LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Rhyne Howard scored 25 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out a career-high six assists, but the 19th-ranked Kentucky women’s basketball team lost for the first time this season, falling to No. 5 Louisville 80-75 on Sunday at the KFC Yum! Center.
Kentucky (9-1) trailed by as many as 18 points in the game before a late rally came up just short against the highly-ranked Cardinals.
For Howard, it was the 10th straight double-figure scoring effort to start her UK career and her third double-double of the season. Senior Taylor Murray had 18 points for the Cats, while fellow senior Maci Morris added 11.
The Cats held a 32-28 advantage on the boards, and Kentucky scored 20 second-chance points, compared to just six for Louisville. But the Cards protected the ball, which was the difference in the game. Kentucky was forcing 26.9 turnovers per game, third-best in the nation, entering Sunday’s contest. But the Cards only had seven turnovers in the game, and were able to hit 56.4 percent (31-55) of their shots.
Kentucky got on the board almost immediately, with Howard hitting a layup just six seconds into the game. The game would be tied at 2-2, 4-4 and 7-7 before Louisville scored five straight to lead 12-7. But Kentucky answered, with Howard scoring the next six points to give UK a 13-12 lead with 6:17 left in the first quarter.
The game was tied twice more in the period, at 14-14 and 16-16. With U of L leading 18-16, the Cats got a three-pointer from Tatyana Wyatt to lead 19-18 with 2:53 left in the first. But the Cards would score the last six points of the period to lead 24-19 after 10 minutes.
In the second period, Kentucky was able to cut into the Louisville lead, eventually getting within two points at 26-24. The Cards extended the lead to 30-24 before Murray nailed a three-pointer to cut the lead in half, 30-27, with 4:50 left in the half. But, as they did in the first period, Louisville closed the period well, outscoring the Cats 6-2 the rest of the half to lead 36-29 at the break. Howard led Kentucky with 12 points in the first half.
Louisville (10-0) extended its lead in the third quarter, using a 13-6 run to lead 47-33. U of L would take its biggest lead, 18 points, on two occasions in the third quarter. Kentucky would get within 13 points twice, but the Cards held a 67-52 lead after three periods.
In the fourth quarter, the Cardinals extended the lead to 17 points, 71-54, before the Cats made a furious run. Kentucky scored seven in a row to cut the lead to 71-61 on a layup by KeKe McKinney with 5:45 to play. The Cats would get even closer when Murray drilled a three-pointer from the left corner to make it 73-66 with 3:43 to play.
Kentucky kept chipping away, cutting the advantage to four points on a pair of Howard free throws with 27 seconds left in the game, and again on a runner by Morris with seven seconds left. But the comeback ran out of time before the Cats could catch U of L.
Louisville All-American guard Asia Durr led all scorers with 32 points.
Kentucky returns to action on Saturday, hosting Middle Tennessee at Memorial Coliseum. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. ET and the game can be seen on SEC Network+.
Team Records and Series Notes
- Kentucky moves to 9-1 on the season while Louisville is now 10-0.
- The Wildcats will return to action next Saturday at 1 p.m. ET vs. Middle Tennessee inside Memorial Coliseum. The game will be streamed on the SEC Network+ while Darren Headrick will have the call on radio on the UK Sports Network.
- Kentucky leads the all-time series in games played against Louisville, 34-21.
- The Cardinals lead the series in games played in Louisville, 15-11.
- Louisville has won three straight matchups in the series.
- UK is now 807-533 all-time in program history.
- Matthew Mitchell is in his 12th year with the Wildcats and holds a 265-118 record. Mitchell is 295-147 overall in 14 years as a head coach.
- Kentucky is ranked No. 19 in both the Associated Press Top 25 and USA Today/Coaches Top 25. The Wildcats entered the rankings this week for the first time since December of 2017.
- Louisville is the second ranked opponent that Kentucky has faced this season with the Wildcats holding a 1-1 record.
- UK’s first win this season against a ranked foe came on Nov. 22 vs. No. 17 South Florida in the Paradise Jam.
- UK will face its next ranked foe when it travels to No. 6/6 Mississippi State on Jan. 6.
- UK is now 2-1 against ACC teams this season with wins against Virginia and North Carolina.
- Kentucky used the
starting combination of senior guard Taylor Murray, senior guard Maci
Morris, freshman guard Rhyne Howard, sophomore forward KeKe McKinney and
- Kentucky is now 7-1 this season with this starting combination.
- Both teams started
the game on fire as Kentucky hit five of its first eight shots while
Louisville hit seven of its first eight from the field.
- UofL’s Asia Durr had nine of UofL’s first 16 points while UK’s Rhyne Howard had eight of the Cats’ first 14 points.
- Durr finished the first quarter with 15 points, while Howard had 10.
- Louisville ended the first quarter with a 24-19 lead after UK went scoreless for the final 2:53 of the quarter.
- Kentucky and
UofL cooled offensively in the second quarter with the Cardinals
outscoring the Cats 12-10. UK was just 4-of-15 from the field in the
second quarter while UofL
- UK had seven turnovers in the first half while forcing UofL into only 3. Each team had six points off turnovers in the first 20 minutes.
- Louisville started the second half on a 11-4 run going 4-of-5 from the field with two 3s to open up its biggest lead of the game at 47-33 with 7:19 left in the third quarter.
Cardinals scored 31 points in the third quarter, which is the most
points scored in a quarter by an opponent against Kentucky this season.
The previous high was 25 in the
first quarter by UNC in the Paradise Jam.
- UK scored 23 in the quarter but allowed the Cardinals to shot 11-of-16 from the field.
- Kentucky scored 23 points in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Cardinals by 10.
- The Wildcats went 16-of-19 from the free throw line for 84.2 percent, while UofL shot 15-for-28 from the line for 53.6 percent.
- UofL shot 56.4 percent from the field in the game, which was the highest field-goal percentage that UK has allowed this season.
- Senior guard
Maci Morris scored 11 points in the game, hitting one 3 and adding four rebounds.
- Morris now has 1,377 career points, which ranks 16th most in program history. She needs 56 more to tie Jodie Whitaker for 15th all-time in school history in points scored.
- Morris has 205 career 3-pointers made which ranks second in program history. She needs 66 more 3s to tie Sara Potts for most all-time.
- Morris has hit at least one 3-pointer in 23 straight games.
- Senior guard
Taylor Murray scored 18 points, adding three rebounds, one assist and two steals.
- Murray now has 1,112 career points and ranks 27th all-time in points scored. She needs 33 more points to tie Karen Mosley for 26th all-time.
- Murray has 367 career assists which ties for ninth most in program history with Tracye Davis.
- Freshman guard
Rhyne Howard scored a team-best 25 points with 10 rebounds and six assists.
- Howard has scored in double figures in every game this season.
- Howard nearly had a double-double in the first half with 12 points and seven rebounds.
- She officially earned her third double-double of the season late in the game.
- Howard has scored 20 or more points in four games this season.
- Howard has hit at least one 3-pointer in every game this season.
- Howard led the team with six assists, which is the first time this season she has led UK in assists. It was a career-high in assists for Howard.
- Howard led UK in scoring for the fifth time this season.
- Sophomore forward
KeKe McKinney had eight rebounds with five rebounds, hitting one 3-pointer.
- McKinney has seven or more rebounds in five games this season.
- Sophomore forward Tatyana Wyatt scored a season-best seven points in the game, hitting a 3.