Kentucky womens basketball defeats Missouri 78-63; earns fifth straight victory


Kentucky celebrates after the UK vs. Vanderbilt womens basketball game on Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022, at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 69-65. Photo by Isabel McSwain | Staff

Cole Parke

Kentucky womens basketball (14-11) defeated Missouri (17-11) 78-63 in its final road game of the regular season on Thursday, extending its win-streak to five games.

Kentucky’s win came in big part thanks to junior forward Dre’una Edwards, who finished the game with a career-high 30 points and 10 rebounds, securing her ninth double-double of the season.

“It means a lot to be able to help my team,” Edwards said. “It’s boosted my confidence. I definitely feel like I owe [my teammates] [for being suspended]. They held me down, and now it’s time for me to hold them down. I think I’ve been doing that and we’ve just been there for each other all the way.”

Another Wildcat with a strong showing in the win was star guard Rhyne Howard, who finished the game with 19 points and 12 rebounds, including nine points in the first quarter alone.

Howard, now with 2,153 career points, currently sits second on the list of all time Kentucky leading scorers including both the mens and womens team, passing Dan Issel on Thursday.

“Congratulations to Rhyne, she continues to add the accolades,” Kentucky head coach Kyra Elzy said. “Her career at Kentucky speaks for itself. She’s worked really hard, she’s a phenomenal player. Everything that she’s achieving she has worked for and I’m happy for her.”

With the win over Missouri, Kentucky boasts a five-game win-streak since going 2-8 in 2022.

The win over the Tigers was an important one for the Cats, with Missouri projected by some bracketologists as a ‘lock’ for the NCAA Tournament despite its struggles, something Kentucky can’t also say for itself.

“We talked about it as a team,” Elzy said in reference to UK’s tournament push. “Our focus is our team and what we need to achieve the goals that we’ve set for ourselves. This is our team, we know the goals we’ve set for ourselves, and our focus is to keep our eyes on the prize and we have to do that one game at a time.”

Recent projections have the Wildcats in the ‘next four out’ category, making them one of the eight teams closest to the field without an actual spot entering the game on Thursday.

Since its record-setting fourth quarter comeback to beat Mississippi State on Feb. 15, Kentucky has played every game with a vengeance, determined to prove why it belongs in the tournament.

The win over Missouri was no different, with UK quickly jumping ahead 21-6 in the first quarter.

“Our goal is to set the tone early,” Elzy said. “We talked about that before the game – be aggressive in transition and I was proud of our start.”

Though the Tigers were able to close the gap and enter the fourth quarter down just one point, Kentucky pulled away late thanks to Edwards, who had 12 points in the quarter, ultimately winning by 15 points, out-scoring Missouri 21-7 in the final period.

“Missouri made a run,” Elzy said. “Today it was a game of fronts. They’re a tough team and we expected them to, but we stayed the course and got it done. [This team has] toughness, resilience, and the ability to play together through the good and the bad.”

Looking to maintain its win streak heading into the SEC Tournament, Kentucky has just one game remaining on its regular season schedule.

Heading back to Memorial Coliseum for Senior Night in Lexington, Kentucky hosts the Auburn Tigers this Sunday, Feb. 27. That game is currently scheduled to tip-off at 4 p.m. EST, airing on the SEC Network.