BERKELEY, Calif. (UK Athletics) – Rhyne Howard scored 19 of her 29 points in the fourth quarter, including a go-ahead jumper with three seconds left, as the 14th-ranked Kentucky women’s basketball team won at California 63-61 on Saturday evening.
Chasity Patterson had nine points in her UK debut, while Tatyana Wyatt had just four points, but grabbed a game-high eight rebounds for the Cats.
Kentucky (11-1) hit just 22 of 62 (35.5 percent) from the floor, including six of 22 (27.3 percent) from behind the arc. California made 21 of its 52 shots (40.4 percent), including just four of 18 from three-point range (22.2 percent). The Cats forced 22 Cal turnovers and turned those into 23 points. UK had just 11 turnovers, which led to 12 Cal points.
Both teams missed their first three shots from the floor before Cal took an early 2-0 lead. Kentucky would miss its first five shots before Wyatt scored to tie the game at 2-2. After the game was tied at 4-4, the Cats would score eight in a row, including the first UK basket, a three-pointer, from Patterson, to lead 12-4. Cal would answer with six straight points to cut the UK lead to 12-10. That would be the score after one period.
Early in the second quarter, Cal tied the game before Patterson hit a runner in the lane to give the Cats a 14-12 advantage. Amanda Paschal scored on a layup to build the lead, 16-12 before Cal scored three in a row to cut the lead to one. From there, the teams combined to miss nine straight shots before Patterson scored four points in a row to give UK a 20-15 lead with 3:02 left in the half.
Cal got a free throw before a Wyatt jumper gave Kentucky a 22-16 lead with 2:07 to play in the half. But the Bears scored the last six points of the half to send the teams to the half tied at 22-22. Patterson had seven points in the first half for the Cats, while Howard had five.
In the second half, the teams were tied at 24-24 and 26-26 before Kentucky got six in a row, including a three from Howard, to lead 32-26. Cal would stop the run with a free throw, but Blair Green drilled a three to give the Cats a 36-27 lead with 3:59 left in the third.
Sabrina Haines made a pair of free throws to give UK a 38-27 lead with 3:17 to play in the period. Cal would cut the lead to 38-30 before a pair of Patterson free throws extended the advantage to 40-30. Kentucky would lead by 10, 42-32, on a Green jumper before Cal scored the final five points of the period to make it 42-37 UK with 10 minutes to play.
The fourth quarter belonged to Howard, who scored Kentucky’s first 17 points of the period. Despite Howard’s heroics, Cal stayed in the game. The Bears used a 9-2 run to cut the UK lead to 57-53 with 1:48 to play. Cal would get within three, 61-58, on a three from Jazlyn Green with 1:01 to play.
After Howard missed a jumper with 37 seconds left in the game, Cal rebounded and called a timeout to set up a play to potentially tie the game. On the ensuing possession, UK’s Jaida Roper was called for a foul and the Bears’ Green made the first free throw but missed the second. After a scramble, a heldball was called, and Cal took possession with 22.7 seconds left.
After another Cal timeout, the Bears went to CJ West, who converted a layup and was fouled with 9.7 seconds to play. But West missed the potential go-ahead free throw and Kentucky called a timeout to advance the ball to midcourt. After the timeout, Howard took the inbounds, dribbled to the right side of the lane and nailed a 15-foot jumper with three seconds left to give the Cats a 63-61 lead. Cal had a three-point heave at the buzzer that missed, ending the game.
Kentucky returns to action on Jan. 2, facing South Carolina in Columbia. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. ET and the game can be seen on the SEC Network.