Dre’una Edwards double-double powers No. 20 Kentucky past La Salle

Redshirt junior forward scored 22 points with 11 rebounds in UK’s 74-52 win

LEXINGTON, Ky. (UK Athletics) – Dre’una Edwards scored 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as the 20th-ranked Kentucky women’s basketball team downed LaSalle 74-52 on Saturday at Memorial Coliseum.

Robyn Benton added 17 points and seven rebounds for the Cats, while Rhyne Howard had 16 points, six rebounds and three assists.

Kentucky (4-1) also got 12 points and four assist from freshman Jada Walker.

The Cats hit 26 of 59 (44.1 percent) from the floor in the game, including eight of 19 (42.1 percent) from behind the arc. UK forced 17 LaSalle turnovers and turned those into 14 points. Kentucky also held the advantage in points in the paint (28-18) and fast-break points (9-0).

LaSalle scored the game’s first points on a three by Kayla Spruill. Kentucky would get a Howard basket to cut the lead to one but the Explorers got a basket from Jaye Haynes to make it 5-2.

That’s when Kentucky kicked it into gear. The Cats scored three straight baskets to grab an 8-5 lead with 6:13 left in the first. After a pair of LaSalle free throws, the Cats would score eight in a row to lead 16-7 with 2:35 left in the first.

LaSalle would get back within six, 20-14, before Kentucky scored the final seven points of the period, including a Walker three just before the buzzer, to lead 27-14 after one quarter.

Howard would start the second quarter in fine fashion, hitting a free throw then a three to extend the UK lead to 31-14. LaSalle would score four of the next six points but Kentucky got a pair of Edwards free throws and another from Howard to lead 36-18 with 5:18 left in the half.

LaSalle would respond with 10 points in a row to get within eight, 36-28, just before the half. Kentucky missed eight shots in a row but got a big three-pointer from Benton just before the half to take a 39-28 lead into the break. Howard led all scorers with 12 points in the first half.

In the third period, LaSalle would try to hang in the game. The Explorers would get within nine on two occasions but could not get any closer. Kentucky got five points from Benton and five from Edwards to extend the lead to 51-37 with 5:15 left in the period.

LaSalle would continue to stay in the game thanks to Spruill and Amy Jacobs, who hit a three to cut the UK lead to nine, 54-45, with 1:45 left in the third. Kentucky would lead 56-47 after three periods.

In the fourth quarter, Kentucky would score 13 in a row, including five by Benton, to lead 71-49 with 1:57 to go.

Kentucky returns to action on Wednesday, hosting West Virginia in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. ET and the game can be seen on SEC Network Plus.

No. 20 Kentucky 74, La Salle 52 – FINAL

Team Records and Series Notes

  • Kentucky is 4-1 this season, while La Salle is 3-3.
    • This was the first all-time meeting between Kentucky and La Salle in women’s basketball.
  • Kentucky is in its 48th season with a 867-558 (.608) all-time record.
  • The Wildcats are currently ranked No. 20 in the Associated Press Top 25 and No. 17 in the USA Today/WBCA Coaches’ Top 25.
  • Kyra Elzy is in her second season as the head coach of the Wildcats, holding a 22-10 overall record.
    • Elzy is 15-2 at home, including a 13-2 record inside Memorial Coliseum and 2-0 mark inside Rupp Arena.
    • Elzy is 9-0 at home against a non-conference opponent with all nine wins coming in Memorial Coliseum.
  • Kentucky is 504-178 all-time at home. UK is 474-161 at Memorial Coliseum and 30-19 at Rupp Arena.
    • The losses are off by two because UK has played two games inside those two venues that are not allowed to be considered “home games” per NCAA Tournament rules.
  • Kentucky will be back in action Wednesday vs. West Virginia inside Memorial Coliseum. The game will tip at 7 p.m. ET on SEC Network+ and the UK Sports Network.

