MEMPHIS, Tenn. --- Kentucky turnovers plagued the Cats as they fell to Memphis, 63-55, in the championship game of the Lady Tiger Classic on Saturday.
Junior Rita Adams finished with a game-high 16 points, five assists and five steals, while sophomore SeSe Helm scored 13 points. Both players were named to the All-Tournament team.
The Lady Tigers (3-2) exploded to a 26-12 lead midway through the first half before the Cats began to claw their way back. Freshman Keiko Tate came off the bench after Helm and sophomore forward Stephanie Stoglin were benched with three fouls apiece. The 6-2 center provided a spark on both ends of the court, scoring quick five points and grabbing eight rebounds. Tate finished the game with a career-high 10 boards. The Cats trailed 34-27 at the half led by McDole and Adams with seven points each.
"I'm very pleased with Keiko," UK coach Bernadette Mattox said. "She took her game to another level and gained confidence this weekend."
The Cats (2-1) opened strong in the second half, cutting the lead to three, 34-31, forcing a Memphis timeout. However, the Lady Tigers would push the lead to nine behind a Princess Swilley three-pointer. Freshman Sara Potts' free throws with nine minutes remaining started an 8-2 Wildcat run that cut the advantage to 56-48. Helm's layup cut the lead to five, 60-55, with two minutes to before fouling out with a minute left. A Memphis free throw and a steal with 20 seconds remaining sealed the victory.
"It was a very good game for us to play this time of year," Mattox said. "Early on their press hurt us, but our quick decisions led to turnovers. I thought we had plenty of opportunities to take the game. You can't win a game with that many turnovers."
The Cats committed a whopping 37 turnovers while Memphis committed 23. UK
outrebounded the Lady Tigers 42-35 and shot 41.2 percent from the floor. The
Cats also went 12-of-15 (80 percent) from the charity stripe .
Memphis was led by Swilley's 16 points and Shannon Hamp's 13.
Kentucky defeated Sam Houston State in the first round 100-55 to advance to the championship game. Memphis took a 93-38 win over UMKC. Memphis, 4-2 against UK overall, won its 10th straight Lady Tiger Classic.
The Cats will next travel to Chapel Hill, N.C., to take on North Carolina on Nov. 28 at 6:30 p.m. ET.