UK women’s basketball gets past Auburn 78-68 on the road


Senior guard Taylor Murray scans USC’s defense. University of Kentucky women’s basketball team lost to South Carolina 74-70 at Memorial Coliseum on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2018, in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Michael Clubb| Staff

Jake Maynard

The Kentucky Wildcats’ 78-68 road win over the Auburn Tigers makes for Kentucky’s second win in a row, and the Cats are now 19-5 on the season and 6-4 in conference play.

Kentucky’s three-point shooting gave them the lead early in the matchup– six of the Wildcats’ seven first quarter baskets came from beyond the arc. This shooting efficiency fueled an 11-3 run and secured a small 22-18 lead for UK to end the first quarter.

The second quarter was dominated by Kentucky as Wildcats went on a 14-point run and held the Tigers scoreless for just under two and a half minutes in the first half of the quarter. Kentucky would outscore Auburn 20-10 in the quarter to take a 42-28 lead heading into halftime.

Ten of Kentucky’s 20 second quarter points came from the Wildcats’ freshman tandem of Rhyne Howard and Blair Green. Green scored seven of her 12 points on the night in the third quarter and ended the game shooting a perfect five-of-five from the floor. Howard’s three-pointer combined with Green’s seven points matched Auburn’s 10 team points in the quarter.

After shooting an impressive 75 percent from three-point range in the first half, Kentucky cooled off substantially in the second, shooting just 25 percent from deep.

The Wildcats struggled shooting from more than just the three-point range at the start of the second half– Kentucky missed five of its first six shots in the second half. Auburn took advantage of this, going on a 6-2 run during this stretch.  

Despite Kentucky’s shooting struggles, Auburn was unable to cut the score differential to anything closer than 10 points in the quarter. The last points of the quarter came when Jaida Roper was fouled on a three-point attempt with 30 seconds left. Roper made all three, giving Kentucky a 64-48 lead going into the final quarter.

The fourth quarter saw a minor Auburn comeback that cut the Wildcats’ lead to just nine points with 4:19 left to play. Auburn would then miss their final four field goal attempts, their only remaining points coming from the free throw line.  

Howard led the Cats in both points and assists, scoring 19 points and dishing out six assists. The freshman star shot 71 percent from three-point range. On top of her offensive output, Howard stole the ball three times.  

Taylor Murray was the team’s second leading scorer with 17 and also stole the ball a team-high six times.

The Wildcats will return to the floor on Monday, February 11 at 7:00 p.m. against the Alabama Crimson Tide on their home court. The game will be available on the SEC Network.