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Content by Phyllis Millspaugh / Photo by Teresa Fraley – Sports View America ….
Rupp Arena – Lexington, KY – December 11, 2019
Making their first of two appearances this month in hallowed Rupp Arena, the (10-0) UK women handily defeated the (1-6) Winthrop University Eagles (91-36). The Wildcats will round out their Rupp run on Sunday, 12/15/19, when they face the (9-1) Louisville Cardinals in the legendary arena for a little in-state rivalry.
The first quarter took off like a shot and the Wildcats never looked back. Jaida Roper ran the first quarter with a perfect shooting average of 6/6 with 3 of those 6 buckets coming behind the 3-pt line. In total the Cats ended the first quarter with 32 points and a 73% shooting percentage from downtown. The baskets were raining down like a Niagara Falls, with the Cats pouring in the buckets, scoring eight 3-pointers. The Eagles struggled to maintain possession of the ball, turning the ball over 13 times, compared to UK’s 4. Winthrop’s sophomore guard Jah Ché Whitfield and sophomore forward Kem Nwabudu kept the Eagles in the game, sharing the scoring at four points each.
The second quarter was still a water fall of offense, but it was tempered with a little less Wildcat polish. Both the Cats and the Eagles began going deeper into their benches. The Cats’ fine defense began crossing the foul line just a bit, resulting in fewer steals and more personal fouls. But the floor continued to belong to the Cat’s Jaida Roper, who broke her career high-score record in the first quarter and by the end of the first half, she had tallied 17 points – missing exactly zero shot attempts in the first half (7-7, 3-3). UK’s Rhyne Howard was right behind Roper, having her own mini-waterfall of 12 points in the first half. The Eagles continued to struggle with turnovers, totaling 23 turnovers by the end of the first half, and the Cats were able to score 29 points off of those defensive efforts. Offensively, the Cats were clicking, shooting 51.3% from the field 68.8%. The Cats ran to the locker room up 54-18 at the half.
The second half was déjà vu all over again with the Cats steamrolling the Eagles with impressive shooting from the (54.2%) field and from behind the arc (28.6%). When the buzzer sounded, the Cats won 91-36. Forcing another 12 turnovers from the Eagles and turning those into 17 of the 37 second half points, UK was an offensive scoring force. It was a career-breaking night for senior guard Jaida Roper, who put 30 points on the board and created a new personal high-score record. But the scoring extravaganza was spread about, with five other Cats scoring in double digits: sophomore guard Blair Green scoring 13, redshirt senior guard Sabrina Haines 11 and Junior forward Tatyana Wyatt 10. Sophomore guard Rhyne Howard scored 12 points – all in the first half, as she did not play in the second half.
The Eagle’s high scorers were Kem Nwabudu with 9, Jah Ché Whitfield with 8 and Destinee Jamison-Whitfield also with 8.