8:34:47 11-09-2021KentuckyvsPresbyterianWBB

Kentucky Wildcats guard Rhyne Howard (10) passes 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

Kentucky women’s basketball (3-1) cruised past Winthrop (0-4) 92-47 on Sunday in Lexington. 

Senior guard Rhyne Howard recorded a triple-double in the win, making her just the third Wildcat in program history to complete the feat.

“I just feel like I set a good example for my teammates today,” Howard said after the game. “It was great.”

Five Wildcats scored double-digit points in the game. While Howard led the team with 22 points, junior forward Dre’una Edwards followed close behind with 20 of her own. The Wildcats shot just under 50-percent from the field and had nearly 20 offensive rebounds in the high-scoring win. 

UK forced 28 turnovers, while only giving up 11 of their own to extend the dominance to the defensive side of the ball.

“We got our energy back,” head coach Kyra Elzy said about her team. “For the most part, I thought we played extremely hard and disruptive and we’re going to have to continue to do that, being an undersized team. I was really proud of the energy today.”

The Wildcats entered the matchup following a week-long break after their first loss of the season against No. 8 Indiana on the road. The loss was the third game in six days for the Cats.

Kentucky came out firing from tip-off, not willing to play another bad first half at home. Despite allowing an 8-0 Winthrop run to end the first quarter, UK outscored the Eagles 25-14 in the first, and 25-8 in the second quarter to take a 50-22 lead into halftime.

“We were more focused on ourselves,” Edwards said. “We had almost a week to prepare and ever since that game against [North] Alabama we’ve been working on what we need to do [early on]. We knew what we needed to do defensively and we just had to go in there and do it.”

Though the second half fared slightly better for Winthrop, the Eagles were still outscored 27-10 in the third quarter. 

Howard led the quarter for the Cats with eight points and added three assists to her total. Senior guard Jazmine Messengill also scored all seven of her points in the quarter.

The fourth quarter finished with both teams scoring 15 a piece, the only quarter Kentucky didn’t outscore the Eagles by at least 10 points, but the defining moment of the period came early on as Howard recorded the two rebounds and two assists she needed to complete the third triple-double in Wildcat history. 

Howard joined Wildcat hall of famer Leslie Nichols and current WNBA talent Makayla Epps in the history books.

“So proud of Rhyne,” coach Elzy said. “That’s just another accolade to add to the long list that she already has here at Kentucky. I hope it’s a confidence builder for her, I know she wanted them bad. I was impressed and I thought it made her play more aggressively today which was good. It was big for her.”

The Wildcats return to the court this Saturday, Nov. 27, to battle the La Salle Explorers in Memorial Coliseum. The game is expected to tip-off at 8:30 p.m. and will air on the SEC Network+.