KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The quicker, more athletic Kentucky Wildcats ended Nebraska’s record-breaking season.
A’dia Mathies scored 21 points and fourth-seeded Kentucky roared past the top-seeded Cornhuskers 76-67 on Sunday night and into the finals of the Kansas City Regional.
The Wildcats (28-7), extending their school-record win total, opened the second half on an 11-1 run and led by as many as 19 points over the Big 12 champion Huskers, who saw an abrupt end to the most successful season in the history of their own program.
Several thousand red-clad Nebraska fans tried to help fuel a late rally by the Huskers (32-2) when Lindsey Moore’s 3-pointer cut the lead to 68-56 with 3:52 to go. But the Wildcats, picked 11th in the Southeastern Conference preseason poll, held on to make their first regional final, where they’ll meet Oklahoma.
Dominique Kelley had 22 points for Nebraska and Kelsey Griffin added 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Victoria Dunlop, the SEC player of the year, had 18 points and seven rebounds for Kentucky and Keyla Snowden had 13 points.
The Wildcats outplayed the Big 12 champs in just about every way, holding a 36-25 rebounding advantage. Each team had 16 turnovers, but many of Kentucky’s came in the final minutes when the game had been all but decided.