Kentucky (9-3), which trailed by 11 points (73-62) with 2:35 left in the game, rallied late in the contest to come within three points, 74-71, with 1:27 remaining on a pair of free throws by junior guard Jenny Pfeiffer (North Vernon, Ind.) to cap off a 9-1 run. Trailing 79-75, a lay-up by sophomore forward/center Eleia Roddy (Columbus, Ohio) with 22 seconds left cut UK's deficit to only two, 79-77. But after a jump ball gave the possession to Wake Forest (7-4), the Demon Deacons hit 3-of-4 free-throws in the final 17 seconds to ice the win.
"We really showed a lot of toughness at the end of the game," UK Coach Mickie DeMoss said. "I challenged our players when we were behind. We could have gotten down and folded when things weren't going our way, but we didn't do that. We fought back and had a good chance to win the game."
The Wildcats shot 50 percent (31-of-62) from the floor and out-rebounded Wake Forest 42-22. The Demon Deacons, who trailed 40-34 at halftime, out-scored the Cats 48-37 in the second period, using an 11-4 run out of the locker room and making clutch free throws down the stretch.
"We did a lot of good things today," DeMoss said. "We executed our offense a lot better and we doubled Wake Forest on the boards. We were all over those boards today. I thought that except for about six or eight minutes to start the second half, our defensive intensity was very solid. We just fouled too much and that was really the difference in the game. We gave them 33 points at the free-throw line and that's just too many."
Elliott, who finished the game 5-of-6 from the charity stripe, added seven rebounds to complement her 19 points. Sophomore guard Samantha Mahoney (Detroit) followed with 11 points, while junior guard Nastassia Alcius (Lexington, Ky.) and Roddy each added 10 points. Roddy led UK on the boards with nine rebounds, while senior forward/center Jennifer Humphrey (Memphis) added nine points and eight rebounds.
Back-to-back baskets by Mahoney and Elliott to begin the second half moved the Cats ahead by seven, 44-37, but Wake Forest used an 8-0 run to take its first lead of the second half at 45-44 with 16:43 remaining in the game. After a Roddy hoop, back-to-back three-pointers by Deirdre Naughton and Cotelia Bond-Young at the 12:21 mark put the Demon Deacons back in front, 52-46. A pair of free-throws by Bond-Young gave Wake Forest a 10-point (58-48) lead that it would not relinquish.
Kentucky's post presence out-scored the Demon Deacons 40-26 and UK's bench out-scored Wake Forest's reserves 29-11. The Wildcats connected on 84.6 (11-of-13) of their free-throws.
Wake Forest used an 8-0 run in the early minutes of the game to go ahead 8-3 at the 18:21 mark before the Wildcats used a 5-0 run of their own to tie the score at eight after a three-pointer by Mahoney with 16:18 left in the half. After two more ties, four consecutive Kentucky baskets moved the Cats in front by eight, 20-12. The run, which included two baskets by Humphrey ended at the 12:16 mark of the opening period. Back-to-back baskets by Mahoney extended UK's advantage to 10 points, 24-14.
The Demon Deacons then went on an 11-4 run over the next 4:44 to come within three, 28-25, before a driving lay-up by Alcius ended UK's scoring drought. Consecutive jumpers by Alcius and Mahoney gave the Cats a 34-26 lead, but from there Wake Forest used a 6-0 run to claw within two, 34-32. The Wildcats, however, scored three of the half's last four baskets to take a 40-34 advantage into the locker room at halftime. UK shot an impressive 64.2 percent (18-of-28) from the floor in the opening period, holding the Demon Deacons to 42.8 percent (12-of-28) from the field.
Bond-Young finished with a game-high 21 points, including 13-of-16 charity shots, to lead Wake Forest.
Kentucky returns to action on Monday when it plays host to Mid-American Conference member Bowling Green State. Tip off in Memorial Coliseum is set for 7 p.m. EST and the game will be carried live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio) with Neil Price. Live audio and statistics for all UK Hoops games this season will be available on ukathletics.com.
Season tickets cost only $20. Single-game general admission tickets are available for $5 adults/$2 senior citizens and children ages 18 and under. UK students, faculty and staff are admitted free with valid identification. For ticket information, log on to ukathletics.com or call the UK ticket office at 859-257-1818 or 1-800-928-CATS (2287).