Women's Basketball

Cats Drop Overtime Heartbreaker to Aggies on Sunday

by Tim Letcher

LEXINGTON, Ky. – All-American Rhyne Howard had 19 points and 10 rebounds but the Kentucky women’s basketball team came up shorts, falling to Texas A&M 73-64 in overtime on Sunday at Memorial Coliseum.

The double-double was the 24th of Howard’s career, including the seventh this season. The senior from Cleveland, Tennessee, added two assists and a steal for the Cats.

Kentucky (9-10, 2-7 SEC) also got a double-double from Dre’una Edwards, who had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Sunday’s double-double was the 17th of Edwards’ college career and her sixth this year.

Jazmine Massengill added 11 points, five assists and four rebounds for Kentucky.

Both teams opened hot from the field, with Texas A&M hitting three of its first four shots, while Kentucky hit five of its first six. Kentucky would trail 8-5 before scoring seven in a row to grab a 12-8 lead.

Texas A&M (13-9, 3-7) would get a Kayla Wells basket before the Cats got a layup from Dre’una Edwards and a jumper from Jazmine Massengill to extend the lead to 16-10. The Aggies would score the next three points, but Kentucky would answer with an 10-2 run, sparked by six points from Walker, to lead 26-15 at the end of the first period.

The second quarter was a much different story. Neither team could get anything going offensively early in the period, with A&M missing its first four shots to go with two turnovers, while the Cats missed their first six shots and committed six early turnovers. Neither team would score until A&M’s Sydnee Roby hit a free throw with 6:20 left in the half. That sparked a 5-0 run from the Aggies to cut the UK lead to 26-20 with 4:50 left in the half.

Kentucky would go scoreless for 7:37, until Edwards hit a pair of free throws to make it 28-20 with 2:23 left in the half. Soon thereafter, Edwards would hit Kentucky’s first field goal, extending the lead to 30-20 and forcing an A&M timeout. The Cats would get a Treasure Hunt basket with 1:23 left in the half to take a 32-20 lead into the break.

Early in the third period, Texas A&M began the task of cutting into the UK lead. The Aggies were able to do so with an early 10-2 run, getting A&M within 34-30 with 7:43 left in the third quarter. A Kentucky timeout could not stop the run, as A&M scored five more in a row to complete a 15-2 run and to take a 35-34 lead with 5:51 left in the third period.

Kentucky would take the lead on a Massengill layup but A&M would answer with a pair of free throws to take the lead back, but Howard answered with an elbow jumper to give UK a 38-37 lead with 2:44 left in the quarter. The Aggies would take a 39-38 lead before Hunt drilled a three from the top of the key with 16 seconds left in the quarter, giving UK a 41-39 lead with 10 minutes to play.

Early in the fourth period, Howard hit a three to extend the UK lead to 44-39. But A&M would score the next six to re-take the lead, 45-44, with 6:37 left in the game. UK would take the lead back on an acrobatic shot by Hunt, but that lead lasted just seven seconds as A&M got a three from Destiny Pitts to lead 48-46.

A&M would extend the lead to 51-46 before UK got four straight points from Howard to cut the deficit to 51-50 with 3:09 to play. After A&M took a 53-50 lead, the Aggies were called for an intentional foul, giving UK two free throws and the ball. Howard hit one of two from the line, then turned the ball over on the ensuing possession, giving the Aggies possession with 1:47 to play.

Inside the final minute, A&M had possession and a two-point lead. But the Aggies were unable to score and would foul Howard on the rebound. The senior would calmly nail both free throws to tie the game at 53-53 with 53 seconds to play.

A&M’s Nixon would miss on the Aggies’ next possession and Howard rebounded and was fouled. Again, she stepped to the line and again she hit both free throws, giving the Cats a 55-53 advantage with 36.6 seconds to play.

The Aggies had an answer, as they sent the ball to the post where Roby would score to tie the game at 55-55 with 29 seconds left.

Kentucky would call timeout, then took possession in the frontcourt. But the Cats could do nothing with the possession and were forced to call another timeout with 5.2 seconds remaining. Out of the timeout, the Aggies double teamed Howard, who forced a long three at the buzzer that hit the front iron and rimmed away, sending the game to overtime.

In the extra session, the Aggies scored the first four points and put together an 11-4 run to lead 66-59 with 1:55 to play. The Aggies would extend the lead to double digits before settling for a nine-point win.

A&M’s Pitts led all scorers with 20 points.

Kentucky returns to action on Thursday, hosting top-ranked South Carolina at Memorial Coliseum. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. ET and the game can be seen on ESPN.

 

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