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Balanced Scoring Effort Leads No. 12 Kentucky Past Vanderbilt
POSTGAME NEWS CONFERENCE RECORDINGS
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Junior Blair Green scored a career-high 22 points as the 12th-ranked Kentucky women’s basketball team held off Vanderbilt 80-73 on Sunday at Memorial Coliseum.
Kentucky (10-3, 3-2 SEC) was without five players in the game, including All-American Rhyne Howard, who missed the game with an ankle injury.
Green, the Harlan County (Ky.) native, hit seven of 10 from the field, including four of five from behind the arc, and four of six at the line for her 22 points. She added five rebounds, two steals and an assist in the game.
Kentucky had four other players in double figures in the contest. Senior Chasity Patterson had a big all-around game with 16 points, seven assists and seven rebounds. Dre’una Edwards had 16 points and eight rebounds for the Cats, while senior KeKe McKinney had 11 points. Freshman Treasure Hunt had 11 points and five rebounds for Kentucky.
Vanderbilt jumped out to an early 4-0 lead before Kentucky got on the board. The Cats responded with eight in a row, including threes from Hunt and McKinney, to grab an 8-4 advantage. After a Vanderbilt free throw, Kentucky ran off seven in a row, making it a 13-1 run, and taking a 15-5 lead with 5:24 to play in the first.
Kentucky would stretch the lead on a three from Green, taking a 20-9 lead with 4:17 left in the first. Vanderbilt would score the next three before Green struck again, her second three of the period, to extend the lead back to 23-12. The Cats would lead 23-13 after one period of play.
The Cats extended their lead early in the second quarter, scoring the first six points on a three from McKinney and a layup and free throw from Hunt, taking a 29-13 lead in the process. But Vanderbilt would answer with seven points in a row to cut the UK lead to 29-20 with 8:01 left in the period.
Kentucky would get a free throw from Hunt to stop the run, but Vanderbilt continued to chip away at the lead. Overall, the Commodores went on a 16-5 run to cut the UK lead to 34-29 with 3:49 to play in the half. The Cats got four in a row from Edwards, on a free throw and a three-pointer, to lead 38-29 with 2:47 to play in the half. But Vanderbilt closed the half on an 8-0 run to cut the UK lead to 38-37 at the break.
The Cats got the first points on the second half on a Patterson layup, but Vanderbilt would score the next four to grab the lead, 41-40, with 8:15 left in the third. Kentucky answered with a Hunt layup and a Patterson steal and basket to lead 44-41. Vandy’s Chelsie Hall would tied the game at 44 apiece before Green hit another three, giving UK a 47-44 advantage with 7:11 to play in the third.
Vanderbilt got a layup and free throw from Hall to tie the game at 47-47, then the Commodores took the lead, 49-47, on a Yaubryon Chambers layup with 6:08 left in the third. The lead would change hands again four more times before the end of the period but the Commodores scored the six in a row late and would lead 59-58 after three periods.
As the fourth quarter got underway, the lead went back and forth between the teams. Kentucky took a 60-59 advantage on a Green layup. After Vanderbilt took the lead back, McKinney nailed a three to give the Cats a 63-61 lead. Vandy would score the next four to grab a 65-63 lead before Edwards tied the game on a layup with 6:58 left in the game.
Vanderbilt then scored four in a row again, on a Hall jumper and a Koi Love basket, taking a 69-65 lead with 5:04 to play. Kentucky answered with a pair of Edwards free throws, followed by Green three-pointer to lead 70-69. Patterson followed with a driving layup, giving the Cats a 72-69 lead with 2:37 to play. An Edwards layup with 2:02 to play gave UK a 74-69 lead and closed a decisive 9-0 run.
The Commodores would get within three, 74-71, with 1:06 to play but Kentucky hit six free throws in the last minute of the game to seal the victory.
Kentucky returns to action on Thursday, visiting Auburn. The game is set to tip off at 8:30 p.m. ET and can be seen on the SEC Network.
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL POSTGAME QUOTES – NO. 12 KENTUCKY VS. VANDERBILT
SUNDAY, JANUARY 17, 2021 – MEMORIAL COLISEUM – LEXINGTON, KY.
#15 Chasity Patterson, G, Sr.
On not having Rhyne Howard today and how the team stepped up in her absence …
“Definitely was big for us. We knew we had to have other people step up in this game because we were down almost half of the team. So, coming into this game, we had to step up and the bench players had to come in and they did a great job. Credit to Treasure (Hunt), Emma (King) and all those who came up and stepped up today.”
