By UK ATHLETICS
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Rhyne Howard scored 17 of her 20 points in the second half as the Kentucky women’s basketball team topped Southern Indiana 80-44 on Wednesday night in an exhibition contest at Memorial Coliseum.
After being held to three points in the first 20 minutes, Howard scored 12 points in the third period and added three in the fourth for her 20-point total. Freshman Emma King made four of seven shots from behind the arc for 12 points, while senior Sabrina Haines added 11. In all, nine Wildcats scored in the game.
Kentucky hit 30 of 61 (49.2 percent) from the field, including 10 of 28 (35.7 percent) from behind the arc. Meanwhile, USI made only 14 of its 55 shots (25.5 percent), including four of 13 (30.7 percent) from long range. The Cats held a 42-32 advantage on the boards and outscored the Screaming Eagles 32-20 in bench points.
The game was tied 4-4 early before Kentucky went on a 12-0 run, sparked by a three-point play from KeKe McKinney and a three-pointer from King, to take a 16-4 lead. Southern Indiana would end the run with a pair of free throws, but Kentucky would lead 22-10 after one period. Haines led the Cats with six points in the period and McKinney had five.
Kentucky scored the first five points of the second quarter, as both teams struggled from the floor. The Cats hit two of their first eight shots in the period, while USI missed its first six shots from the field in the stanza. Kentucky would lead 27-13 before assembling a 7-0 run to extend the lead to 34-13 with 2:02 left in the half.
USI would score the next five points to cut the lead to 34-18 before King banked in a three with nine seconds left in the half, giving the Cats a 37-18 lead, one that the home team would take into the break. King led the Cats with nine points in the first half, while Haines had eight. Kentucky hit half if its field goals (15 of 30) in the first 20 minutes, while USI made just six of 28 (21.4 percent) of its shots.
After struggling in the first half, Howard caught fire in the third period. She hit three straight shots from behind the arc as the Cats turned a 19-point halftime lead into a 48-20 advantage with 7:34 left in the third period.
Kentucky would lead 50-20 before both teams went cold, with neither team hitting a field goal for more than three minutes. USI would break the drought and would go on an 11-2 run to cut the UK lead to 52-31 with 1:35 left in the third quarter. Howard would hit her fourth three-pointer of the quarter to halt the run, and the Cats would take a 55-33 advantage into the final period.
In the fourth period, Kentucky would lead by as many as 38 points, 79-41, before settling for the 36-point victory.
Kentucky begins its regular season on Tuesday, Nov. 5, as the Wildcats host Mount St. Mary’s at Memorial Coliseum. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. ET and the game can be seen on SEC Network Plus.