LEXINGTON – Sophomore Rhyne Howard scored 24 points and junior KeKe McKinney had her first career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds as the 13th-ranked Kentucky women’s basketball team beat Stetson 67-48 on Wednesday night at Memorial Coliseum.
The Cats got nine points and 10 rebounds from Tatyana Wyatt, while Blair Green and Sabrina Haines each had eight.
Kentucky (3-0) shot 26 of 74 (35.1 percent) from the floor in the game, while Stetson connected on 19 of 52 (36.5 percent) of its shots. Both teams struggled from behind the arc, with UK hitting just four of 20, while Stetson made just four of 17. Kentucky forced 24 Stetson turnovers, and scored 24 points off those miscues. The Cats also had a 22-11 advantage in second-chance points.
Kentucky got off to a quick start behind Howard, who scored seven early points to stake the Cats to an 8-0 lead. Stetson would score the next two baskets to cut the lead in half, 8-4, with 4:40 left in the first period. But Howard had the answer, scoring five straight points to extend the UK lead to 13-4 with 2:14 remaining in the quarter. The Hatters would score the final four points of the period, and UK held a 13-8 advantage after 10 minutes of action.
The Cats came out strong in the second period, posting a 12-2 run to take a 25-10 lead with 5:43 to play in the half. But as they did in the first quarter, Stetson responded, scoring five in a row to cut the lead to 25-15 with 3:54 left in the half. Kentucky would outscore Stetson 7-5 over the last 2:21 of the half to lead 32-20 at the break.
Howard led all scorers with 18 points in the first half. Wyatt had six points and eight rebounds at the break. Stetson was led by Maddie Novak, who had eight points in the first half. Kentucky hit 13 of 37 (35.1 percent) from the field in the first half, while Stetson made nine of 32 (28.1 percent) in the first 20 minutes. The Cats had 12 offensive rebounds, which led to 17 second chance points in the first half.
The second half started in much the same fashion, as Kentucky assembled an 8-2 run to start the third period to extend the lead to 40-22. Wyatt had a layup and free throw to start the half and Sabrina Haines connected on a three-pointer during the run. Kentucky would lead by as many as 19 during the third quarter, including at the end, as the Cats went to the fourth leading 49-30. Blair Green led the Cats with four points in the third period.
In the fourth period, Stetson would not go away quietly. The Hatters started the quarter on a 7-2 run, the first five of which were on free throws, to cut the UK lead to 51-37. Stetson would get within 12, at 53-41, before Kentucky scored five straight points to lead 58-41 with 4:45 to play. The Cats would eventually lead by as many as 20 before winning by 19.
Stetson (1-1) got 10 points apiece from Kimia Carter and Kennedi Colclough.
Kentucky hits the road on Saturday, facing Virginia in Charlottesville. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m. and the game can be seen on ACC Network Plus and heard on SEC Network Plus.