By EVAN CRANE, UK Athletics
Kentucky added two players to its women’s basketball roster Wednesday who already know plenty about Southeastern Conference play.
Robyn Benton, who was an All-Southeastern Conference Freshman Team performer at Auburn before averaging double-digit points per game as a sophomore, has signed and will have to sit out the 2020-21 season due to NCAA transfer rules.
Guard Jazmine Massengill played in 53 games in two years at Tennessee and was second on the team in assists last season with 128. She also opted to transfer to UK and will have to sit out the 2020-21 season due to NCAA transfer rules.
Coach Matthew Mitchell is delighted to have both players.
“Robyn is a fantastic player that really is going to fit in perfectly here at Kentucky,” Mitchell said. “When you look at her production the last two seasons, she has shown an ability to score at a high level and has some defensive intangibles that you cannot teach averaging nearly two steals per game. Most of all, she comes from a fantastic family and is a terrific person away from basketball and we are overjoyed to welcome her to Big Blue Nation.”
Same with Massengill.
“We spent a lot of time with Jazmine and her family during her initial recruiting process and are grateful they let us rekindle our relationship this time around and can now welcome her into Big Blue Nation,” Mitchell said. “Jazmine is an electric guard that uses her size and strength to really make a difference on both ends of the court. Off the court, her personality can light up a room and I am so excited she is a Wildcat and brings that energy to our program.”
The guard was a star high school player at Hamilton Heights Christian Academy in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where she played for Keisha Hunt, who is the mother of UK signee Treasure Hunt, who also played at Hamilton Heights. Massengill averaged 11.9 points, 6.7 assists, 5.4 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game as a senior while she put up 10 points, 7.1 assists, 6.1 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game as a junior. Both years, she helped HHCA to the NACA Division I Championship.
Massengill brings a wealth of Southeastern Conference experience to Lexington after spending the last two seasons at Tennessee, where she was a key reserve her freshman season and a starter her sophomore season. The 6-foot guard averaged 6.5 points per game, 4.7 rebounds per game and 4.1 assists per game last season, hitting 40 percent from the field and tripled her output from long range after hitting only a handful of 3s as a freshman. Massengill finished second on the team with 128 assists while adding 23 blocks and 27 steals. The guard can share the ball with the best in the nation, notching an assist in every game but one last season including four or more assists in 14 games. In fact, Massengill dished out 10 or more assists twice last season, including a career-best 12 against Missouri.
The guard’s all-around ability showed triple- or quadruple-double potential last season as she performed well against some of the best competition. Against UCONN, she earned 11 points and led the Lady Vols with five assists and three steals, while she had nine points, six assists, four rebounds and two steals against Texas A&M. Massengill recorded a career-high 13 rebounds against Notre Dame adding nine assists, five points and four blocks.
As a freshman, Massengill saw action in 32 games and averaged 3.4 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. The guard was huge off the bench as a rookie, leading all reserves with 42 assists while she tied for the fewest turnovers on the team with just 30. Her best game as a freshman was at LSU, scoring 12 points and going 6-of-6 from the free-throw line in the final two minutes of the game to seal the win. She also scored 10 points and earned eight assists against Murray State while she led the team in rebounding, blocks and steals at East Tennessee State.
Massengill entered college as the No. 11 overall player in the 2018 class according to Prospectsnation.com while she was the No. 25 overall player by ESPN.com. The 2018 McDonald’s All-American and Jordan Brand Classic participant also was tabbed NACA Sports First-Team All-America as a senior and was Naismith All-America Honorable Mention as a junior. The guard showed her ability to take over games in the prestigious Jordan Brand Classic scoring the last four points, including the game-winning put-back with less than a second remaining for the Away Team.
Benton played 52 career games at Auburn the last two seasons, earning All-SEC Freshman Team honors in 2018-19. As a rookie, she played in 32 games and averaged 5.8 points per game while going 35-of-94 from long range and 24-of-34 from the free-throw line with 34 steals. A key moment during her freshman season was making the game-winning shot and free throw with 8.6 seconds left against Vanderbilt, earning her SEC Freshman of the Week honors. In her collegiate debut, she scored 16 points and hit three 3s against Grambling State while she had 14 points and was 4-of-5 from 3 against Oklahoma and went a perfect 5-of-5 from long range against Elon.
Last season, Benton upped her numbers even though she missed the first nine games of the season due to injury. The guard played in 20 games with 14 starts averaging 10.1 points per game with 27 3-pointers, 56 steals and 28 assists. Her best game came vs. Missouri where she posted a career-high 23 points hitting three 3s with four steals and went a perfect 6-of-6 from the free-throw line. Benton also scored 15 points at South Carolina, hitting two 3s with two steals, while she had 17 points against Ole Miss with three treys. In all, Benton scored 10 or more points in 11 games and hit at least one 3-pointer in 16 of her 20 games played.