Dre’Una Edwards only saw the court for six minutes in her Kentucky debut on Wednesday. Foul trouble held her back. But today, nobody on the Belmont roster could slow her down.
With Rhyne Howard serving the final game of her suspension, the Wildcats turned to their redshirt sophomore to carry the load. She more than delivered, piling up 27 points (11-19 FG) and 15 rebounds in Wildcats’ 70-50 win over the Bruins.
Edwards knocked down two three-pointers and secured three steals over 29 minutes, demonstrating the ability that garnered her the 2018-19 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year award in resounding fashion.
“I think this is the way I should play every game,” Edwards said afterward. “I’m going to go hard and go do what I've got to do.”
Kentucky didn’t open well, shooting just 2-of-11 over the first few minutes. Coming out of the media timeout, shots started going down. A steal each from Chasity Patterson and Keke McKinney helped the Cats go on an 11-3 run to end the opening quarter and lead 15-10.
The second quarter started just as slow. Neither team had an edge until two tough layups from Edwards ignited another Cat rally. Blair Green knocked down a corner three that snapped an 0-for-10 start from deep, and Edwards added another in the last minute to put Kentucky up 32-23 at the half.
Kentucky didn’t let its foot off the gas coming into the third quarter, extending their lead to 16 at one point. But the Bruins wouldn’t go away. Two three-pointers brought the score to within eight points with just under six minutes left in regulation.
The Cats would not be denied though, as they outscored Belmont by 11 in a two-minute stretch to seal the victory. Tough defense and good shot selections allowed them to win by the substantial margin.
Head coach Kyra Elzy felt the effort defensively against the Racers on Wednesday in the second half could have been better, but was satisfied with Sunday’s display.
“I liked our defensive intensity and effort a lot more today,” she said.
Kentucky shot 4-for-20 (20%) from the three-point line and 30-for-68 (44%) from the field overall. The only statistical category they were at a deficit was in free throws; Kentucky went to the line 14 times but put six in the basket. That will have to be improved if the Cats want to accomplish their goals.
Kentucky’s next game – and Rhyne Howard’s season debut – comes at Kansas State on Wednesday, Dec. 3. in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. Game time is set 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+.