Women's Basketball
Howard's Record-Breaking Performance Leads Cats Past Auburn

Howard's Record-Breaking Performance Leads Cats Past Auburn

by Tim Letcher

LEXINGTON, Ky. – All-American Rhyne Howard made a school record eight three-pointers in her final home game on her way to a season-high 32 points as the Kentucky women’s basketball team thumped Auburn 90-62 on Sunday at Memorial Coliseum.

Howard started quickly, scoring 16 points in the first period and 24 in the first half. For the game, she made 11 of 20 from the field, including eight of 13 from behind the arc and two of three at the line on her way to 32 points. It was the second time this season and the ninth time in her career that Howard has scored at least 30 points.

Howard’s big game overshadowed big efforts by a couple of her teammates. Dre’una Edwards had 25 points and seven rebounds in the win, while freshman Jada Walker had 15 points and a career high nine rebounds.

Kentucky (15-11, 8-8 SEC) made 32 of 63 (50.8 percent) from the floor, including 10 of 20 (50 percent) from behind the arc in the game, which was UK’s sixth straight win. Auburn made just 21 of its 72 shots (29.2 percent), including just two of nine (22.2 percent) from long-range.

The Cats’ bench outscored Auburn’s reserves 34-10, while Kentucky also held a 15-11 advantage in fast-break points.

Kentucky started quickly, hitting its first three shots, all from long range, to take a 9-4 lead less than two minutes into the game. Howard hit the first two, followed by a corner three from Jada Walker. Auburn would score the next four points to cut the UK lead to one before Nyah Leveretter hit a pair of free throws to give Kentucky an 11-8 lead with 6:47 left in the first.

After Auburn got within one again, 11-10, Howard scored five in a row to build the lead to 16-10. An Edwards layup, on a nice pass from Jazmine Massengill, built the lead to 18-10. Auburn would cut the UK lead to six, 18-12, before Kentucky got baskets from Howard and Edwards to take a 22-12 advantage. Behind 16 points from Howard, the Cats would lead 30-15 after one period of play.

Kentucky continued to build the lead early in the second period. The Cats started the stanza on a 10-3 run, including eight in a row, to lead 40-18. Auburn would cut the lead to 19 at 43-24 before UK got a free throw from Treasure Hunt and Howard’s sixth three of the first half to build the lead back to 47-24. The Cats would lead 47-26 at the break.

Howard’s six threes in the first half set a school record for three-point baskets in a half. The senior had 24 points in the first half, while Edwards quietly had 11.

Auburn would cut into the UK lead early in the third period, getting within 51-33 before Kentucky went on an 11-0 run to increase the lead to 62-33. Howard had five points in the run, including her seventh three-pointer of the game.

The Tigers would score four of the next six points but Kentucky would pull away near the end of the third period. The Cats would go on an 11-1 run to take a 75-38 lead with 44 seconds left in the third. UK would lead 75-40 after three periods.

In the fourth quarter, Kentucky would stretch the lead to as many as 39 before settling for the 28-point victory.

Kentucky’s next game will come in the SEC Tournament, which begins on Wednesday at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. Kentucky will be the seventh seed in the event and will play at approximately 7 p.m. ET on Thursday.

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