Conference tournament week is off and running and Kentucky had momentum heading into Nashville. With a six-game winning streak on the line, the Wildcats had a lot to prove to themselves and the NCAA tournament committee in the SEC tournament.
Knowing that they had to win this tournament to get a NCAA tournament bid, Mississippi State came out of the gates ready for battle. After a 6-2 Kentucky start, the Bulldogs took control of the first quarter by out-scoring the Wildcats by a tally of 21-16.
The momentum from the first quarter did not carry over to the second for Mississippi State as Kentucky put the Bulldogs on lockdown and found rhythm on the offensive end. Kyra Elzy’s ’Cats held Mississippi State under double-digits for the quarter with just nine points. Meanwhile, the Wildcats put up a solid outing with 22 points for the quarter.
With a big run to end the first half, Kentucky rode their stellar play into the second half and slowly pulled away from Mississippi State. At the end of the night, the Wildcats had prevailed with an 83-67 victory.
This game was a very good sign for Kyra Elzy and her staff as Rhyne Howard did not have to put the team on her back tonight. She received great help from the reliable Dre’Una Edwards to an inspired Robyn Benton. Four Wildcats outside of Howard scored in double-digits on the evening, led by Jada Walker‘s 21 points and Dre’Una Edwards’ 18 points. Edwards also added 14 rebounds for her tenth double-double on the season.
With the win, BBN can take a breath of fresh air with the comfort that tonight’s win likely secured Kentucky into the NCAA tournament. The Wildcats will now be playing with house money the rest of their time in Nashville and are more than capable of pulling off some upsets at the SEC tournament.
Kentucky continues play tomorrow against two-seeded LSU at 7 PM ET on the SEC network. The Tigers beat Kentucky in Baton Rouge 78-69 in their lone matchup season.