Rice’s double-double leads UK past Marshall


Kentucky senior center Alyssa Rice guards the ball during the game against Marshall University on Sunday, November 26, 2017 in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Connor Woods | Staff

Fueled by a big run in the second quarter and a big game from Alyssa Rice, the No. 22 UK women’s basketball team was able to defeat the Marshall Thundering Herd 69-39 on Sunday afternoon. 

The win makes Kentucky 6-0 for the ninth time in program history and the fifth time under head coach Matthew Mitchell.

The game had undergone four lead changes until the Cats used a 20-0 run in the second quarter to open up an 18-point gap over Marshall. Before the run, Marshall led by two and shot the ball 67 percent in the first quarter. 

Maci Morris, Makenzie Cann and Rice accounted for 16 of the 20 points during the run. Rice had the biggest game of her career on Sunday, scoring 19 points while grabbing 10 rebounds.

Both of Rice’s point and rebound totals were career highs, and this was the first time in Rice’s career at UK that she recorded a double-double.

“Rebounding was really a big emphasis of this game because we knew they’re a strong, rebounding team, so that was just something I put into the forefront of my mind,” Rice said. “My teammates did a great job of finding me and I just tried to score off rebounds as well.”

After Rice secured her double-double with 6:48 remaining in the third quarter, Marshall would trim UK’s lead to 13 with an 8-4 run. However, that would be as close as Marshall came to Kentucky’s lead, as junior guard Taylor Murray ended the third quarter on an 8-2 run, and Kentucky maintained a lead of at least 20 points for the remainder of the game.

The Cats were able to build their lead to 30 by picking up the intensity on defense.

Marshall made six of their nine shots in the first quarter, but would finish 8-38.

Marshall also missed all 13 of their shots in the final quarter. The Thundering Herd scored three points in the fourth quarter, all of which came from the free throw line.

“We really talked and tried to make sure that we sharpened up our ball-screen defense, and that helped up tremendously in the second quarter,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell also said he had a long time to deliver that message to his team before the second quarter because of the big break in between quarters. 

“Thank goodness the timeouts are real long, the timeouts are very long,” Mitchell said. “You can get a whole lot of coaching done between the quarters.”

The Cats’ next contest will be on the road against No. 8 Baylor. Kentucky last played Baylor in November of 2014, when the Cats defeated the Bears by 10 inside Rupp Arena.

Tipoff is set for 8 p.m.