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Rhyne Howard scores 18 in Kentucky’s 99-39 rout of Western Carolina

Rhyne Howard (Vicky Graff Photo)

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The 18th-ranked Kentucky women’s basketball team had six players in double figures as the Wildcats beat Western Carolina 99-39 on Tuesday night at Memorial Coliseum.

Freshman Rhyne Howard led the Cats with 18 points, her 11th double-figure scoring effort in 12 games this season. Sophomore Tatyana Wyatt had a season-high 16 points, while senior Maci Morris contributed 13.

Sophomore guard Jaida Roper had 12 points for the Cats, while senior Taylor Murray and junior Amanda Paschal each had 11. Kentucky placed six players in double figures for the first time since November 17, 2016 when Makenzie Cann scored 20 points to lead six UK players in double figures in a win over New Hampshire.

Kentucky (11-1) dominated nearly every statistical category in the game. The Wildcats forced 24 WCU turnovers, and scored 33 points off those miscues. Kentucky turned the ball over just 10 times and WCU only scored four points off UK turnovers. The Wildcats won the rebounding battle 41-22, outscored WCU on second-chance points 15-3, had a 40-20 advantage in points in the paint and held a 35-9 edge in bench scoring.

The game was tight for the first three minutes, with Kentucky holding a 6-5 lead. But from there, the Wildcats took control, scoring 10 points in a row and forcing the Catamounts into five turnovers in just over two and a half minutes of play.

Later in the period, Kentucky would assemble a 7-0 run, leading 27-9 before settling for a 27-11 lead at the end of the first quarter. Wyatt scored 10 points in the quarter, while Morris had seven. The Cats forced nine Catamount turnovers, turning those into 13 points in the period.

Kentucky went on another big run to start the second quarter. The Cats scored the first 17 points of the period to extend the lead to 44-11 with 5:07 left in the half. Kentucky hit 10 of its first 12 shots in the second quarter and would stretch the lead to 56-20 at the break. Morris led all scorers in the first half with 13 points, while Wyatt had 12. The Cats hit 24 of their 37 shot attempts (64.9 percent) in the first 20 minutes.

The third quarter started in a similar fashion, with Kentucky scoring the first 11 points of the period to lead 67-20. The Wildcats would outscore the Catamounts 24-7 in the period, led by seven points from Howard and six from Roper. Kentucky held Western Carolina to two of 12 shooting (16.7 percent), while forcing eight WCU turnovers.

In the fourth quarter, the teams played evenly for a while before Kentucky pulled away late. The Cats would lead by as many as 61 points before winning by 60.

Western Carolina (2-9) got 11 points and six assists from Judith Martin Ruiz.

Kentucky returns to action on Friday, hosting Murray State at Memorial Coliseum. Tipoff is set for noon ET and the game can be seen on SEC Network+.

Team Records and Series Notes

  • Kentucky moves to 11-1 on the season while Western Carolina is now 2-9.   
    • The Wildcats will return to action Friday at Noon ET vs. Murray State 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.
  • The Wildcats are in the midst of a five-game home stand. This was the second game.
  • This was the first all-time meeting between Kentucky and Western Carolina in women’s basketball.
    • UK now leads the all-time series, 1-0.
  • UK is now 809-533 all-time in program history.
    • Matthew Mitchell is in his 12th year with the Wildcats and holds a 267-118 record. Mitchell is 297-147 overall in 14 years as a head coach.
  • The Wildcats hold a 446-156 all-time record in Memorial Coliseum, including a 155-27 mark under Coach Mitchell.
  • Kentucky is ranked No. 18 in both the Associated Press Top 25 and USA Today/Coaches Top 25.


Team Notes

  • 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 10-1 this season with this starting combination.
  • The Wildcats held a 27-11 lead at the end of the first quarter thanks to shooting 60 percent from the field with 14 paint points.
    • UK forced nine first quarter turnovers and scored 13 points off those miscues.
  • Kentucky went on a 17-0 run in the second quarter, which was its second longest run of the season for the Wildcats.
    • UK’s season-best run was 19-0 against Alabama State.
    • The run put Kentucky in control of the game with a 30-point lead midway through the second quarter.
  • UK outscored Western Carolina 29-9 in the second half to take a 56-20 lead into the break.
    • UK’s 29 points in the second quarter was the second most the Wildcats have scored in a quarter this season.
    • The Wildcats shot 12-of-17 from the field in the second quarter for 70.6 percent.
    • The 56 points were the most UK has scored in a half this season. The previous high was 52 in the first half vs. Morehead State.
  • Between the end of the first half and the start of the second half, UK went on a 16-0 run. UK scored the final five points of the first half and the first 11 points of the second half.
  • Kentucky limited Western Carolina to 10 points or less in two quarters.
    • UK has limited its opponents to 10 points or less in 13 quarters this season.
  • The Wildcats shot a season-best 58.6 percent from the field.
  • UK has shot 50 percent or better from the field in consecutive games for the first time since Feb. 8, 2014 when it accomplished the feat against LSU and Missouri.
  • The Wildcats had a season-high 27 assists in the game.
  • Kentucky hit 11 3-pointers in the game.
    • UK has hit 10 or more 3s in four games this season.


Player Notes

  • Senior guard Maci Morris scored 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting with two 3s.
    • Morris now has 1,404 career points, which ranks 16th most in program history. She needs 29 more to tie Jodie Whitaker for 15th all-time in school history in points scored.
    • Morris has 208 career 3-pointers made which ranks second in program history. She needs 63 more 3s to tie Sara Potts for most all-time.
    • Morris has hit at least one 3-pointer in 25 straight games.
  • Senior guard Taylor Murray had an incredible stat line with 11 points on 4-of-4 shooting with seven assists and five steals.
    • Murray now has 1,135 career points and ranks 27th all-time in points scored. She needs 10 more points to tie Karen Mosley for 26th all-time.
    • Murray has 380 career assists which ranks ninth most in program history. She needs 20 more to tie Rita Adams for eighth.  
    • Murray has led UK in assists seven times this season and 49 times in her career.
  • Freshman guard Rhyne Howard led Kentucky with 18 points adding eight rebounds and three assists.
    • Howard has scored in double figures in every game but one this season.
    • Howard has led Kentucky in scoring six times this season.
  • Sophomore forward Tatyana Wyatt scored 10 points in the first quarter, securing her first double-figure scoring game of the season.
    • Wyatt ended the game with a season-best 16 points on 8-of-10 shooting with six rebounds.
  • Freshman guard Jaida Roper had 12 points with seven assists and hit two 3s.
    • Her seven assists were a career high.
    • Roper has scored 10 or more points four times this season.

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