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Clive M. Beck Center - Lexington, KY

Team effort leads Kentucky past Tennessee Tech

80 days ago
Kentucky Athletics
Photo: Kentucky Athletics

The Kentucky women's basketball team faced Tennessee Tech on Sunday afternoon at the Clive M. Beck Center at Transylvania University. But the Cats were shorthanded again, missing starters Amiya Jenkins and Maddie Scherr due to injury.

The Cats would play just seven players in the game and only four would score, but the Cats did enough to win, 73-67.

Kentucky (4-5) had the best player on the floor on Sunday in Ajae Petty. The 6-3 post dominated the interior all day long, notching a career-high 33 points and grabbing a career-best 15 rebounds in the win. UK head coach Kyra Elzy loved Petty's effort on Sunday.

"I was so proud of Ajae. For her to have 33 points and 15 rebounds. But I love that she's selfless right now. Super proud of her. She's put a lot of hard work in. She found a way to score even when they double-teamed her."

The Cats got double figure scoring efforts from Emma King (a career-high 14 points), Saniya Tyler (13) and Eniya Russell (12). The only other Cat to score was Brooklyn Miles, who had one point. Cassidy Rowe did not score but did hand out a career-high six assists. Elzy knows that players like King are being asked to do things that they might not be asked to do under normal circumstances.

"Fifth-year senior. I told her I expect you to step up. You are our glue piece," Elzy said. "She knows exactly what we're looking for. She understands the offense, she understands the defense but more importantly, she's producing right now - 14 points and seven rebounds. Super proud of her. She's always put in the work and it's good to see her hard work pay off."

For King, she's accepting whatever role is assigned to her.

"Elzy keeps talking about next man up and that's the mentality we have to have," King said. "I'm just ready to fill whatever role they ask of me. If it's the four, last game it was the five, I'm just ready to step into it and embrace the challenge."

Kentucky never trailed in the game but also never led by more than 12. The Cats led 8-2 and 15-4 early in the game. The game's only two ties came late in the second period, at 32-32 and 34-34.

The Golden Eagles cut the UK lead to one, 60-59, with 3:52 to play. But the Cats scored the next six points and never looked back.

Kentucky returns to action on Wednesday night, hosting Minnesota at Rupp Arena. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. ET and the game can be seen on SEC Network Plus.