On her play today …
“Yeah, really was proud of how we shot the ball. I got a lot of assists, so credit to Blair (Green) and Treasure, they were shooting the lights out. For me, I know the foul trouble wasn’t what I wanted but I’m glad that my teammates kind of picked me up.”
On her defense and the team’s defense …
“We love getting stops, so when we get a stop, we’re going to be excited for it. For me, personally, my defense has come a long way, it can get better. Our team defense, we’re doing a good job, we’ve just got to be more consistent and stop trading baskets. I feel like that’s something we’re going to continue to work on in practice every day. We’re going to get better at defense, effort-wise.”
On being able to get seven rebounds …
“In the huddle, Dre (Edwards) and them, they were all saying we needed to help them. I was like, I’ve got you all. I’ve got to rebound as a guard. They can’t do it all themselves. So, just trying to help out, get in there and help them out.”
On Treasure Hunt …
“Definitely was a big opportunity for Treasure. We tried to motivate her before the game because we knew she was going to get this chance. I was so proud of Treasure. She did a great job tonight. She was being aggressive. We already knew what she could do and having the opportunity to do it. It was good to see her doing what she does best. I think this is just the start of something special for her because she’s definitely a talented player.”
#5 Blair Green, G, Jr.
On her play tonight …
“I was feeling pretty hot on my shot. My teammates kept giving it to me. They believe in me and I was confident so it was a good night.”
On how important her play was without Rhyne Howard in the lineup …
“It was very important because Rhyne brings a lot of points and a lot of big plays and gets everyone open. Without her, I really need to step as well as everyone else who needs to step up and I thought everyone did their job and really stepped up to the plate.”
On dealing with peers, parents and the press …
“She definitely says lock in. We’re prepared for this. They really do a good job of working us hard in practice so just be confident in ourselves and listen to them and really dial in to what this team is about and our roles. I think we’re all doing a really great job of doing that and you could see tonight that we all stepped up and did our role.”
On what causes her the most distractions …
“I don’t think I have too many distractions. Peers, maybe, just because they’re really excited about you because they know you from high school and they are expecting that kind of stuff from you. Probably peers. My parents are just encouraging me and just telling me to lock in and dial in to what the coaches say because they really trust in them. Trying to limit my social media and stay off there.”
On hitting a huge three late in the game that gave UK the lead for good …
“We just got a steal, I think, and Chasity was running down the floor really fast, which is something the coaches have really been on her about and I thought she really stepped up tonight and really threw the ball up. And they were kind of sagging back so Chasity was kind of bringing them into the middle and I was wide open on the three in transition. So, it was a really good play. And I know the next play down, Chasity was coming back down in transition and they kind of helped over on me and she had a wide lane to the basket. So, it’s just everyone working together.”
On Emma King being back on the court …
“Definitely. Emma is here for a reason. She’s prepared. We’re always getting shots with each other before and after and even off days. We’re always in the gym getting up extra shots. So, I have the most belief in her and she really stepped up and played a good role today.”
On what the coaches told the team at halftime …
“We just definitely, we have to stop trading baskets and step up and get better on our one-on-one defense, make them have to shoot outside shots. Just limit them getting into the paint. I thought we really stepped up to that and we took pride in our one-on-one defense and got some stops.”
On Treasure Hunt …
“I thought she definitely stepped up to what Coach was wanting her to do. She came in, hit some big shots, got some big rebounds and even a couple of blocks that we really needs. I thought she hustled really well and she ran the court great. She really needed that tonight.”
Kentucky Head Coach Kyra Elzy
On message for team out of third quarter and how Treasure Hunt played …
“You know, our message was consistent all game. You know, we have to dig in. It’s going to take everybody. We cannot panic. We had to get some stops on the defensive end, one shot and out, push the ball in transition. But, the biggest message, do not panic. We have been here before, we are battle tested, we have enough players on the floor that can make plays, and that showed tonight. Treasure Hunt, I am so proud of her, she got baptized by fire. She had five rebounds, four offensive rebounds, and I think that was the fastest that I’ve seen her move in awhile, when we pitched ahead and she finished with a layup. But, I think she showed tonight how skilled she is offensively. She can score at all three levels, and her size is a factor.”
