Ladies win Pepperdine Tournament Championship

MALIBU, Calif. - Kentucky used a tenacious rebounding effort and rallied from a 10-point first half deficit Saturday to defeat Hofstra 67-54 in the championship game of the Pepperdine Thanksgiving Tournament. It marked the Wildcats' first tournament championship since the 2001-02 season. Sophomore center Sarah Elliott (McKee, Ky.) was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player after totaling 30 points over the two-day tournament, coming off of an off-season knee surgery.

MALIBU, Calif. - Kentucky used a tenacious rebounding effort and rallied from a 10-point first half deficit Saturday to defeat Hofstra 67-54 in the championship game of the Pepperdine Thanksgiving Tournament. It marked the Wildcats' first tournament championship since the 2001-02 season. Sophomore center Sarah Elliott (McKee, Ky.) was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player after totaling 30 points over the two-day tournament, coming off of an off-season knee surgery.

Sophomore guard Samantha Mahoney scored a team-high 13 points to lead the Cats (4-0) and was named to the all-tournament team for her efforts. Junior guard Jenny Pfeiffer (N. Vernon, Ind.) scored 12 points, while Elliott played 31 minutes and added 11 points. Kentucky out-rebounded Hofstra 46-33 and out-scored the Pride 21-13 in second-chance opportunities.

"I am really proud of our team and the way they competed," UK Coach Mickie DeMoss said. "We were tenacious on the boards tonight and we were able to fight for rebounds and put-backs inside which was the key to this game."

Guard Nastassia Alcius (Lexington, Ky.) chipped in eight points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field, while senior forward/center Jennifer Humphrey (Memphis) added a game-high eight rebounds.

Kentucky quickly fell behind to start the game as a pair of Hofstra free-throws put the Pride in front 9-6 at the 15:26 mark of the opening period. A lay-up by Eleia Roddy (Columbus, Ohio) pulled the Cats to within one point (11-10) with 11:49 remaining in the half, but UK wouldn't score again for more than two minutes as Hofstra went on a 10-0 run capped off by a pair of free-throws by Vanessa Gidden.

A three-pointer by Pfeiffer and a pair of free-throws by Mahoney brought the Cats to within four, 20-16, with 8:19 left until halftime. The Wildcats were able to keep within five points of the Pride and came as close as one point (26-25) with 5:30 remaining in the period. A pair of charity shots by Gamble tied the score at 32 with 26 seconds left in the period, before a jumper from Hofstra's Cigi McCollin gave the Pride a two-point halftime lead at 34-32.

The Cats shot just 34.5 percent (10-of-29) from the field in the opening period, while the Pride connected on 11-of-31 attempts from the floor.

The Wildcats brought a renewed energy out of the locker room at halftime, quickly taking command of the game. A jumper by Mahoney just 28 seconds into the final period tied the score at 34 and Kentucky scored the game's next six points, capped off by a pair of free-throws by freshman point guard Carly Ormerod (Louisville, Ky.) to give the Cats a 42-37 advantage at the 15:58 mark of the game.

Kentucky kept adding to its lead to move ahead by eight (47-39) with 12:58 left on a lay-up by Elliott in the paint. A 6-2 run by the Pride pulled them within four on a three-pointer by McCollin with 11:11 remaining in the game, but back-to-back baskets by Alcius and Humphrey pushed the Cats lead back out to eight. Two Hofstra turnovers and baskets by Mahoney and Humphrey moved the Wildcats ahead by 10 (59-49) with just over five minutes remaining. Kentucky connected on 5-of-8 free-throw opportunities in the last two minutes of the game to seal the win.

For the game, the Wildcats shot 38.3 percent (23-of-60) from the floor, but connected on 64 percent of its free-throws and utilized a sizable rebounding advantage. In the second half alone, the Cats out-scored the Pride 18-2 in points in the paint.

Kentucky returns to action Thursday when it hosts Florida International. Tip off is set for 7 p.m. in Memorial Coliseum. The game will be carried live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio) with Neil Price. Live stats will be available on ukathletics.com.


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