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Rhyne Howard leads No. 21 Kentucky past No. 15 Georgia

All-American Rhyne Howard scored a season-high 30 points
All-American Rhyne Howard scored a season-high 30 points
All-American Rhyne Howard scored a season-high 30 points(UK Athletics)
Published: Jan. 6, 2022 at 10:15 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. – All-American Rhyne Howard scored a season-high 30 points as the 21st-ranked Kentucky women’s basketball team topped No. 15 Georgia 84-76 on Thursday night at Memorial Coliseum. Howard made 12 of her 20 shots from the field, including one of four from behind the arc. She made all five of her free-throw attempts and added five rebounds, three steals, and an assist.

Dre’una Edwards had 17 points and six rebounds for the Cats, while freshman Jada Walker had 15 points. The game was played in front of a nearly empty arena after UK officials advised fans to stay home because of the winter storm that hit Lexington earlier in the day.

Kentucky (8-3, 1-0 SEC) forced Georgia into 19 turnovers and turned those miscues into 20 points. The Cats also held advantages in points in the paint (48-44), fast-break points (13-10), blocks (7-4), and steals (11-8).

Georgia (12-3, 1-2) hit its first four shots from the field in the game and raced out to a 9-3 lead. However, Kentucky would answer by scoring the next eight points to lead 11-9 with 4:50 left in the first period.

The game would be tied at 11, 13, 15, and 17. Georgia took an 18-17 lead inside the last minute of the period before Jazmine Massengill hit a three with 11 seconds left in the quarter to give UK a 20-18 advantage.

Kentucky was extend the lead early in the second period on a Walker layup. However, Georgia scored the next six points to re-take the lead at 24-22. The Cats would respond with seven straight, four by Howard and three by Edwards, to lead 29-24 with 5:25 left in the first half.

After Georgia cut it to 29-26, Kentucky got a steal and score from Howard and a layup by Edwards, off a beautiful pass from Walker, to lead 33-26 with 3:03 left in the half. UK would lead 35-27, but Georgia outscored the Cats 8-4 down the stretch to cut the margin to 39-35 at the break.

The second half started with a Walker three, which gave UK a 42-35 lead. However, Georgia would score the next four to cut the UK lead to 42-39. UK would lead 47-43 when Georgia went on a 6-0 run to grab a 49-47 lead with 3:16 left in the third. From there, the game would be tied at 49, 51, and 53. Georgia would take a 57-54 lead inside the final minute of the quarter. But Kentucky would score the last four points of the period to lead 58-57 after three quarters.

Kentucky started the fourth quarter by hitting five of its first six shots from the field, including two three-point baskets. In the process, the Cats were able to extend the lead to 71-65 with 6:27 to play.

Georgia would chip away at the UK advantage and would get within a point on multiple occasions. However, the Cats would fend off every Georgia challenge, never allowing the Dogs to tie the game or take the lead.

Kentucky returns to action on Sunday, visiting South Carolina in Columbia. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. ET, and the game can be seen on ESPN.