Auburn clawed back from a 20-point deficit, but it still wasn’t enough to take down No. 12 Kentucky. The Wildcats defeated the Tigers, 68-61 in Lexington on Monday night.
Auburn shot 45% from the field, two percentage points better than Kentucky. The Tigers drastically trailed the Wildcats beyond the arc, only hitting 25% of their 3-point attempts.
Auburn trailed 44-28 at the half but brought it up to a tied game early fourth quarter.
"The resilience they showed was unbelievable," said Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy. "We knew that if we took care of the basketball, we would have a great opportunity to score. But 26 turnovers, that's too many. A lot of it was playing a little fast."
Junior forward Unique Thompson kept up her All-SEC-caliber season with a game-high 27 points, and 15 boards while shooting 11-of-14 from the field. She also put up her nation-leading 17th double-double of the season in 18 games.
"Kentucky is limited in their post size, so we knew Unique (would have success)," Williams-Flournoy said. "I thought Unique did a very good job of going to get the basketball. She didn't stand around, she went and got some of those offensive rebounds."
Auburn’s (7-11, 1-6 SEC) downfall came in the form of turnovers. Of its 26 giveaways, 16 turned into a scoring opportunity for Kentucky. Paired with Kentucky’s 11 3-pointers, it was hard for the Tigers to catch up.
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The Tigers put up a 7-0 run to start the second half, forcing the Wildcats to take a timeout. The timeout didn’t phase Auburn as it continued its run with four more points on the board, cutting UK's lead down to five at the conclusion of the third quarter.
The Tigers started the fourth quarter in a tie after a free throw from Thompson with 8:40 left in the game. The Wildcats regained the lead and never gave it up, but the Tigers came within one point on two different occasions down the stretch.
Auburn only trailed BY two points with less than a minute to go, but Kentucky knocked down five free throws in the last 30 seconds to secure the win.
Auburn will next face No. 9 Mississippi State this Thursday in Humphrey Coliseum at 7 p.m. CST.
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