On if you’ve seen Treasure Hunt perform in practice like she did tonight …
“No, she’s been practicing well the last couple of weeks, so she has been coming. For any freshman, our freshmen in particular, they’re getting baptized by fire. So, every day they are being challenged in practice, and we just talk to them about trusting the process, and when you’re number is called you have to be ready to step up, and I thought Treasure Hunt did that today.”
On when you were made aware that you weren’t going to have four players …
“Well, we found out yesterday. So, it was an adjustment when you’re missing that many players, especially in the guard position, but we have talked all year, this is a team. We have to play together, we have to stick together, and we have to be able to make plays, we don’t just depend on one person. And tonight, people stepped up who haven’t been playing. Tonight, I am so happy for Blair Green, she really stepped up to the challenge.”
On how big Blair Green was tonight …
“Blair was huge for us. She made play after play, some big shots. That 3. But, credit to Blair. She comes in before practice. She practices extremely hard. She comes in after practice. She watches film. So, the shots that you see her hitting, she takes over and over and over, so she is very confident in the shots that she takes, and we’re very confident because she works at it every day.”
On Rhyne Howard’s injury …
“Rhyne’s injury is day-to-day.”
On if a win like this raises the team’s confidence, being down four players …
“Yeah, this was a huge win for us. We celebrated as a staff with the team, and I just keep telling them how proud I am because we went into the game saying no excuses, no excuses, we had enough to win. And that COVID, it’s a different challenge for you. Every day, we don’t know what it will bring. So, we have to be resilient, we have to be tough, and we have to stay together. We showed that we can do that. And, just the confidence of some of the players that are coming off our bench. We asked them to step up and play big minutes. That’s why we push them in practice to be ready. But, this is a huge win. We could’ve folded but we didn’t.”
On what she was telling the team in huddles late in the game …
“I didn’t realize I was animated. We were just trying to bring the energy in the huddle. As a leader, I was trying to continue to instill confidence in them and we were talking about in the huddle, we have been here before, we are battle-tested. We’ve been through the gauntlet in practice and in games. So do not panic. We just do what we do best and that is try to get a stop, push in transition offense and make it once possession at a time. Don’t overthink it. And our players remained very calm and they’re confident that they can make the plays that we need to make in order to win.”
On transition defense …
“I thought we took a step forward. But it’s really hard to do a complete assessment with this many players out. When we get back to a full team, then I’ll really be able to really judge where we are. But for tonight, we did enough to get the job done.”
On Emma King …
“So happy for Emma to get in. She did exactly what we needed her to do – play as hard as she could play on both ends of the court. If she was open, take open shots, keep somebody in front of her and any hustle plays, she needed to be involved in. She did just that. We went around yesterday, talking about strengths of different people and the whole team gave her a vote of confidence that she plays hard, that she buys in. And I just told her there, she’s every coach’s dream. She plays hard, she wants to get better, she watches film and she trusts the process. Happy to have her have the opportunity to play today.”
On Chasity Patterson …
“Chasity. I mean, just so proud. She was tough. She went in mainly being the only point guard. She did not let that deter her. She still played at the pace we needed her to play. She made big shots. I thought she was just solid, stayed level-headed and played big minutes for us today.”
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL POSTGAME NOTES
NO. 12 KENTUCKY VS. VANDERBILT – SUNDAY, JANUARY 17, 2021
MEMORIAL COLISEUM – LEXINGTON, KY. – No. 12 Kentucky 80, Vanderbilt 73 – FINAL
Team Records and Series Notes
- Kentucky is 10-3, 3-2 in the SEC on the year, while Vanderbilt is 4-6, 0-3 in the league.
- This was the 56th all-time meeting between Kentucky and Vanderbilt in women’s basketball.
- Vanderbilt leads the all-time series in games played, 30-26.
- Kentucky leads the all-time series in games played in Lexington, 14-11.
- Kentucky has won seven of its last eight home meetings against the Commodores.
- Kyra Elzy is in her first season as head coach at Kentucky and holds a 10-3 record.
- UK is now 855-551 all-time in its 47th year of varsity women’s basketball.
- The Wildcats are 469-160 all-time in Memorial Coliseum.
- Kentucky is 8-1 at home this season, including 2-1 in league play.
- Kentucky is ranked No. 12 in the latest AP Top 25 and No. 11 in the USA Today/Coaches Top 25.
- The Wildcats are currently scheduled to return to action Thursday, Jan. 28 at 6:30 p.m. ET vs. Alabama inside Rupp Arena. The game will be televised on SEC Network.
