Cats Escape VCU with 66-61 win
Dec. 16, 2001
Richmond, Va. - The University of Kentucky women's basketball team hit five of six free throws in the final minute of the game to escape Virginia Commonwealth with a 66-61 win. Junior Rita Adams played a complete game with a team-high 19 points, a career-high nine steals, eight rebounds and six assists.
UK (4-4) clawed back from a 10-point deficit in the first half to take a 26-25 lead at the half. The Cats continued their comeback with a 6-0 run to start the second half. A pair of free throws from senior LaTonya McDole gave UK its biggest lead of 16, 44-28, with 14:45 remaining.
The Rams (2-6) used their full-court pressure to come back within seven, but a three-pointer from freshman Sara Potts brought the Cats back to a 48-38 advantage. VCU got as close as three at the two-minute mark on a pair of sophomore Meagan Evans free throws. SeSe Helm answered with two points from the charity stripe with only one minute remaining in the game to push UK's lead to five. VCU cut the lead to three with a layup from senior Rochelle Luckett with 49 seconds to go. VCU had a chance to cut the lead back to one point, but missed one of two free throws. Freshman Keiko Tate, who earned her first collegiate start, then made one of two shots before Helm sealed the win, sinking both of her free throw attempts.
"I'm very proud of this basketball team today," UK Coach Bernadette Mattox said. "We got down by 10 in the first half and continued to work. This game shows we are coming together and learning to win on the road."
The Wildcats and Rams opened the game trading buckets, but a Kentucky scoring drought and a 10-0 VCU run opened up the game at with a 15-5 Rams lead. UK would not score again until Adams' layup with 12:30 to go in the half. Eight unanswered points from Kentucky helped cut the VCU lead to 15-13. Helm's bucket at the one-minute mark brought the Cats within one, and another Adams layup gave Kentucky its first lead with 19 seconds remaining in the first half.
VCU was led by Evans who charted a career-high 27 points on 10-of-18 shooting.
The Cats forced 28 VCU turnovers and committed 18 of their own. UK had only four turnovers on the first half. VCU outrebounded the Cats 39-37.
The series is now tied at 1-1 with the Cats avenging a 67-57 loss to the Rams last season at home.
Kentucky returns to Lexington for a two-game homestand next week. The Cats play host to intrastate rival Louisville on Wednesday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. in Memorial Coliseum. UK will then meet Evansville at home on Dec. 22 at 1 p.m.