By David Dawson
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Christa Reed didn't let a busted lip prevent her from making the two biggest shots of the game -- and the two biggest shots of Vanderbilt's season -- on Thursday night.
The sophomore, who leads the SEC in 3-point percentage, knocked down two 3-pointers in the final 90 seconds, including the go-ahead shot with 1:26 to play, to help send Vanderbilt to a 71-69 upset of No. 12-ranked Kentucky in Lexington.
The Commodores (15-5, 4-3) secured the victory when Marqu'es Webb blocked a potential game-tying shot by Kentucky's Janee Thompson with two seconds left.
It was the fourth win in the past five games for Vanderbilt, and was the Commodores' first road win over a ranked opponent since Dec. 16, 2012, when they won at Oklahoma. Thursday's victory -- which featured 11 lead changes and six ties -- also enabled Vanderbilt to end a nine-game losing streak against Kentucky (15-4, 4-4).
Reed scored all of her team-high 19 points in the second half and finished 5-of-9 from 3-point range, and Rebekah Dahlman added 18 points despite being sidelined by foul trouble for much of the second half.
Reed sustained a busted lip -- and had a tooth knocked loose -- when she took an elbow to the face in the second half. She had to leave the game briefly, but returned in time to hit the pivotal 3-pointers down the stretch.
"Her toughness tonight was terrific," said Vanderbilt head coach Melanie Balcomb. "She's the one we want shooting the ball in those situations."
Rachel Bell had 15 points for the Commodores, and Webb pulled down 11 rebounds for her third consecutive double-digit rebounding effort. Vanderbilt went 10-of-24 from 3-point range.
Kentucky star Makayla Epps went 10-of-15 from the floor and scored a game-high 25 points, but it wasn't enough for the Wildcats, who were coming off a win over Tennessee on Monday.
Vanderbilt has now matched its win total from last season, when the Commodores finished 15-16 and missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1999.
"Our players have worked very hard and I feel like this win says a lot about our growth," said Balcomb.
With Vanderbilt trailing by two points with just under 1:30 to play, Reed connected on a 3-pointer from the corner to put Vanderbilt on top. She then drilled another one with 23 seconds remaining to extend the lead to five. Reed said the go-ahead 3-pointer came out of necessity.
"The shot clock was going down, so I knew I had to get a shot up," said Reed. "My defender backed off me just a little and gave me an opening. So I took the shot."
After Vanderbilt built the 70-65 lead with 16 seconds remaining, Kentucky's Epps scored four straight points -- hitting two free throws and then converting a layup after the Wildcats stole the inbounds pass -- to cut VU's lead to 70-69 with 15 seconds remaining.
Minta Spears then made 1-of-2 free throws with 11 seconds remaining to give Vanderbilt a 71-69 edge. Kentucky had one last possession, but Webb came up with defensive gem, blocking Thompson's shot with two seconds left. Morgan Batey was fouled with two-tenths of a second to play, and missed both free throws, but UK didn't get a shot off.
Thompson finished with 14 points, and Evelyn Akhator and Alexis Jennings had 12 each.
Kentucky jumped out to a 20-12 lead at the end of the first quarter, but Vanderbilt battled back to tie the game at 34-34 at the half. The Commodores then built a seven-point lead in the third quarter before Kentucky surged back in front, 53-52, at the end of the period to set the stage for a wild fourth quarter that was capped by Reed's late heroics.
The teams finished with identical rebounding totals, with each team pulling down 22 on the defensive end and 10 on offensive glass. Vanderbilt, which came into the night ranked among the Top-10 in the country in field-goal percentage, went 25-of-57 from the floor (43.9 percent). Kentucky was 28-of-61 (45.9 percent)
Vanderbilt hosts Georgia on Sunday. .