LEXINGTON, Ky. (UK Athletics)- Maci Morris scored 29 points and Rhyne Howard added 19 as the 19th-ranked Kentucky women’s basketball team defeated Rhode Island 75-52 on Thursday night at Memorial Coliseum.
Taylor Murray added 11 points for the Wildcats, who struggled a bit on offense in the first half before getting things going after the break. Kentucky had just 30 points in the game’s first 20 minutes, but scored 45 in the second half of the contest.
Kentucky went neck and neck with Rhode Island to start the game. Morris had all eight points until the five minute mark of the first period when Murray hit a jumper at the top of the key. Howard converted an old fashioned three point play to give Kentucky a 14-12 lead with two minutes left in the first quarter, and the Cats would lead 16-12 after one quarter of play after closing the period on a 6-0 run.
Starting the second period, Kentucky got the momentum going. The Wildcats opened the period with a 9-3 run to open a 25-15 lead. Rhode Island would score the next five points to cut the lead in half, but Kentucky would lead 30-22 at the break.
Morris scored within the first minute of the third period to get things going for the Wildcats. However, Rhode Island went on a 5-0 run until a basket from Murray at the eight minute mark to give Kentucky a 34-27 lead. Kentucky’s energy grew as they won a loose ball at half court with five minutes to go in the third period. The Wildcats enter the first media timeout of the period on an 11-2 run.
Jaida Roper was fouled on a three-point shot and made all three free throws to give the Wildcats a 49-29 lead with 3:47 left in the third period. With 3:00 left, the Wildcats continued to stretch the lead on a 19-2 run. Taylor Murray ended the third period with a steal and fast break layup giving the wildcats a 59-35 lead. The Wildcats scored 29 points in the third quarter, which is their most scored points in a quarter this season.
Rhode Island scored first to begin the fourth period of play, however Howard answered back with a basket in the paint. Morris hit her fourth three of the night with 6:30 left in the fourth period giving her 26 points.
Kentucky returns to action on Sunday, as the Wildcats visit Louisville at the KFC YUM! Center. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. ET and the game can be seen on ACC Network+.