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Green Leads No. 12 Cats Past Tigers
POSTGAME NEWS CONFERENCE RECORDINGS
AUBURN, Ala. – Junior Blair Green scored 18 points as the 12th-ranked Kentucky women’s team held off Auburn 76-71 on Thursday night at Auburn Arena.
Green, who set a new career high with 22 points on Sunday, continued her strong play on Thursday, hitting seven of nine from the field, including two of three from behind the arc, and making both of her free throws. The Harlan County (Ky.) native added three rebounds and an assist.
UK All-American Rhyne Howard had 14 points, five rebounds, four assists, two steals and a blocked shot in the game. Robyn Benton and Dre’una Edwards each had 10 points for the Cats.
Three-point shooting was critical in the game, as Kentucky made 10 of 28 (35.7 percent) from behind the arc, while Auburn made just five of 19 (26.3 percent).
Kentucky (11-3, 4-2 SEC) scored first on a right-side three from Chasity Patterson but Auburn scored the next four to take their first lead, 4-3. The Cats answered on a three from KeKe McKinney to lead 6-4. Auburn would again score four in a row to lead 8-6 before Jazmine Massengill hit a three to give UK at 9-8 lead with 5:56 left in the first period.
The lead would change hands twice more before Kentucky went on a 9-2 run to take an 18-12 lead with 2:26 left in the period. Howard was key in the run, hitting a three and assisting on a Tatyana Wyatt layup.
Kentucky would get a pair of Edwards baskets late in the first period and would lead 22-17 after 10 minutes of action. Seven Cats scored in the first period.
The Cats scored first in the second period on an Olivia Owens jumper in the paint. After Auburn made a pair of free throws, the teams would trade baskets, with the UK lead staying between four and seven. That’s until Green hit a three from the wing to give the Cats a 32-24 advantage with 4:34 left in the half.
After Auburn got a three from Jala Jordan, Kentucky would score six in a row, four of which were by Green, to lead 38-27 with 2:41 left in the half. However, Auburn would score five of the last seven points in the half and Kentucky would hold a 40-32 lead at the half. Benton and Green led UK with seven points in the first half.
As the third quarter started, Green stayed hot for the Cats, hitting a three to extend the UK lead to 43-32. Kentucky would eventually stretch the lead to as many as 14, at 52-38, on another Green basket, this one with 5:41 left in the third.
Auburn would not go away quietly. The Tigers went on a 10-2 run to cut the lead to 54-48 with 3:01 left in the third, prompting a UK timeout. That’s when Howard struck, hitting a three, then a layup to give the Cats a 59-48 lead with 1:28 left in the third quarter. UK would lead 59-50 after three periods.
Like she did in the third quarter, Green got Kentucky going in the fourth, hitting a jumper inside the paint to extend the UK lead to 61-50. Auburn would get a Unique Thompson basket before Howard drilled a three to give the Cats a 64-52 lead with 9:04 to play.
Later in the fourth, Kentucky would take a 71-60 lead on a McKinney layup with 2:43 to play. But Auburn responded with a 7-1 run to cut the UK lead to 72-67 with 1:07 to play. The Cats would hit four free throws inside the final minute to seal the win.
Kentucky returns to action on Sunday, visiting Knoxville to face Tennessee. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. ET and the game can be seen on ESPN2.
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.
NO. 12 KENTUCKY AT AUBURN – THURSDAY, JAN. 21, 2021 – AUBURN ARENA – AUBURN, ALA.
No. 12 Kentucky 76, Auburn 71 – FINAL
Team Records and Series Notes
- Kentucky is 11-3, 4-2 in the SEC on the year, while Auburn is 5-8, 0-5 in the league.
- This was the 51st all-time meeting between Kentucky and Auburn in women’s basketball.
- Auburn leads the series, 26-25, although UK has won six in a row and 16 of the last 19 meetings.
- UK has won the last three meetings in Auburn and the series is tied at 11 in games played on The Plains.
- Kyra Elzy is in her first season as head coach at Kentucky and holds an 11-3 record.
- UK is now 856-551 all-time in its 47th year of varsity women’s basketball.
- Kentucky is ranked No. 12 in the latest AP Top 25 and No. 12 in the USA Today/Coaches Top 25.
- The Wildcats are currently scheduled to return to action Sunday, Jan. 24 at 2 p.m. ET at Tennessee. The game will be televised on ESPN2.
- Kentucky used the starting combination of senior guard Chasity Patterson, senior forward KeKe McKinney, junior guard Blair Green, junior guard Rhyne Howard and sophomore forward Olivia Owens.
- This was the second time this season that UK has used this starting combination. UK is 1-1 with this starting combination.
- Patterson scored first for Kentucky in the game with a 3-pointer on UK’s first possession – the third time this season she has been the first Wildcat to score.
- Dre’una Edwards, Robyn Benton and Jazmine Massengill were the first subs for Kentucky – it was the ninth time this season that Benton has been the first sub, fourth time for Massengill, and second time for Edwards.
- Auburn won the tip, marking the 11th time this season that UK has lost the opening tip.
- Kentucky’s first three baskets were 3-pointers by Patterson, McKinney and Massengill.
- Trailing 12-11, Kentucky went on a 7-0 run and the Wildcats never trailed again.
- Taking a 22-17 lead, UK went 4-of-7 beyond the arc in the first quarter, with four different Cats making a long ball.
- With the help of a 6-0 spurt, Kentucky lengthened the lead to 11 points at 38-27 before settling for a 40-32 advantage at halftime.
- All nine Wildcats who played also scored, paced by Benton and Green with seven points each. All seven of Green’s points came in the second quarter.
- UK is now 9-3, 4-2 SEC when leading at the half.
- In the third quarter, Kentucky built a 14-point lead at 52-38 before the home squad rallied and cut the margin to nine at the end of the quarter, 59-50.
- Green made all three shots and scoring seven points in the period.
- In the fourth quarter, Kentucky led by 10 points, 72-62 with 1:54 to go.
- Auburn rallied with five straight points, pulling within 72-67, but two free throws each by Green and Howard kept the homestanders at bay.
- The Wildcats hit 10 3-pointers in the game. It is the fifth time this season, and second game in a row, that Kentucky has hit double-digit 3s in a game.
- UK is now 10-1 this season when it hits more than six 3s in a game.
- For the ninth time this season, Kentucky recorded 15 or more assists in a game. The 20 assists tied for the second-highest of the season.
- For the second straight game, junior guard Blair Green led the Wildcats in scoring. After notching a career-best 22 Sunday against Vanderbilt, she followed up with 18 points tonight.
- She made 7 of 9 from the floor, including 2 of 3 on 3-pointers, and sank two crucial foul shots when Auburn made a run in the final minute.
- After going scoreless in the first quarter, Green warmed to the task by tallying all 18 points in the final three stanzas.
- Returning to her previous school, junior guard Robyn Benton had 10 points. It is her fifth double-figure game of the year.
- Redshirt sophomore forward Dre’Una Edwards came off the bench for 10 points, making 5 of 6 shots, while nabbing five rebounds.
- Today marked her 10th game of the season with double-digit points.
- Senior forward KeKe McKinney led the Cats with eight rebounds and added five points.
- It marked her fourth game of the season with double-digit points.
- McKinney had one blocked shot and has 94 career blocks, which ranks her eighth all-time in program history.
- Returning to action after missing a game because of injury, junior guard Rhyne Howard scored 14 points, including 3 of 7 on 3-pointers, adding five rebounds, four assists and two steals.