Wildcats move to 2-0 after blowout win over Southern University


Freshman guard Rhyne Howard gets ready to gain possession of the ball after a pass during the game against Alabama State at Memorial Coliseum on Wednesday November 7, 2018 in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky defeated Alabama State 87-35. Photo by Olivia Beach | Staff

Jake Maynard

The Wildcats recorded their 800th program win after the 91-41 victory over the Southern University Jaguars in a strong team performance. Eleven Wildcats scored, eight of whom scored five or more.  

Southern scored 71 and 89 points in their first two games, holding opponents under 60 in both.

Senior Maci Morris came out with an aggression that led UK to a strong first quarter against the Jaguars. Morris tallied the first four points for the Wildcats and scored nine in the quarter. Jaida Roper had an impressive wrap-around assist to Ogechi Anyagaligbo late in the quarter to push the score further in the Cats’ favor. 

Early foul trouble benched Morris for much of the second. Thankfully for Kentucky, Rhyne Howard stepped up and scored the first four points of the quarter. She ended with 10 points in the second quarter alone. Howard made four of six perimeter shots in the first half, most of which were heavily contested.

“Really proud of her for being that aggressive. We talked to her and had a conversation with her Saturday about just the kind of mentality we wanted her to have,” Kentucky head coach Matthew Mitchell said. 

The score was 50-18 at the half, but UK wasn’t ready to let up. The Wildcats poured in 10 points in the first minute and a half of the third quarter. Howard did a little bit of everything in the third, recording four points, two rebounds and two assists.  

The fourth quarter started slow for Kentucky. The Jaguars went on a seven-point run in the first two minutes of the quarter. After scoring the first seven, Kentucky outscored Southern 24-6 for the remainder of the game. Halfway through the quarter Howard went down hard on a tripping foul but recovered in fashion. She made two straight three-pointers in the next minute.

On Wednesday, Howard scored 15 points, just the fifth most ever scored in a freshman debut game. She made history again by hitting seven three-point shots, tying the all-time record in only her second game as a Wildcat.

Taylor Murray had a big night in just about every statistic. She scored 11 points on 50 percent shooting, moving her to only 12 points off from breaking 1,000 career points. Murray also recorded seven assists, three rebounds and three steals.  

The Wildcats defense forced 29 turnovers against a team that only averages 17 and a half a game. Fifteen of these turnovers came from steals.

Kentucky will play its next game on Thursday, Nov. 15, in Rupp Arena against the Virginia Cavaliers. Tip-off is at 8:30 and the game will be televised on the SEC Network.