Skip to content

Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.

FINAL: Rhyne Howard’s 30 Points Leads No. 15 UK Hoops to 79-49 Victory

(UK Athletics | Britney Howard)

(UK Athletics | Britney Howard)

Matthew Mitchell’s appropriately-themed blue-and-white Christmas sweater wasn’t the only bright spot on a Sunday afternoon game in Memorial Colisuem.

The Kentucky head coach looked on from the sideline as his star sophomore Rhyne Howard popped off for a career-high of 30 points to lead the No. 15 Wildcats to a 79-49 win over the Samford Bulldogs.

Howard shot 11-19 from the field including a 5-8 mark from beyond the arc. Five of her Kentucky teammates managed to drop in at least six points with senior Sabrina Haines powering the pack, scoring 12 points of her own. Senior Amanda Paschal contributed a diverse stat line of nine points, four rebounds, and five assists with just one turnover.

Over the last few games, Kentucky has done an excellent job of starting games off with early leads. Against Samford, the offense was its usual, efficient self, but the defense produced some unprecedented hiccups along the way.

Both teams opened up the game exchanging shots from deep. UK was a perfect 3-3 from deep thanks to two triples from Howard while Samford started the game making three of its first four shots from deep – all on wide-open looks. The ‘Cats trailed early, 12-11, after another wide-open make from the Bulldogs.

Kentucky would knock down three more triples before the end of the quarter to take a 22-14 advantage after the first 10 minutes, but the defense played with an obvious lack of energy.

In the second quarter, the Wildcats defense stepped up. UK limited Samford to just six points in that frame on 2-13 shooting from the field. Shots that were once wide-open for the Bulldogs were now well-defended. Kentucky was running shooters off of the three-point line, switching in-between zone and man-to-man defenses.

Samford went the final five-plus minutes without a field goal and Kentucky rattled off a 9-0 run in the final four minutes to a take a 41-20 lead into the intermission. The ‘Cats shot 58.6 percent from the field in the first half and made six of its 12 looks from deep while holding Samford to just 28 percent shooting.

The second-half would look tight in the box score, with Kentucky outscoring Samford 38-29 and similar shooting percentages of 46.4 and 47.6, respectively.

The Wildcats would pull ahead by a score of 60-36 entering the final period before unleashing three made triples that would put the game away for good.

With a little over three minutes left in the game, Howard drilled a jump shot off of a Samford turnover that resulted in her 30th point of the afternoon.

In the postgame press conference, Howard said she was just relieved to finally break the 29-point barrier.

Sophomore Blair Green finished with nine points on 4-6 shooting to go along with four rebounds and one steal while forwards KeKe McKinney and Ogechi Anyagaligbo combined for 13 points, eight rebounds, three blocks, and three steals. Due to foul trouble, junior Tatyana Wyatt did not register a point in just 12 minutes of playing time.

Kentucky forced Samford into 18 team turnovers while committing just 10 of its own. The ‘Cats made 30 shots on 23 total assists.

Zero players from Samford recorded double-digits in scoring as Shauntai Battle led the team with nine points. The Bulldogs leading scorer, Natalie Armstrong, posted just six points and two rebounds on 3-9 shooting.

The win marks the last game Kentucky will play in Memorial until early January of 2020. The next two home games for the ‘Cats will be played in Rupp Arena when Winthrop and Louisville come to visit in the coming week. The game against Winthrop will tip-off at 7 p.m. on Dec. 11.

Article written by Zack Geoghegan

Covering all things NBA and UK Hoops. Follow me on Twitter: @ZGeogheganKSR