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Memorial Coliseum – Lexington, KY
November 26, 2019
The 6 – 0 Wildcats are crushing their opening games. Like stomping on empty soda cans, the UK Women are flattening their opponents, one at a time. Right now, it’s a six pack of flattened opponents and unfortunately for the (1 – 5) Grambling State Tigers, they completed that set when the Wildcats destroyed the Tigers 81 – 35.
This Wildcat win finished the second game of a seven-game home stand of non-conference games, culminating in a December 15 face-off with the University of Louisville Cardinals. After a quick trip to California, the Cats will begin 2020 with their first conference game at South Carolina on January 2.
To kick off the game, though, Kentucky’s Rhyne Howard was presented with a personalized plaque commemorating the 2019 USA Basketball Women’s U19 National Team. USA Basketball recognized Howard’s contributions from the July 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup in Bangkok, Thailand. Howard’s team-high average of 13.1 points and 5.1 rebounds per game helped push USA Basketball to a 7 – 0 record and a gold medal. In addition, Howard was one of five athletes in the tournament to be named to the all-tournament team.
Starting off with their typical slow to warm approach, Kentucky and Grambling State stayed close during the opening minutes of the first period, trading buckets. That defensive hustle that has come to define the Wildcats’ lethality gradually peeked out, causing 14 Tiger turnovers that resulted in 9 points on the scoreboard. The Cats started pulling away for good toward the end of the first period, by the time the second period ended, the Tigers were in the rear view mirror.
Rhyne Howard led the Cats in the first half, distributing her scoring across field goals (5-8), 3-pointers (3-5) and free throws (3-4), ultimately scoring 16 points. But the Wildcat bench also showed its strength, putting 13 points on the board. The Tigers’ offensive struggle resulted in a 29.2% field goal percentage, unable to score a single three-point shot. The Cats started pulling away as the clock ticked down, shooting 53.8% in the first period and finishing with a comfortable first period lead: 42 – 17.
The second half rolled along like a replay of the first, but on steroids. Howard dumped in another 11 points, Blair Green added another 9 points for the Cats, the team shooting 45.2% as a whole. The bench again rounded out the offensive attack by contributing 16 points for the team. That defensive energy resulted in 11 Tiger turnovers and the Cats converted those into 11 points on the board.
By the time the horn sounded Tuesday night, Rhyne Howard had chalked up 27 points, Blair Green’s slice of the scoring pie was 12, followed by Jaida Roper’s 10-point and KeKe McKinney’s 9-point slices.
Up next for the Wildcats: Austin Peay comes to Memorial Coliseum on December 1. Tip off is at 4 p.m.