KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (UK Athletics) – Rhyne Howard scored 14 points and Chasity Patterson had 12, but the 12th-ranked Kentucky women’s basketball team fell to No. 25 Tennessee 70-53 on Sunday at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Kentucky (11-4, 4-3 SEC) struggled shooting the ball for the entire game. The Cats hit just 18 of 63 (28.6 percent) from the floor, including just seven of 24 (29.2 percent) from behind the arc. The taller Lady Vols also controlled the boards, grabbing 56 rebounds compared to just 25 for the Cats. Tennessee had 44 points in the paint, compared to just 18 for Kentucky.
The Cats did force 17 UT turnovers, but were only able to turn those into 10 points.
Kentucky took an early 3-1 lead on a right-wing three from KeKe McKinney. But Tennessee would score the next 11 points as the Cats missed seven straight shots. Trailing 12-3, the Cats got a three from Howard to break the streak and get within six. On UK’s next possession, Robyn Benton his a jumper to cut the UT lead to 12-8.
Tennessee would lead 14-8 before Patterson came up with a steal and a layup to cut the lead to four. After a UT basket, Kentucky’s Olivia Owens made a layup to cut the UT lead to 16-12, but the Lady Vols would end the first period with an 18-12 advantage.
In the second period, Kentucky got a jumper from Howard and a pair of free throws from Benton to cut the UT lead to 18-16. And when Dre’una Edwards came up with a steal and a layup, the Cats had tied the game at 18 apiece. But UT immediately answered with a three from Rae Burrell to grab the lead back, 21-18, with 5:14 left in the first half. The Vols would add four more, making it a 7-0 run, to lead 25-18.
Kentucky stopped the run with a layup from Owens. The Cats cut the lead to 25-22 on a jumper by Patterson with 1:09 left in the half. The Lady Vols would score the last basket of the half to take a 27-22 lead into the break.
Tennessee got six straight points from Tamari Key to open the second half, building its lead to 33-22 and forcing a UK timeout. Kentucky got on the board at the 7:39 mark on a free throw from Howard. The Lady Vols would score the next five, making it an 11-1 run, taking a 38-23 run.
Kentucky would get within 10, 41-31, on a three by Benton. But the Lady Vols scored the final eight points of the period to take a 49-31 lead into the fourth.
In the final period, Tennessee built the lead to as many as 26 before settling for a 17-point win.
Kentucky returns to action on Thursday, hosting Alabama at Rupp Arena. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. ET and the game can be seen on the SEC Network.