No. 15 Kentucky downs Alabama 81-68
Robyn Benton had a season-high 15 points for the Cats
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Rhyne Howard had 16 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists as the 15th-ranked Kentucky women’s basketball team beat Alabama 81-68 on Thursday night at Rupp Arena.
Robyn Benton had a season-high 15 points for the Cats, while Dre’una Edwards and Chasity Patterson each had 10. Kentucky (12-4, 5-3 SEC) hit 30 of 57 (52.6 percent) from the floor in the game, including 10 of 18 (55.6 percent) from behind the arc. The Cats got 37 points from their bench players, compared to just 12 for the Tide. Kentucky had 11 fast-break points, while Alabama had none. Tatyana Wyatt had a season-high nine points, while Jazmine Massengill added a season-high seven points, in addition to seven assists, for Kentucky.
The game was a back-and-forth affair early in the game, There were six lead changes in the first four minutes of action. That changed when Kentucky got a three from Howard and a runner from Edwards to take an 11-7 lead. After an Alabama free throw, Howard struck again from long range, giving the Cats a 14-8 lead with 4:56 left in the first. Alabama would score the next six points to tie the game at 14 apiece. That’s when UK got a right-wing three from Treasure Hunt to take a 17-14 advantage. The Tide would get a three from Destiny Rice late in the period to tie the game at 17-17. That’s where the first quarter would end. Early in the second period, Kentucky grabbed the lead back on a three from Patterson. After an Alabama free throw cut the lead to 20-18, The Cats got consecutive layups from Wyatt – one on a drive and one-off a beautiful assist from Howard, to grab a 24-18 lead and force an Alabama timeout. Those two layups were part of a 14-2 run that gave the Cats a 34-20 lead with 4:55 left in the half, forcing another Alabama timeout. Out of this timeout, the Tide fared much better, scoring the next eight points of the game to cut the UK lead to 34-28 with 1:59 left in the half. But Kentucky, specifically Benton, closed the half by scoring five in a row, and the Cats took a 39-28 lead into the break. Alabama would score the first three points of the second half to get within single digits. The teams would then exchange free throws and three-pointers before the Cats went on an 8-1 run to lead 51-36 with 2:58 to play in the third. After Alabama got a Megan Abrams layup, Kentucky scored seven more in a row to lead 60-38. Altogether, it was a 17-3 run, one which broke the game open for the Cats. The Tide would score the final four points of the period, but Kentucky held a 60-42 advantage with 10 minutes left. Alabama opened the fourth quarter with an 8-2 run to cut the UK lead to 62-50 with 8:18 to play, forcing a Kentucky timeout. The Cats would get a pair of Howard free throws, but the Tide kept coming, with an 8-2 run that cut the UK lead to 66-58 with 4:48 to play. Kentucky responded by scoring 11 of the next 16 points to establish a 78-63 lead and to put the game away.
Kentucky returns to action on Sunday, hosting Missouri at Memorial Coliseum. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. ET, and the game can be seen on the SEC Network.