Jaida Roper’s career day carries Cats past Winthrop

Senior guard went 12-of-13 from the field for third-best FG% in school

Courtesy: UK Athletics

LEXINGTON, Ky. (UK Athletics) – Jaida Roper scored a career high 30 points as the 14th-ranked Kentucky women’s team thumped Winthrop 91-36 on Wednesday night at Rupp Arena.

Roper doubled her previous career high of 15 points. The senior from Memphis hit 12 of 13 from the field, including three of four from behind the arc. Roper also made three of six at the line, had four assists, two rebounds and two steals.

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Kentucky (10-0) got a career high 13 points from Blair Green and 12 points from Rhyne Howard, who did not play in the second half. The Cats also got double-figure scoring efforts from Sabrina Haines (11 points) and Tatyana Wyatt (10).

The Cats made 33 of 63 (52.4 percent) from the field, including 13 of 23 (56.5) from behind the arc. Kentucky forced 35 Winthrop turnovers and converted those miscues into 46 points.

Winthrop got on the board first, but Kentucky’s outside shooting was on display early. The Cats hit three of their first four shots from behind the arc to grab an 11-6 lead. Kentucky would grab a double-digit lead, 18-8, on a three from Haines with 4:38 left in the first. And the onslaught continued from there. In all, Kentucky would mount a 16-2 run to lead 24-8.

The Cats stayed hot, hitting eight of 11 (72.7 percent) from behind the arc in the quarter, including three-of-three from both Howard and Roper. Kentucky held a 32-12 lead after one period behind Roper’s 15 points. Roper’s first-quarter output matched her previous career high and the 32 points scored by the Cats were the most in any quarter so far this season.

The second period started in much the same matter, with the Cats hitting five of their first seven shots, including a pair from behind the arc. The Cats would score the first 12 points of the quarter to lead 44-12. Kentucky would close the half on a 10-3 run to take a 54-18 advantage into the break. Roper led all scorers with 17 points, on seven-of-seven shooting, in the half. Howard had 12 for the Cats, who set a season best with 54 points in a half. Kentucky forced 23 Winthrop turnovers in the half and converted those into 29 points.

Roper scored the first basket of the third period to give Kentucky a 56-18 advantage. But Winthrop scored the next six points to cut the lead to 56-24, forcing a Kentucky timeout. The Cats responded with six straight points to lead 62-24. Kentucky would outscore Winthrop 16-12 in the quarter to lead 70-30 after three quarters. Roper’s 21 points led all scorers through 30 minutes.

Kentucky scored the first four points of the fourth quarter, part of a 12-2 run, that opened the lead to 82-32. A 9-0 run late in the game gave the Cats their biggest lead, 91-35.

Winthrop (4-6) got nine points from Kem Nwabudu.

Kentucky returns to action on Sunday, hosting nationally-ranked Louisville at Rupp Arena. Tipoff is set for 3 p.m. and the game can be seen on ESPN.

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Bryan Kennedy hails from the Bluegrass State. He was born and raised in Owensboro, KY where he graduated from Apollo High School in 2006. Bryan graduated from the University of Kentucky with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Spanish in 2010. He also received his master's degree in Sports Media and Branding from Western Kentucky University. While at UK, Bryan was the general manager of the on-campus TV station. He also did sports reporting, anchoring, producing and even the weather for UK Student News Network. While working for UKSNN, he also had the pleasure of covering Coach John Calipari's first press conference when he was introduced as the new head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats; easily one of his favorite moments as a young sports reporter. Before coming to ABC 36, Bryan was a morning anchor and reporter at WXXV News 25, our sister station in Gulfport, MS. He anchored more than four hours of news every day, including morning shows on NBC and Fox. While down south, Bryan had the opportunity to cover the Sugar Bowl, New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans. After spending a little more than two years at WXXV, Bryan is extremely excited to return home. In his spare time, Bryan enjoys playing sports, especially rugby. He also enjoys crossfitting and watching sports (obviously). He's extremely excited to cover Central Kentucky. Feel free to say hello and send story ideas toBKennedy@wtvq.com