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SEC Women’s Basketball Press Conference Quotes:

UK’s Rhyne Howard –
UK’s Kyra Elzy –

Bench Gives UK Needed Spark to Survive and Advance

Rhyne Howard scored 27 points with six rebounds and four steals

GREENVILLE, S.C. – Rhyne Howard scored 27 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out four assists as the 17th-ranked Kentucky women’s basketball team used a late rally to top Florida 73-64 on Thursday in the second round of the SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament.

Senior KeKe McKinney had 10 points, eight rebounds and two assists for the Cats, while freshman Treasure Hunt had one of her best games of the season with nine points, seven rebounds and four assists.

Kentucky (17-7) got off to a quick start in the game on a Jazmine Massengill three. The Cats would get a jumper and a three-pointer from Howard to take an 8-4 lead early in the first quarter. However, Florida would score the next six points to take a 10-8 lead with 6:07 left in the first period.

Florida would lead 12-10 before Howard scored again to tie the game with 5:28 left in the first period. From there, neither team scored for over three minutes until Kiara Smith hit a basket for the Gators, who took a 14-12 lead. Howard immediately answered with a three to give UK a 15-14 lead. But that advantage lasted just 11 seconds as Smith hit a three, giving Florida a 17-15 lead. That would be the score after one period.

Smith had 15 points for the Gators in the first quarter and Howard had 10 for the Cats.

In the second period, Florida extended its lead to 20-15 on a corner jumper from Brynn Farrell and a free throw by Nina Rickards. But the Cats got a jumper from Dre’una Edwards and a three-point play from Howard to tie the game at 20-20 with 7:14 left in the half.

Florida took a 23-20 lead before Howard scored on a layup and free throw to tie the game at 23 apiece. Then, Treasure Hunt hit a corner three to give UK a 26-23 advantage. But Rickards would score four straight for Florida, giving the Gators a 27-26 lead with 2:53 left in the half.

Kentucky responded with a 7-2 run, capped by a Chasity Patterson layup with 1:02 left in the half, giving the Cats a 33-29 lead. But Smith hit a three with 24 seconds left in the half and the Cats would take a 33-32 lead into the break. Smith led all scorers with 18 first-half points, while Howard had 16.

The Cats started the second-half scoring on a layup by Hunt, taking a 35-32 lead. But Florida scored the next four to grab a 36-35 advantage. After Howard gave UK the lead back on a layup, the Gators got five straight from Smith to lead 41-37 with 5:32 left in the third.

After Florida took a 43-39 lead, Kentucky got a layup from Hunt and another from Massengill to tie the game at 43 with 3:54 left in the third. But Smith, as she did all game long, answered, giving the Gators a 45-43 edge with 3:43 remaining in the third. Kentucky would get within one point on two occasions late in the quarter but Florida would hold a 49-46 lead after three periods.

Smith gave Florida a 50-46 lead early in the fourth quarter before Kentucky made a run. The Cats got a basket from Blair Green, a layup from KeKe McKinney and another basket from Green, to take a 52-50 advantage with 7:50 to play.

Again, Smith would answer for the Gators. She hit a pair of free throws then a layup as Florida took the lead, 54-52, with 5:49 to play. Just 13 seconds later, Massengill hit a three to give UK a 55-54 advantage.

Florida would score the next four, the final part of a 8-3 run, to lead 58-55 with 4:42 to play. But Kentucky answered again, on layups by Howard and Patterson, taking a 59-58 lead with 3:44 to play.

From there, the lead would go back and forth until McKinney drilled a three from the right side to give the Cats a 64-60 lead. Florida make it 64-62 before the Cats scored seven in a row to lead 71-62 with 1:19 remaining.

Florida’s Smith led all scorers with 36 points but she was the only Gator in double figures.

Kentucky returns to action on Friday, facing Georgia in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals at approximately 1 p.m. ET. That game can be seen on the SEC Network.




No. 17 Kentucky 73, Florida 64 – FINAL

Team Records and Series Notes

  • Kentucky is now 17-7 on the season, while Florida drops to 11-13.
    • This was the first neutral-stie game this season for the Wildcats.
  • The Wildcats are the No. 5 seed in the 2021 SEC Tournament.
    • UK is 37-41 all-time in the event.
    • UK is 4-0 in second-round games in the event.
    • Kentucky is 3-2 as the fifth seed in the event with this being the third time UK has been the fifth seed.
  • This was the 60th all-time meeting between Kentucky and Florida in women’s basketball.
    • UK leads the all-time series 34-26.
    • UK leads the series 6-3 in neutral-site games.
    • UK leads the series 7-2 in games played in the SEC Tournament.
  • Kyra Elzy is in her first season as head coach at Kentucky.
    • Elzy is now 17-7 as head coach of Kentucky. 
  • UK is now 862-555 all-time in its 47th year of varsity women’s basketball.
  • Kentucky is ranked No. 17 in the latest AP Top 25 and No. 19 in the USA Today/Coaches Top 25.
  • The Wildcats will return to action at approx. 1 p.m. ET Friday as they face fourth seeded Georgia in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament.
    • The game will be televised on SEC Network, while Darren Headrick will have the call on the UK Sports Network.


