Kentucky 71, No. 5 Auburn 69
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) _ LaTonya McDole’s running one-hander in the lane with four seconds remaining gave Kentucky a 71-69 upset of No. 5 Auburn on Thursday night in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams.
Despite playing in foul trouble most of the way, McDole finished with 21 points, while Natalie Martinez had all 16 of her points in the second half for the Wildcats (9-4).
Tiffany Wait added 11 points for Kentucky.
Shana Askew led the Tigers (11-2) with 18 points, while LeCoe Willingham had 10.
Auburn had a chance for the win in the closing seconds, but Tiffany Krantz’s desperation shot from 16 feet was off the mark as the Wildcats bench rushed the floor in celebration.
Kentucky had earlier losses to No. 1 Connecticut and No. 12 Purdue.
The Wildcats trailed most of the way, but stayed within sight of the lead and then rallied in the closing minutes.
Down 67-63, Martinez hit her fourth 3-pointer of the game from the top of the key with 2:04 left. McDole then stole the ball from Auburn’s Conswella Sparrow as she brought it upcourt, going in for the layup and a 68-67 lead with 1:46 left.
After Krantz hit two free throws to give Auburn back the lead, Kentucky missed a shot, with the rebound going out of bounds to Auburn.
As Krantz brought the ball out, Erica Jackson stripped it and drove for the basket, giving Krantz no choice but to foul.
Jackson made one of two free throws with 37 seconds left to tie the game at 69.
With time running down, Auburn worked the ball underneath to Willingham, with Wait fouling to stop the easy layup. Willingham, however, missed both free throws before McDole scored the game-winner.
Kentucky lost starting center Shantia Owens to a sprained ankle with 17:09 left in the first half. Tanisha Seaton came off the bench to replace Owens and tied Laura Meadows for the team high with eight rebounds.