Howard dominates as No. 16 Kentucky defeats West Virginia 83-60


Kentucky Wildcats guard Rhyne Howard (10) shoots the ball during the UK vs. Presbyterian College women’s basketball game on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 81-53. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Cole Parke

No. 16 Kentucky women’s basketball defeated West Virginia 83-60 in Memorial Coliseum on Wednesday behind 27 points from senior guard Rhyne Howard.

“Not to be cocky or anything, but I can do that,” Howard said after the win. “Day in and day out. That’s a normal night for me.”

Howard’s 27 points led the Cats in scoring, while she also recorded seven rebounds, four assists, and three steals, all whilst shooting 50 percent from the field and 71 percent from beyond the arch.

Despite the strong box score, Howard was not the only Wildcat to shine in the win, as Dre’una Edwards recorded a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds. 

Freshman Jada Walker also cracked double digit points, with 13 of her own in her 25 minutes played.

Kentucky entered the matchup off the cusp of their 22-point win against La Salle in Lexington. The Cats erupted in the fourth quarter, out-scoring the Explorers 18-4 en route to victory.

Though the final score featured a large victory for Kentucky, the first quarter was a closely fought battle won by West Virginia. Only three Wildcats recorded a field goal in the period, with Howard scoring half of Kentucky’s 16 points.

“West Virginia is a very good team,” Kentucky head coach Kyra Elzy said. “They’re going to win a lot of ball games. They play hard and with a lot of intensity, but I think we were able to match that today.”

The second quarter remained close until the midway point, when Kentucky was able to go on a 6-0 run to put them ahead by seven points. The deficit would prove to be one that the Mountaineers would never overcome, as UK never surrendered the lead going forward.

Kentucky entered halftime ahead by nine points, with Howard and Edwards both cracking double digits in the first half, scoring 12 and 11 respectively. Despite coming up short in the first quarter, UK won the second quarter 24-14, their biggest single quarter win of the night.

Howard continued to show out in the third quarter, scoring another 10 points while the rest of the team combined for  12. Howard made all three of her shot attempts, including one from deep, while also making three of her four free throws. 

“I was open and my teammates found me,” Howard said. “They had confidence in me to feed me and I didn’t want to let them down.”

The senior guard started the fourth quarter on the bench before checking back in around the eight minute mark. Howard would add five points to her total, while  going perfect from the stripe and connecting on her lone three-point attempt.

West Virginia out-scored the Cats after Howard’s departure for the final few moments of the game, but the deficit would prove to be too much to handle as Kentucky dribbled out the clock, putting the cap on their 23-point victory over a formerly ranked opponent.

Kentucky returns to action this Sunday, Dec. 5, to battle the Merrimack Warriors inside Memorial Coliseum. That game is scheduled to tip-off at 2 p.m. and will air on the SEC Network+.