LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Win or go home? Not quite.
For No. 3 Kentucky, a second-round game against No. 6 Oklahoma was the NCAA tournament's only opportunity for a team to win and stay home. Kentucky's 79-58 win in Memorial Coliseum means it moves on to the Sweet 16 less than a mile away at Rupp Arena.
Kentucky's Janee Thompson led all players with 16 points, while Makayla Epps added 13 points, six rebounds and four assists.
Some quick thoughts on the action in Lexington.
Turning point: With a little less than six minutes remaining in the third quarter and Kentucky maintaining a comfortable -- if not commanding -- lead, Epps took the brunt of a hard foul from Oklahoma's Gioya Carter on a layup and crashed to the court. Epps stayed in the game to make one of two free throws, then immediately went to the end of the bench, head down and clearly in pain. Even when she returned to the court a few minutes later, she held her right arm limply at her side as she moved up and down the court. Oklahoma couldn't complete the run it made during that time period, and Epps soon looked almost her old self again.
Player of the game: It could be Epps solely based on presence, even though this was far from her most commanding performance. It could be Thompson, who missed her first six shots but then played well the rest of the night. But on a night when Kentucky needed something from every player in its rotation, it got a lot more than that from Alexis Jennings. Coming off the bench, Jennings finished with 11 points, six rebounds and six blocks.
How it was won: After the teams traded points and leads in the first quarter, Kentucky hit a couple of timely 3-pointers, received good place inside from its rotation of bodies and began to beat a path to the free throw line. None of that put the Sooners on the mat, but it gave the Wildcats a lead they managed for the rest of the game. And after Oklahoma thrice cut the deficit to one possession during the midst of Epps' injury woes in the third quarter, Kentucky closed the period on a 10-2 run that included 3-pointers from Epps and Thompson.
X factor: Epps will get legend treatment for persevering through injury, but Kentucky wouldn't have been in position to win the game in the first place if not for the other homegrown starter. Freshman Maci Morris traveled the first time she touched the ball in the biggest game of her life, but it felt like she hit a 3-pointer every time she touched it thereafter. In fact, she hit four of her first five attempts from long range. At one point in the third quarter, the rest of the Wildcats were a combined 7-of-29 shooting from the field but still maintained a seven-point lead.
Stat of the game: Just like a day earlier down Interstate 64 in Louisville, the referees made full use of their whistles. Oklahoma and Kentucky were called for 43 fouls, including 23 in the first half. Unlike the game in Louisville, which was more physical and faster paced, many of the fouls in Lexington felt superfluous. Both teams were affected, but Oklahoma, in particular, essentially lost the ability to rotate players for any reason other than managing foul trouble.
What's next: The shortest Sweet 16 commute imaginable. Kentucky will be back in action this weekend at Rupp Arena, the newer, larger arena that is a relatively short walk from Memorial Coliseum. To the surprise of many outside the Pacific Northwest, it won't face No. 2 Maryland. Instead, Kelsey Plum and No. 7 Washington await after the Huskies stunned the Terrapins.