Late comeback effort falls short in Kentucky’s loss to LSU


Kentucky sophomore guard Rhyne Howard shoots a free throw during the game against Texas A&M on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020, at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 76-54. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

Eric Decker

Kentucky’s last-ditch attempt for a comeback came up unfruitful in an overall struggling performance in Baton Rouge.

The No. 11 Wildcats fell to LSU 65-59 as the two tipped off the 9th annual SEC “We Back Pat Week” to help raise awareness for The Pat Summitt Foundation. It resulted in Kentucky’s worst shooting performance of the season. By the end of the third quarter Kentucky (15-3, 4-2 SEC) was shooting a dismal 16 percent from the field.

The Cats started the game ice cold, going a combined 3-of-13 from the field to start the game, ultimately failing to reach 10 points in the quarter. LSU (14-4, 4-2 SEC) however came out strong, led by the nation’s leader in field goal efficiency in Ayana Mitchell (72.1 percent). The Tigers nearly shot 64 percent on their way to 16-9 lead after one quarter.

The second quarter was much of the same for Kentucky. The team shot 2-for-13 in the quarter for a total of seven points, ultimately going into the break down 28-16. The lack of scoring cannot solely be put on the poor shooting, as the Wildcats were out rebounded by a total of 15 in the first half.

Kentucky also failed to capitalize on 12 first half turnovers that the Tigers gave them.

The second half started for Kentucky with a Rhyne Howard three-point make with 8:39 left in the quarter, but it would be the only field goal they converted. The team went on to shoot 0-11 for the rest of the third. Kentucky went in to the fourth quarter with a 45-27 deficit. That’s when they found their shot.

The Cats scored more points in the last period than the rest of the game combined, going for 32 in a comeback effort. Rhyne Howard had 12 in the quarter to go along with her 26 total points on 7-of-22 shooting, making it her eighth consecutive game with at least 20 points scored. Kentucky cut it to as close as four with a minute left, until LSU hit enough free throws to put it out of reach. The Tigers shot 16-of-22 from the line in the final quarter.

Sabrina Haines added 11 points, while Jaida Roper pitched in 10 for the contest.

Kentucky now shifts focus to a matchup with the SEC’s last place team in Auburn on Jan. 27th. The game will be at Memorial Coliseum with a 7 p.m. tip off. SEC network will have the broadcast.