BATON ROUGE, La. (UK Athletics) – Rhyne Howard scored 26 points, but the 11th-ranked Kentucky women’s basketball team struggled from the field all day, as the Cats fell to LSU 65-59 on Sunday at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
For Howard, it was her eighth consecutive game with at least 20 points scored. The SEC’s leading scorer hit seven of 22 from the field, including four of 14 from behind the arc. The sophomore from Cleveland, Tennessee made eight of 10 at the line and had 12 rebounds, registering her fourth double-double of the season.
Kentucky (15-3, 4-2 SEC) made just 14 of 60 (23.3 percent) from the field, including just six of 26 (23.1 percent) from behind the arc. The Cats were able to make 25 of 34 (73.5 percent) from the free throw line in the game.
Sabrina Haines scored 11 points for the Cats and Jaida Roper added 10.
LSU scored the first five points of the game before Kentucky got on the board via a steal and basket from Haines. The Tigers would lead 7-2 before four straight from Howard got UK within one, 7-6. LSU responded with a 7-2 run to lead 14-8 with 2:01 to play in the first. The Tigers would hold a 16-9 advantage after one period.
Roper scored the first basket of the second period to get the Cats within five, 16-11. But LSU answered with an 8-1 run to take a 24-12 lead and force a UK timeout. Howard put a stop to the run with a three from the top of the key, getting the Cats within nine, 24-15. On LSU’s next possession, Howard blocked a Faustine Aifuwa shot, took it the length of the court and was fouled. She was able to make one of the two charity tosses to make it 24-16.
LSU would score the final four points of the half to lead 28-16 at the break. It was the fewest points that Kentucky has scored in a half all season. The Cats made just five of 26 (19.2 percent) of their first-half shots, including just one of nine (11.1 percent) from behind the arc. UK missed 11 of its last 12 field goals in the half. Howard led all scorers with nine points in the first half.
Kentucky scored the first five points of the second half to cut its deficit to 28-21. But LSU had the answer, scoring five consecutive points to extend the lead to 33-21 with 5:28 left in the period. After a pair of free throws by Haines, LSU scored four straight to lead 37-23. After UK got single free throw makes from Blair Green and Chasity Patterson, LSU scored six in a row to lead 43-25. Howard hit a pair of free throws to stop the run, but LSU would lead 45-27 after three periods. UK made just one of 12 from the field in the third period.
In the fourth period, Kentucky was able to mount a quick run to cut into the LSU lead. The Cats got a three from Haines, a runner from Patterson and a put back from Howard, part of an 11-2 run, to cut the lead to 47-38 with 6:29 to play.
The Cats would keep cutting into the deficit, eventually getting within five, 56-51, with just under a minute to go. After a pair of LSU free throws, Howard drilled a long-range three to make it 58-54 with 49 seconds to play. But the Cats would get no closer.
Kentucky returns to action on Monday, Jan. 27, hosting Auburn at Memorial Coliseum. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. and the game can be seen on the SEC Network.