Women's Basketball
Howard, Haines Lead No. 11 Kentucky Past No. 12 Texas A&M

Howard, Haines Lead No. 11 Kentucky Past No. 12 Texas A&M

by Emily Fields

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Rhyne Howard scored 24 points as the 11th-ranked Kentucky women’s basketball team topped No. 12 Texas A&M 76-54 on Thursday night at Memorial Coliseum.

The game was the seventh straight in which Howard has scored at least 20 points. The last UK player to accomplish that feat was Maci Morris, who did so in seven straight contests from February 8 through March 1, 2018.

Howard made nine of 19 from the field, including three of 10 from behind the arc. The sophomore was three of four at the line and tied her season high with 11 rebounds in the game.

Kentucky (15-2, 4-1 SEC) got 15 points from Sabrina Haines and 13 from Blair Green, who tied her career high in the game. The Cats got a big night from the bench, outscoring A&M 17-2 in bench points. Kentucky forced just 14 turnovers, but scored 23 points off those A&M miscues.

The game was tied 2-2 early before Howard scored on a jumper and one, giving the Cats a 5-2 lead. But the Aggies answered in the same fashion as Ciera Johnson made a layup and a free throw to tie the game at five apiece.

Kentucky then got four consecutive points from Sabrina Haines, on a basket and two free throws, to lead 9-5 with 5:21 left in the first. However, Kentucky would go cold at that point and A&M would take an 11-9 lead. In fact, the Cats would not score for nearly five minutes, until Jaida Roper hit a three with 29 seconds left in the period. But the Aggies got a layup from N’dea Jones with 16 seconds to play in the period and A&M would lead 13-12 after 10 minutes of play.

In the second period, Kentucky scored five in a row to grab a 17-13 advantage. After a pair of free throws by A&M’s Jones, the Cats would score five consecutive points, including a three from Blair Green, to extend the lead to 22-15 and force an A&M timeout.

Out of the timeout, A&M’s Kayla Wells hit a three, but was answered by UK’s Haines, making the score 25-21. Wells would hit another three, and UK again had a response, this time from Green, to give the Cats a 28-21 advantage with 3:09 left in the half. The Cats would get a three from Chasity Patterson and a layup by Nae Nae Cole to close the first half, and UK took a 33-21 lead into the break. Green and Howard each had eight points in the first half for the Cats.

In the third period, both teams came out hot, with A&M making three of its first four shots, while Kentucky hit four of its first six. Kentucky led 41-29 after the early exchange that included a pair of baskets from Howard. A&M would chip into the lead, getting within nine on three occasions, but each time, the Cats had an answer. Kentucky would lead 49-40 after three periods of play.

Kentucky scored the first five points of the fourth period to lead 54-40. But A&M fought back, scoring four in a row to make it 54-44 with 8:12 to go. But a 20-6 run in the fourth blew the game open. The Cats would eventually lead by as many as 24 before claiming the 22-point victory.

Texas A&M (14-3, 2-2) played without All-SEC performer Chennedy Carter, who missed the game due to an injured ankle. Wells and Williams each had 18 points for the Aggies.

Kentucky returns to action on Sunday, visiting Baton Rouge to take on LSU. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. ET and the game can be seen on the SEC Network.


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