MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Jada Walker scored 19 points and Robyn Benton added 18 as the Kentucky women's basketball team beat Minnesota 80-74 on Wednesday night at Williams Arena.
Walker added five rebounds, three assists and three steals in the game. Ajae Petty had her second straight double-double, with a career-high 16 points and 12 rebounds. Blair Green had 11 points and seven rebounds for the Cats.
Kentucky (7-1) won in its first true road game of the season by scoring 26 points off 21 Minnesota turnovers. The Cats dominated the boards, grabbing 46 compared to just 33 for the Gophers. UK also outscored Minnesota 26-2 in bench points.
Minnesota (5-4) made its first five shots from the floor and raced out to an 11-4 lead early. However, the Cats answered with an 8-0 lead, sparked by two Blair Green layups, to lead 12-11. Minnesota would take the lead back, 13-12, before UK ran off 10 consecutive points, including six in a row from Petty, to grab an 22-13 advantage late in the first period.
Minnesota would close the first period on an 8-1 run, but the Cats would lead 23-21 after 10 minutes of play. Kentucky forced nine Minnesota turnovers in the period and converted those into 12 points.
In the second period, Kentucky extended its lead to 29-21 by scoring the first six points of the quarter. Minnesota would answer with the next six points, on three-pointers from Katie Borowicz and Mara Braun, to cut the UK lead to 29-27.
The battle of runs would continue as UK scored the next six points to lead 35-27 before Minnesota answered with the next five to cut the lead to 35-32. Kentucky would hold a narrow 41-39 lead at the break.
In the third period, Benton got hot for the Cats, scoring UK's first 10 points of the quarter. The quarter featured four ties and four lead changes, but the Cats used a 6-2 run over the last two minutes of the quarter to grab a 64-59 lead with 10 minutes left in the game.
Kentucky would open the final stanza by scoring six of the first nine points, extending the lead to 70-62 in the process. UK would lead 72-64 before Minnesota went on an 8-2 run to cut the Kentucky advantage to 74-72 with 2:59 to play.
Minnesota had a chance to tie the game with 50 seconds to play, but Alanna Micheaux missed two free throws and Kentucky got the rebound. With 28 seconds to play, Walker hit a pair of free throws to make it 78-74. Benton would seal the deal with a layup with 15 seconds to play, providing the final margin of victory.
Kentucky returns to action on Sunday, hosting Louisville at Rupp Arena. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. and the game can be seen on ESPN.