Team Notes

  • Kentucky used the starting combination of senior guard Chasity Patterson, senior forwards Tatyana Wyatt and KeKe McKinney and junior guards Rhyne Howard and Jazmine Massengill.
    • This was the fifth time this season that UK has used this starting combination, sitting 4-1.
    • Jazmine Massengill 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 10th time Edwards has been the first sub for the Wildcats.
    • Kentucky won the tip, marking the seventh time this season that UK has won the opening tip.
  • Florida led 17-15 at the end of the first quarter even though the Gators missed eight of their last 10 field goal attempts.
    • UK had all four of their first-quarter turnovers in the final five minutes of the quarter.
    • Florida went 7-of-16 from the field in the first quarter with Smith scoring 15 of the team’s 17 points.
    • UK was 6-of-15 from the field and Howard scored 10 or UK’s 15 points.
  • Kentucky led going into halftime, 33-32, after outscoring Florida 18-15 in the second half.
    • Florida had 13 offensive rebounds in the first half and led the rebounding battle 26-18.
  • UK lost its lead as Florida won the third quarter 17-13.
    • UK went 6-of-17 from the field an 0-of-4 from 3 in the quarter.
  • Kentucky outscored Florida 27-15 in the fourth quarter to earn the win.
    • UK went 11-of-14 from the field, 2-of-3 from 3 and3-of-3 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter.
    • The Wildcats outrebounded Florida 7-3 in the final 10 minutes and forced four turnovers.
    • UK assisted on six of its 11 made field goals in the fourth quarter.
  • Kentucky shot 49.2 percent from the field, going 30-of-61.
    • Florida shot 38.8 percent from the field.
    • Kentucky is 14-0 this season when its opponent shoots worse than 42% from the field.
    • Dating back to 2018-19, Kentucky has won 32 consecutive games when its opponent shoots worse than 42% from the field.
  • Florida’s 64 points scored, which is its fewest points scored in its last eight games.
    • Kentucky is now 13-0 this season when it holds its opponent to 69 points or less.
  • Kentucky had 16 assists in the game and is now 10-0 this season when it has 16 or more assists.
  • The Wildcats won the paint points 38-34 and are now 8-0 this season when it scores more points in the paint.
  • UK won the rebounding battle 38-37 and are now 11-1 this season when it outrebounds its opponent.


Player Notes

  • Junior guard Rhyne Howard scored 27 points with six rebounds, four assists and four steals.
    • Howard scored nine points in the fourth quarter with three assists and two steals, going 3-of-3 from the free-throw line.
    • Howard has scored 20 or more points in three straight games.
    • In four career SEC Tournament games, Howard is averaging 25.5 points per game, 6.7 rebounds per game, 2.5 assists per game, 2.0 steals per game.
      • 2018-19: vs. Missouri – 25 points, 6 rebounds
      • 2019-20: vs. Tennessee – 24 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, 1 block; vs. Miss. State – 26 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block
      • 2020-21: vs. Florida – 27 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals, 1 block
    • Howard has scored 1,580 career points sitting 9th in UK history in points scored. She needs 18 more to tie Pam Browning for eighth.
    • In 80 career games, Howard has …
      • Hit at least one 3 in 70 career games, including 17 games this season.
      • Scored 10+ points in 71 career games, including 19 games this season.
      • Scored 15+ points in 57 career games, including 14 games this season.
      • Scored 20+ points in 42 career games, including 11 games this season.
      • Scored 25+ points in 24 career games, including six games this season.
      • Scored 30+ points in 6 career games, including three games this season.
      • Led UK in scoring in 51 career games, including 13 games this season.
      • Led UK in assists in 27 career games, including 11 games this season.
      • Led UK in steals in 28 career games, including five games this season.
      • Led UK in blocks in 30 career games, including nine games this season.
  • Freshman guard Treasure Hunt scored nine points with seven rebounds, adding a 3, four assists and two steals.
    • The seven rebounds were a career high for Hunt.
    • Hunt has hit a 3-pointer in six games this season, including two straight, and four of the last five games played.
    • Her four assists were a career high.
    • Here two steals were a career high.
  • Senior forward KeKe McKinney scored 10 points with eight rebounds, adding two assists.
    • This was the sixth double-digit scoring game for McKinney this season.
    • This was the fourth time she has recorded eight or more rebounds in a game and the first since she had eight at Auburn on Jan. 21, 2021.
  • Junior guard Blair Green scored four points in the game, going 2-of-3 from the field with two rebounds.
    • All four of Green’s points were in the fourth quarter when UK needed a spark.
    • UK is 12-1 this season when Green scores four or more points.

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