Cats steal 15 and a road game from Alabama


Freshman guard Rhyne Howard waits for a play to be set during the game against Middle Tennessee on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018, at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky defeated the Blue Raiders 72-55. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

Jake Maynard

The Kentucky women’s basketball team extended its win streak to three games with a 68-53 win over Alabama Monday night. Rhyne Howard and Maci Morris combined for a total of 40 points.

Howard lead all scorers with 23 points on 64-percent shooting from the field and 67 percent three-point shooting. These points pushed Howard past 400 for her career, making her just the fourth player in program history to do this during her freshman year.  

Morris was the game’s second-highest scorer with 17 points. This was the 20th time this season that the star senior has scored in double figures.

Three other Wildcats scored six or more points in the game. Tatyana Wyatt scored 10 points, while both Taylor Murray and Blair Green tacked on six points for Big Blue.

Both teams started the game off cold, as the first six shots of the game were missed. With 4:24 left in the period, Kentucky got hot and went on a five-point run to take an 11-6 lead. Alabama silenced this run with a couple baskets of their own. The Wildcats would end the first quarter with a 15-13 lead.

Kentucky started the second quarter well, making six of its first eight shots. The Cats’ good shooting gave Kentucky a 14-5 run in four minutes of play, giving UK its largest lead of the game. Alabama caught fire with five-and-a-half minutes remaining in the half, scoring eight unanswered points. Kentucky went into halftime with just a three-point lead after being up by as many as 11 points.

Alabama scored the first basket of the second half, but the Wildcats responded with the largest run of the game, a 13-0 avalanche. The Wildcats’ defense was essential to this run as they held Alabama scoreless for nearly seven minutes. Kentucky rounded out the quarter with a 17-point lead, their largest of the game.

The Crimson Tide began the final quarter of play with a six-point run but would never cut the Wildcats’ lead to anything less than 11 points.  

Defense was an integral part of this Kentucky win. The Cats forced 24 Alabama turnovers, 15 of them steals, while limiting their own turnovers to just eight. These turnovers lead to 11 fast break points for the Wildcats. Howard and Murray lead the team in steals with three each while Wyatt, Morris and Keke McKinney each had a pair of steals.

Kentucky’s next game will be Sunday, Feb. 17, at Memorial Coliseum, against the Arkansas Razorbacks. The game will be available for viewing on ESPN+.