Kentucky women’s basketball snagged a huge 75-64 victory over No. 10 Arkansas in their SEC opener. Led by another great performance from preseason SEC Player of the Year Rhyne Howard and a dominant defensive effort, the Cats were able to open up the SEC slate with a 1-0 record.
Howard finished with a season-high 24 points on 9/17 shooting from the field including 4/7 from the 3-point line. She also added 10 rebounds, four assists and one block to her effort.
“I definitely felt in rhythm,” Howard said after the game. “I was getting a lot of good looks coming from awesome screens set by my teammates or just creating for myself. I did feel comfortable, especially with how hard we prepared for them and how well we came together at the end.”
Arkansas’ 64 points and five three-pointers (5/21 for the game) are the lowest for their season. UK also blocked eight of the Hogs’ shots, as their great defensive intensity helped propel them to a 9-2 run to finish off the game and grant themselves victory.
“I was so proud of our team,” UK Head Coach Kyra Elzy said. “We really have practiced and challenged them with our one-on-one defense and building a wall, making people score over you and we wanted to protect the three-point line. And tonight they locked in and we did that.”
In that massive fourth quarter in which the Cats separated themselves, junior forward Blair Green scored eight of her ten points including a big late three to push UK over the top. She ended up finishing the game going 4/8 from the field and 1/3 from the 3-point line while also adding three blocks.
“And Blair, when I saw Blair open, every time, I just threw it to her, I just knew she was going to hit it,” Rhyne Howard said of Green’s big fourth quarter three-pointer. “I was cheering before she even shot it. But that’s what she does. She’s going to hit those shots when we need her to hit them.”
The Cats try to build a conference winning streak at Mississippi State on Sunday, as they take on the Bulldogs at 1 p.m.