson added nine points on the afternoon, while Allen dropped in six and matched a season high with eight assists.
The Lady Tigers open Ohio Valley Conference play against Southeast Missouri State on Saturday, Jan. 3. Game time is set for 5:30pm at the Gentry Center