LEXINGTON, Ky. – Maci Morris scored 29 points and Rhyne Howard added 19 as the 19th-ranked Kentucky women’s basketball team defeated Rhode Island 75-52 on Thursday night at Memorial Coliseum.
Taylor Murray added 11 points for the Wildcats, who struggled a bit on offense in the first half before getting things going after the break. Kentucky had just 30 points in the game’s first 20 minutes, but scored 45 in the second half of the contest.
Kentucky went neck and neck with Rhode Island to start the game. Morris had all eight points until the five minute mark of the first period when Murray hit a jumper at the top of the key. Howard converted an old fashioned three point play to give Kentucky a 14-12 lead with two minutes left in the first quarter, and the Cats would lead 16-12 after one quarter of play after closing the period on a 6-0 run.
Starting the second period, Kentucky got the momentum going. The Wildcats opened the period with a 9-3 run to open a 25-15 lead. Rhode Island would score the next five points to cut the lead in half, but Kentucky would lead 30-22 at the break.
Morris scored within the first minute of the third period to get things going for the Wildcats. However, Rhode Island went on a 5-0 run until a basket from Murray at the eight minute mark to give Kentucky a 34-27 lead. Kentucky’s energy grew as they won a loose ball at half court with five minutes to go in the third period. The Wildcats enter the first media timeout of the period on an 11-2 run.
Jaida Roper was fouled on a three-point shot and made all three free throws to give the Wildcats a 49-29 lead with 3:47 left in the third period. With 3:00 left, the Wildcats continued to stretch the lead on a 19-2 run. Taylor Murray ended the third period with a steal and fast break layup giving the wildcats a 59-35 lead. The Wildcats scored 29 points in the third quarter, which is their most scored points in a quarter this season.
Rhode Island scored first to begin the fourth period of play, however Howard answered back with a basket in the paint. Morris hit her fourth three of the night with 6:30 left in the fourth period giving her 26 points.
Kentucky returns to action on Sunday, as the Wildcats visit Louisville at the KFC YUM! Center. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. ET and the game can be seen on ACC Network+.
Team Records and Series Notes
- Kentucky moves to 9-0 on the season while Rhode Island is now 5-3.
- The Wildcats will return to action next Sunday at 2 p.m. ET at No. 4/5 Louisville. The game will be streamed on the ACC Network Extra while Darren Headrick will have the call on radio on the UK Sports Network.
- This was the first all-time meeting between Kentucky and Rhode Island in women’s basketball.
- UK is now 807-532 all-time in program history.
- Matthew Mitchell is in his 12th year with the Wildcats and holds a 265-117 record. Mitchell is 295-146 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.
- UK has started the season with 9-0 record, which is its best start to a season since beginning the 2015-16 season 10-0.
- Kentucky used the starting combination of senior guard Taylor Murray, senior guard Maci Morris, freshman guard Rhyne Howard, sophomore forward KeKe McKinney and sophomore forward Tatyana Wyatt.
- Kentucky is now 8-0 this season with this starting combination.
- Kentucky held a 16-12 lead at the end of the first quarter thanks to ending the quarter on a 6-0 run.
- Maci Morris scored eight first-quarter points going 3-of-6 from the field with two 3s.
- UK forced URI into nine turnovers in the first quarter but scored just five points off those miscues.
- UK hit just 1 of its last 11 field goal attempts in the first quarter.
- The Wildcats scored 14 points in the second quarter to take a 30-22 lead into the break at halftime.
- UK’s 30 points were the second fewest the Wildcats have scored in the first half of a game this season. The previous was 21 against Virginia.
- Maci Morris had 15 first-half points with three 3s while Rhyne Howard had 10 points and four rebounds.
- UK shot just 31 percent from the field while Rhode Island shot 41 percent.
- The Wildcats held Rhode Island to 10 points in the second quarter, marking the 11th time this season that UK has held an opponent to 10 points or less in a quarter.
- UK opened its biggest lead of the game with a large run in third quarter of 19-2. UK began with a 9-0 run followed by a URI layup and a 10-0 UK run to grab a 20-point lead.
- Overall, UK outscored Rhode island 29-13 in the third quarter.
- The 29 points were the most that UK has scored in a quarter this season. It was one off the program record for points in the third quarter, which was 30.
- Taylor Murray led with nine points in the quarter, while Maci Morris had eight.
- Kentucky limited Rhode Island to 52 points in the game which was the Rams second lowest scoring total this season.
- UK forced Rhode Island into 30 turnovers and scored 21 points off those miscues.
- This was the third time this season that UK has forced a team into 30 or more turnovers.
- The Wildcats tied for their lowest shooting performance of the season at 33.3 percent from the field in the game.
- UK won the battle on the offensive glass, 20-7, scoring 15 second-chance points.
- UK has now had 20 or more offensive rebounds in two games this season.
- Senior guard Maci Morris scored 29 points, hitting five 3s with five rebounds and four assists.
- Morris now has 1,366 career points, which ranks 16th most in program history. She needs 67 more to tie Jodie Whitaker for 15th all-time in school history in points scored.
- Morris has 204 career 3-pointers made which ranks second in program history. She needs 67 more 3s to tie Sara Potts for most all-time.
- Morris has scored 20 or more points three times this season, including back-to-back games. For her career, Morris has scored 20 or more points 16 times.
- Morris has led Kentucky in scoring 28 times during her career.
- Senior guard Taylor Murray scored 11 points with four steals and two assists.
- Murray now has 1,094 career points and ranks 27th all-time in points scored. She needs 41 more points to tie Karen Mosley for 26th all-time.
- Murray has 366 career assists which ranks 10th most in program history. She needs 1 more to tie Tracye Davis for ninth all time.
- Murray has scored in double figures in every game this season.
- Freshman guard Rhyne Howard continued her strong start to the season with 19 points, adding seven rebounds and seven steals.
- Howard has scored in double figures in every game this season.
- Howard’s seven steals were a career high and tied the most by any UK player in a game this season.