Taylor Murray and Maci Morris scored 19 points apiece, and sixth-seeded Kentucky rallied for an 82-77 win over 11th-seeded Princeton on Saturday afternoon in a first-round NCAA Tournament game in Raleigh, N.C.
Rhyne Howard added 15 points for Kentucky (25-7), which advanced to play the winner of Saturday’s contest between third-seeded North Carolina State and 14th-seeded Maine. Tatyana Wyatt (12 points) also scored in double digits for the Wildcats.
Gabrielle Rush scored 22 points to lead Princeton (22-10). Bella Alarie finished with 20 points and 15 rebounds.
After trailing by four at halftime, Kentucky pulled in front by double digits midway through the fourth quarter. Murray converted a layup to make it 71-60 with 5:30 to go, but Princeton fought back on the next possession with a 3-pointer from Rush.
The Tigers then trimmed the lead to 73-68 with 3:29 remaining after Alarie converted a three-point play.
The Wildcats maintained at least a five-point lead from that point forward.
Kentucky built a 61-52 lead entering the fourth quarter. The Wildcats outscored the Tigers 28-15 in the third quarter.
The score was even at 52 with 1:55 to go in the third quarter after Alarie made a layup. The Wildcats then closed the quarter with nine straight points to seize a comfortable lead. Murray made a 3-pointer, Howard made one of two free throws, and Morris made a jump shot followed by a 3-pointer to mark the scoring.
A late jumper by Grace Stone gave Princeton a 37-33 edge heading into the half. The Tigers scored the final six points of the second quarter thanks to a layup by Alarie, a layup by Carlie Littlefield and the basket from Stone.
Kentucky fell behind by nine points early in the second quarter when Rush buried a 3-pointer with 8:22 to go. But the Wildcats regrouped with a 13-2 run to pull ahead 31-29 with 3:46 remaining before the break.
Kentucky’s Murray started the comeback run with a layup. Howard added a pair of 3-pointers during the outburst, and Morris hit two jump shots.
Princeton led 20-16 at the end of the first quarter. The Tigers capped the scoring with a 3-pointer by Rush with five seconds to go in the period.
—Field Level Media