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Rhyne Howard Scores 25 as No. 18 Kentucky Runs Past Murray State

Rhyne Howard (Vicky Graff Photo)

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Rhyne Howard had 25 points and Jaida Roper had a career-high 15 as the 18th-ranked Kentucky women’s basketball team ran past Murray State 88-49 on Friday afternoon at Memorial Coliseum.

Senior Maci Morris had 13 points, all in the first half, while Taylor Murray had 12 points, six assists and four steals for the Wildcats. Junior Ogechi Anyagailgbo had only two points, but did pull down a season-high 10 rebounds in the game.

Kentucky (12-1) forced 27 Murray State turnovers, and converted those miscues into 25 points. The Racers only scored eight points off Kentucky’s 13 turnovers. The Wildcats also held advantages in rebounding (39-29), bench points (32-16), second-chance points (12-5) and points in the paint (34-24).

Kentucky scored the first four points of the game on a jumper by Morris and a layup from Murray. But Murray State had the answer, scoring five points in a row to lead 5-4. After the game was tied 7-7, the Wildcats took a 10-8 lead before the Racers ran off eight points in a row to lead 16-10 with 4:55 left in the first period.

Murray State (4-6) hit its first seven shots from the floor, and the Racers led 20-14 with 3:09 left in the quarter. But Kentucky would close the period on a 6-0 run and the game was tied 20-20 after 10 minutes of play. Murray State hit eight of its 12 shots from the field in the quarter, but had 10 turnovers in the game’s first 10 minutes. Kentucky hit eight of 17 from the floor and the Wildcats scored 12 points off the Racer miscues.

Early in the second period, the teams traded leads before a 6-0 Kentucky run gave the Wildcats a 30-25 advantage with 6:40 left in the half. Kentucky would score the last eight points of the period, six of which were by Morris, as a part of an 18-3 run to close the half, giving the Cats a 42-28 halftime advantage. Morris led all scorers with 13 points in the first half.

The Wildcats started the third period with another run, scoring the first nine points of the quarter to build a 51-28 lead. Later in the period, Kentucky held a 55-34 lead before assembling a 13-1 run, fueled by a pair of three-pointers from Howard, to lead 68-35. The Cats would lead 68-37 after three periods of play. After scoring just five points in the first half, Howard had 17 points in the third quarter

In the fourth quarter, Murray State cut the lead to 29 on a pair of occasions, but the Wildcats would continue to build the lead, with the final score being Kentucky’s largest lead of the contest.

Murray State got 20 points from Evelyn Adebayo.

Kentucky returns to action on Friday, hosting Sacred Heart at Memorial Coliseum. Tipoff is set for 11:30 a.m. ET and the game can be seen on SEC Network+.

Team Records and Series Notes

  • Kentucky moves to 12-1 on the season while Murray State is now 4-6.    
    • The Wildcats will break for the holidays and return to action Saturday, Dec. 29 at 11:30 a.m. ET vs. Sacred Heart 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 third game.
  • This was the 14th meeting all-time between Kentucky and Murray State in women’s basketball.
    • UK now leads the all-time series, 14-0.
  • UK is now 810-533 all-time in program history.
    • Matthew Mitchell is in his 12th year with the Wildcats and holds a 268-118 record. Mitchell is 298-147 overall in 14 years as a head coach.
  • The Wildcats hold a 447-156 all-time record in Memorial Coliseum, including a 156-27 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 11-1 this season with this starting combination.
  • Murray State started the game 7-of-7 from the field, including 3-of-3 from long range and held a 16-10 lead midway through the first quarter.
  • The Wildcats and Racers were tied 20-20 at the end of the first quarter after UK ended the stanza on a 6-0 run.
    • UK went 8-of-17 from the field for 47 percent to start the period, while MSU shot 8-of-12 for 67 percent.
  • Kentucky ended the first half on a 8-0 run as part of a 12-2 run to grab its first double-digit lead of the game at 42-28.
    • UK went 8-of-15 from the field and 3-of-5 from long range in the second quarter, while Murray State cooled off from the field going just 3-of-12 from the field in the second quarter.
    • The Racers were held scoreless for the final 2:59 of the second quarter.
    • Murray State had 18 turnovers in the first half and the Wildcats scored 18 points off those miscues.
    • The Wildcats had 12 steals and nine assists in the first half.
  • UK scored the first nine points of the second half to continue its run from the end of the first half to 17-0.
    • Rhyne Howard was a key to the run, scoring nine of UK’s first 11 points of the second half. In all, Howard had 17 of Kentucky’s 26  points in the third quarter going 6-of-9 from the field, including 3-of-5 from long range.
  • UK outscored MSU 22-8 in the second quarter and 26-9 in the third quarter. It marked the 14th and 15th time this season that UK has held an opponent to 10 points or less in a quarter.
  • Kentucky shot 50.7 percent from the field in the game and have hit 50 percent or better in three straight games.
    • It marks the first time UK has accomplished that feat since the 2013-14 season vs. Lipscomb (11/21), Middle Tennessee (11/24) and Bradley (11/27).
  • The Wildcats had 20 assists in the game, marking the fourth time this season UK has had 20 or more assists in a game.
  • UK had 15 steals in the game, marking the sixth time this season UK has had 15 or more steals in a game.
  • Kentucky hit 10 3-pointers and have hit 10 or more 3s in four games this season.
  • UK forced Murray State into 27 turnovers and scored 25 points off those miscues.
  • The Wildcats won the rebounding battle, 39-29, including 15-8 on the offensive board.


Player Notes

  • Senior guard Maci Morris scored 13 points and went 3-of-5 from long range.
    • Morris now has 1,417 career points, which ranks 16th most in program history. She needs 16 more to tie Jodie Whitaker for 15th all-time in school history in points scored.
    • Morris has 211 career 3-pointers made which ranks second in program history. She needs 60 more 3s to tie Sara Potts for most all-time.
    • Morris has hit at least one 3-pointer in 26 straight games.
  • Senior guard Taylor Murray had 12 points with six assists and three steals.
    • Murray now has 1,147 career points and ranks 26th all-time in points scored. She needs 23 more points to tie Jocelyn Mills for 25th all-time.
    • Murray has 386 career assists which ranks ninth most in program history. She needs 14 more to tie Rita Adams for eighth.  
  • Freshman guard Rhyne Howard led all scorers with 25 points, going 9-of-13 from the field and 5-of-11 form long range. She also had four rebounds and two assists.
    • Howard has scored in double figures in every game but one this season.
    • Howard has led Kentucky in scoring seven times this season.
    • Scored 17 of her game-high 25 points in third quarter.
    • This was Howard’s fifth 20-point scoring game this season.
    • Howard has hit at least one 3-pointer in every game this season but one.
  • Junior forward Ogechi Anyagaligbo recorded UK career high 10 rebounds. 
  • Freshman guard Jaida Roper scored a career high 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting with six assists. 
    • Roper has scored 10 or more points in five games this season.
    • This was the third time this season Roper has posted six or more assists

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