Cats Thump Gators in SEC Quarterfinals
Kentucky outscored Florida by 20 points in the second quarter and went on to beat the Gators 92-69 in Friday's quarterfinals of the 2016 SEC Women's Basketball Tournament.
A game that turned into an easy Kentucky win didn't start that way. Kentucky struggled in the first half, quickly falling behind by double digits while hitting only three of their 17 first-quarter field goals (18 percent). Florida came out of the gate on fire, hitting their first four three-point shots to build a big lead.
The Gators held Kentucky to a season-low nine points in the first quarter, as Florida led 16-9 after the first stanza.
But in the second quarter, Kentucky's tandem of experienced guards took control of the game. Senior guard Janee Thompson scored 13 points in the period, while junior Makayla Epps scored seven points to help Kentucky to a 33-13 advantage in the stanza and a 42-29 lead at the half.
In the third quarter, Florida cut into the Kentucky lead, getting as close as 42-34 early in the second half. But Kentucky answered, closing the period on a 17-5 run to take a commanding 70-49 lead.
Kentucky held Florida at bay in the final stanza to advance to the SEC Tournament semifinals.
Epps led Kentucky with 22 points, and she added seven rebounds and seven assists. Thompson finished with 19 points and had four assists of her own. Junior Evelyn Akhator had her 12th double-double of the season, with 12 points and 1 rebounds, while freshman Batouly Camara had 12 points and five rebounds and freshman Maci Morris had 10.
After opening three-of-17 from the field, Kentucky hit 31 of its last 53 field goals (58.5 percent) to finish the game shooting 48.6 percent for the game.
Carlie Needles led Florida (22-8) with 15 points, while Elleanna Christinaki added 12 and Ronni Williams had 10.
Kentucky will meet top-seeded South Carolina in Saturday's semifinals. The game is set to tip at 5 p.m. ET and can be seen on ESPNU.