With the game tied at 56 after regulation, neither team scored for the first 3:38 of the overtime period before junior guard Jenny Pfeiffer (North Vernon, Ind.) knocked down a free-throw. Pfeiffer missed the second free-throw shot, but senior forward/center Jennifer Humphrey (Memphis) snatched down the rebound and Mahoney followed with a jumper in the paint to give UK the 59-96 advantage with 2:10 left in overtime. The Wildcats (10-3) hit 4-of-4 free-throws in the final 29 seconds to ice the victory.
"It was an offensive struggle tonight," UK Coach Mickie DeMoss said. "It was really a defensive ballgame. We found a way to win and that's what is most important. Sam was really the key for us on the offensive end. She single-handedly got our offense going there in the second half."
Sophomore center Sarah Elliott (McKee, Ky.) followed with 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting, while Pfeiffer followed with 13 points, including making 8-of-9 shots from the free-throw line. Freshman point guard Carly Ormerod (Louisville, Ky.) chipped in nine points on 3-of-4 shooting with two three-pointers. Humphrey led UK on the boards with a team high 12 rebounds and junior guard Nastassia Alcius (Lexington, Ky.) charted a career-high seven critical steals to lead a solid defensive effort.
"Nastassia came up really big for us defensively," DeMoss said. "She had some steals that were really key late in the game. She allowed us to get running up the floor and that opened up the court for us."
Kentucky, which trailed by two at halftime, found itself down 43-41 with 9:16 left before Mahoney, who had not scored until that point in the game, registered 12 of the game's next 16 points to move the Cats ahead by four, 53-49, with 3:43 remaining. However, Bowling Green State (9-2) battled back to come within one, 54-53, after a three-point play by Ali Mann.
After a jump hook by Elliott put the Wildcats back in front by three, 56-53, a three-pointer by the Falcons' Carin Horne tied the score at 56. Alcius missed a jumper with 13 seconds left and, after a timeout, Horne launched another shot with three seconds remaining. Her shot went wide of the hoop and Humphrey grabbed the rebound to send the game to overtime.
Neither team had a prolific shooting night as the Wildcats finished the night shooting 39.3 percent (22-of-56) from the field and the Falcons shot 35.3 (24-of-68). The Wildcats had to overcome 18 turnovers, but the Cats' depth proved important. The Kentucky bench outscored the BGSU reserves 19-7. The Cats shot 72 percent (18-of-25) from the free-throw line.
"When you play a good team that is well coached, you can't let up in any area of your game," DeMoss said. "You have to do everything well in order beat a veteran team like Bowling Green State."
Bowling Green State broke out to a quick 6-0 lead to start the game backed by four points from Mann and extended its advantage to 9-3 on a three-point play by Horne with 13:31 left in the half. The Wildcats battled back to come within three, 9-6, on Moe Gamble's (Winter Haven, Fla.) first career three-pointer at the 13:07 mark. After the Falcons built a 13-8 lead, the Wildcats went on a 9-0 run, that included two baskets from Elliott, to move in front 17-13 with 4:32 to go in the half.
From there, however, BGSU scored seven consecutive points to reclaim the lead at 20-17. Kentucky kept fighting to come within one, 22-21, on a driving lay-up by Ormerod with 45 seconds left in the opening period, but the Cats went into the locker room at halftime trailing 25-23.
Elliott scored the first five points of the second half, including a three-point play to put the Wildcats in front 28-25. BGSU's Liz Honneger, however, responded by scoring the next seven points of the game to give the Falcons a 32-28 lead with 17:43 remaining. Ormerod then hit back-to-back three-pointers with the last coming at the 16:49 mark to tie the score at 34. Eleia Roddy (Columbus, Ohio) followed with a jumper to put the Cats back in front 36-34 with 16:05 left and the two teams would battle for the remainder of the game.
Mann led Bowling Green with 24 points and nine rebounds.
Kentucky returns to Southeastern Conference action on Sunday when it plays host to South Carolina. Tip off in Memorial Coliseum is set for 1 p.m. EST and the game will be broadcast live by the Big Blue Sports Network (radio and television).
Single-game tickets are available in the ticket office in Memorial Coliseum. 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 based on availability. For ticket information, log on to ukathletics.com or call the UK ticket office at 859-257-1818 or 1-800-928-CATS (2287).