By LARRY VAUGHT
Rhyne Howard was the star of the game with 29 points, matching her career high, as No. 15 Kentucky ripped Charlotte 86-39 Wednesday morning at Memorial Coliseum.
It was just another in a long list of big-time outings from Howard who was 10-for-18 from the field and 7-for-8 at the foul line. She also had seven rebounds.
However, point guard Sabrina Haines showed just how valuable she could be as she had 16 points and went 3-for-4 from 3-point range. She’s now had at least one 3-pointer in every game and has three or more in three games, something coach Matthew Mitchell’s team certainly can use. It was her fifth double-figure scoring game and she also had four rebounds and three assists with no turnovers.
“She did a nice job today offensively, really had an efficient day, shot the ball great, and made some plays there,” Mitchell said. “I loved her hustle on defense. I thought she really hustled on defense and made some plays there.
“She is just doing a good job for us. Three assists and no turnovers, that’s a great stat for us. We’re really happy with how Sabrina is playing right now. She just needs to keep working hard and improve as well just like we always do.”
Her infectious personality seems to be paying off for the team, too.
“She has a lot of energy and enthusiasm. It definitely gets the team fired up, and we saw that last year when she was on the bench during her transfer year. So, she has that personality and it’s real positive for us,” the UK coach said.
Haines said she is getting more comfortable daily after sitting out last year as a transfer and being injured the year before.
“Being able to be around my teammates and build chemistry every day has really helped me a lot. They do whatever they can to put me in the best situations and I want to do whatever to put them in better situations,” she said. “I love playing here and the chemistry is getting better.
“We definitely have a lot of room for growth. It’s very early in the season, and we’re a veteran team so we know that we have to get a lot better before we get into Southeastern Conference schedule or even get to the next teams after this. It’s continuous improvement and knowing that every day we want to get better – games and everything.”