After Friday’s home game was postponed due to COVID-19 issues in the Morgan State program, the Kentucky women’s basketball team only had one chance to end a two-game losing streak in a row before starting the Southeastern Conference game on December 30.
Kentucky got it right on Sunday afternoon, beating northern South Carolina 67-44 inside the Memorial Coliseum.
The victory came after a disastrous offensive in the first quarter for the Wildcats, who lost a starter as senior guard Robyn Benton was out with an ankle injury. Benton is day to day with the injury.
Head coach Kyra Elzy chose to start Jada Walker over Benton, just as she did when forward Dre’una Edwards was suspended against DePaul on December 9. Walker scored 13 points in the second start of his college career.
Kentucky 67, South Carolina North 44
The star: Rhyne Howard scored 13 points in the third quarter, all during an 18-0 streak for the UK which helped decide the game. Howard finished the game with a high of 22 points.
Statistics : Walker (13), Jazmine Massengill (11) and Edwards (11 points and 12 rebounds) also scored in double digits for Kentucky.
The statute: Kentucky improved to 7-3. Northern South Carolina fell to 8-3.
1. KENTUCKY RECALLS A STREAM OF LOSSES.
The most fundamental goal in Sunday’s non-conference final against upstate South Carolina was to get Kentucky back to the winning column.
The Wildcats entered Sunday’s game after losing back-to-back games for the first time this season, at home to DePaul and at the 7th Louisville.
While not pretty – especially in the first half – against upstate South Carolina, the United Kingdom avoided the first three-game losing streak of the Elzy era and will enter the SEC play on a winning note.
The UK are now 14-4 in non-conference regular season games under Elzy.
2. UK RECEIVED VICTORY AFTER ANOTHER SLOW START.
Slow starts have become commonplace for the Kentucky women’s basketball team this season.
After a week of rest, Kentucky came out incredibly slow on offense and trailed the Spartans, 14-5, after the first quarter.
The UK only took two shots from the field in the first quarter and missed all six of their three-pointers in that frame.
“I thought we took a few quick shots offensively, didn’t have the pace and just didn’t have the intensity we needed defensively,” said Elzy. “But I thought we activated him in the second quarter and it was more the Kentucky team I was looking for.”
Kentucky did not take the lead until 2:58 left in the first half. It continued a pattern of slow offensive starts, as the Wildcats trailed after the first quarter against Presbyterian, West Virginia, DePaul, Louisville and now South Carolina Upstate so far this season.
But the Wildcats were able to correct their course in the second and third quarters en route to a victory.
The UK outscored northern South Carolina 49-16 midway through 20 minutes into Sunday’s game, with an 18-0 third quarter streak being the highlight.
“As a coach you never want to start slow. The first four minutes are very important to the game, but sometimes it happens and you have to play it, ”Elzy said. “In the second and third quarters, I thought the intensity was more what we were looking for. But we have to be better and we have to get a better start on both sides of basketball. “
Kentucky forced 27 turnovers in upstate South Carolina in Sunday’s game, and Kentucky’s 44 runs were the second lowest in the Elzy era.
3. AS RHYNE HOWARD IS PLAYING HER PRO FUTURE HAS BEEN DETERMINED.
During the Kentucky game, the WNBA hosted their lottery for the 2022 draft, which will be held in April.
Howard, a senior guard, is a candidate to be the No.1 pick.
The Washington Mystics won the draft lottery, with the Indiana Fever taking second pick, followed by the Atlanta Dream and the Dallas Wings.
The remaining order for the first round of the draft is the New York Liberty (No. 5), Chicago Sky (No. 6), Dallas (No. 7), Minnesota Lynx (No. 8), Seattle Storm (No. 9) ), Indiana (No. 10), Las Vegas Aces (No. 11) and Connecticut Sun (No. 12).
Representatives of the Fever and the Sun were waiting for to watch the Kentucky game in Louisville last weekend.
Howard came out of a mini-crunch in Sunday’s game, finishing with 22 points on an 8-for-18 shot from the field after a slow start in which she missed all five shots in the first quarter.
Kentucky had a week off after the Louisville game, and now the Wildcats will have even more rest before they start playing in the SEC. Kentucky won’t open the conference until Dec. 30 on the Auburn Highway. This will only be the third road game of the season for the UK, and the Wildcats have lost their previous two road games at the 10th Indiana and 7th Louisville. Auburn is currently 7-3 this season and has a five-game winning streak. Auburn will face Kennesaw State on Monday afternoon, then take a break before facing the United Kingdom.
# 19 Kentucky in Auburn
When: 8 p.m. Thursday, December 30
TV: None (online via SEC Plus)
This story was originally published December 19, 2021 4:05 pm.