- Kentucky used the starting combination of senior guard Chasity Patterson, senior forward KeKe McKinney, junior guard Blair Green, freshman guard Treasure Hunt and sophomore forward Olivia Owens.
- This was the first time this season that UK has used this starting combination. UK is 1-0 with this starting combination.
- Today marked Hunt’s first career start.
- Owens scored first for Kentucky in the game – the first time this season she has been the first Wildcat to score.
- Dre’una Edwards was the first sub for Kentucky – it was the first time she has been the first sub for UK.
- Vanderbilt won the tip, marking the 10th time this season that UK has lost the opening tip.
- Kentucky was without the services of leading scorer junior guard Rhyne Howard (ankle) as well as junior guards Robyn Benton and Jazmine Massengill and senior guard Kameron Roach due to COVID protocol.
- Kentucky scored 23 first-quarter points and shot 50 percent from the field (9-of-18) with a balanced scoring attack. Six different players scored at least two points, led by Green with eight.
- Both teams combined for 20 paint points in the first quarter out of the 36 total points scored.
- UK went 4-of-7 beyond the arc, including a pair of 3s from Green.
- Vanderbilt started the game with a 4-0 lead before the Wildcats got in a scoring groove and went on a 15-5 run.
- A scoring drought plagued the Cats for 2:48 in the second quarter but they still managed a 38-37 halftime lead. The Commodores outscored UK 24-15 in the second, including an 8-0 run to end the half.
- Edwards led UK in scoring with 10 first-half points followed by Green with eight and Hunt with seven.
- UK is now 8-3, 3-2 SEC when leading at the half.
- Vanderbilt took a 41-40 lead with 7:53 to play in the third, the Commodores’ first lead since early in the first. The Wildcats’ shooting woes continued as they hit just one of their last eight shots. Vanderbilt outscored UK 22-20 in the third and held on to a 59-58 lead to start the fourth.
- UK was 8-of-17 from the field, while Vanderbilt was 7-of-15.
- It was a back-and-forth battle in the fourth quarter before Green nailed what ultimately would become the game-winning 3-pointer with 2:36 to play. Her trey gave the Cats a 70-69 lead they would not relinquish.
- Green’s 3-pointer sparked a 9-0 run and UK went on to outscore Vandy 22-14 in the fourth.
- Green and Edwards combined for 15 of UK’s 22 fourth-quarter points.
- The Wildcats hit 10 3-pointers in the game. It is the fourth time this season that Kentucky has hit double-digit 3s in a game.
- UK is now 9-1 this season when it hits more than six 3s in a game.
- For the eighth time this season, Kentucky recorded 15 or more assists in a game. The 17 assists were the third highest of the season. The Cats also had 17 assists in the wins over Wofford and Mississippi State.
- UK is now 5-1 on the season when scoring 80 or more points.
- Junior guard Blair Green led UK with a career-high 22 points on 7-of-10 shooting, including 4-of-5 from the 3-point line and 4-of-6 from the free-throw line. She also added five rebounds and two steals.
- Her previous career high was 17 points vs. Marshall on Dec. 9, 2020.
- Her four three-pointers were a career high.
- Senior guard Chasity Patterson added 16 points, along with a career-high tying seven rebounds, a career-best seven assists and a steal.
- She also had seven rebounds in the win over Indiana on Dec. 6, 2020.
- Patterson has recorded eight or more steals in three games this season. She needs one more game with eight or more to break the school record for most games in a season with eight or more steals. She is currently tied with Leslie Nichols for the program lead in that category.
- Redshirt sophomore forward Dre’Una Edwards came off the bench for 17 points. She also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds and had a game-high four blocks.
- Today marked her ninth game of the season with double-digit points.
- Her four blocks tied a career high. She also had four vs. DePaul.
- Senior forward KeKe McKinney scored 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting, including 3-of-4 from behind the arc. She also added three assists, two rebounds and a steal.
- It marked her fourth game of the season with double-digit points.
- Her three 3-pointers tied her career high.
- McKinney has 94 career blocks which ranks her ninth all-time in program history.
- She needs one more block to tie Laura Meadows for eighth at 95.
- She needs two more blocks to tie Samarie Walker for seventh at 96.
- In her first career start, freshman guard Treasure Hunt totaled 11 points, five rebounds, a career-high tying two assists and a career-best two blocks.