Team Notes

  • Kentucky used the starting combination of senior guards Jazmine Massengill, Robyn Benton and Rhyne Howard, junior forward Dre’una Edwards and sophomore wing Treasure Hunt.
    • UK is 3-1 this season with those starting five. These five have started each of the last four games.
    • Rhyne Howard scored first for Kentucky in the game. It is the second time this season she has scored first.
    • Olivia Owens was the first sub for Kentucky. It was the first time she has been the first Wildcat off the bench.
    • La Salle won the opening tip. It was the first time this season UK has lost the opening tip.
  • Kentucky ended the first quarter on a 7-0 run thanks to some great play by Jada Walker, getting a steal and assist to Benton and then hitting a 3 at the buzzer.
    • UK was 11-of-18 from the field in the first quarter, including 2-of-4 from 3.
    • Twelve of UK’s 27 first-quarter points were in the paint.
    • La Salle shot 33.3 percent in the first quarter and had just two points in the paint.
  • Kentucky held a 36-18 lead midway through the second quarter, but went the final 6:04 of the second quarter scoring only three points.
    • UK made just one of its last nine field goals and two of its last 12 shots in the second quarter.
    • Meanwhile, La Salle went on a 10-0 run to cut UK’s lead to 36-28 with under a minute to go.
    • Robyn Benton stopped the bleeding with a 3-pointer to end the half to give UK a 39-28 lead at the break.
    • UK was just 3-of-14 from the field in the second quarter.
    • Kentucky did not score a paint point in the second quarter.
  • La Salle outscored the Wildcats 19-17 in the third quarter to cut the UK lead to 56-47 at the end of the third quarter.
  • The Wildcats answered in the fourth quarter outscoring the Explorers 18-5 to seal the win.
    • Kentucky hit four of its last five field goals, while La Salle hit just one of its last 13.
    • Kentucky was 6-of-13 from the field in the fourth quarter.
  • Kentucky hit eight 3s in the game and had a 28-18 edge in paint points.

Player Notes

  • Senior guard Rhyne Howard scored 16 points with six rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block.
    • For her career, Howard has scored 1,751 career points sitting sixth in UK history in points scored. Howard needs 39 more points to tie Makayla Epps for fifth.
    • Howard ranks second in school history in career scoring average at 19.9, while she is seventh in field-goals made with 611, third in career 3s made with 225 and third in career 3-point field-goal percentage at 38.2. She is also fourth in UK history in steals per game at 2.356.
    • In 88 career games, Howard has …
      • Hit at least one 3 in 78 career games, including five times this season.
      • Made three or more 3s in 38 career games, including once this season.
      • Made five or more 3s in 12 career games.
      • Scored 10+ points in 79 career game, including five times this season.
      • Scored 15+ points in 64 career games, including five times this season.
      • Scored 20+ points in 47 career games, including three times this season.
      • Scored 25+ points in 26 career games.
      • Scored 30+ points in 7 career games.
      • Led UK in scoring in 56 career games, including twice this season.
      • Led UK in rebounding in 48 career games, including three times this season.
      • Led UK in assists in 32 career games, including three times this season.
      • Led UK in steals in 35 career games, including four times this season.
      • Led UK in blocks in 34 career games, including three times this season.
      • Has 19 career double-doubles, including two this season.
      • Has 1 triple double.
  • Redshirt junior forward Dre’una Edwards recorded her first double-double of the season with 22 points and 11 rebounds.
    • Edwards was 8-of-11 from the field and 2-of-3 from 3.
    • She added a team-best three blocks and four assists.
    • This was the 12th double-double of Edwards’ career and her fifth at Kentucky.
    • Edwards has led UK in scoring three times this season and six times in her career.
  • Senior guard Robyn Benton scored 17 points with seven rebounds.
    • The 17 points was a season high for Benton, while her seven rebounds were also a season high.
    • Benton was 3-of-3 from long range in the game.
    • Benton has scored 10 or more points in every game this season.
    • She has also hit at least one 3 in every game.
  • Freshman guard Jada Walker scored in double figures for the fourth straight game.
    • Walker had 12 points with four assists and a steal.



Kentucky Head Coach Kyra Elzy

On rebounding effort …
“It was a great learning opportunity. I thought that La Salle beat us to some 50-50 balls and they were shooting 3s, so there were long rebounds. Our guards have to step in and help us rebound. We closed the rebounding gap in the fourth quarter, but overall, in order for us to be our best team, we have to rebound the ball better.”

On improvement from the Indiana game …

“I thought we took a step forward defensively tonight. There was a time in the game where we forced back-to-back shot clock violations and got our hands on some balls. We had some great help. Obviously, we can continue to grow but I thought we have taken a step forward from the last couple of weeks defensively.”

On Dre’una Edwards’ performance …
“The offseason set the tone for her. Her fitness is elite. She can play longer as you can see, played 36 minutes. She was productive in those. She had 22 points tonight and 11 rebounds. I thought that she was efficient offensively. Some of the bunnies offensively around the rim that she missed last year due to fatigue, she is starting to hit those. Then she just makes us different in transition offense. When she can get it off the glass and lead the break, she is a great passer. She is a mismatch in transition.”

On Treasure Hunt not playing in the second half …
“Our medical team will examine her and it will be day-to-day.”

On the players holding themselves accountable …
“That is one of our power fives is accountability. We want to hold them accountable, them holding us accountable and holding themselves accountable. This team wants to win. They own up to their mistakes. They want to make sure they are all doing the right things to move this team forward.”

On Jada Walker off the bench …
“An energizer bunny. She plays really hard on both sides of the court. One thing I love about her is that she is a freshman and still trying to learn. She is a student of the game and comes in and watches film. She is coachable. She is still trying to learn the intricate details of our offense and still scoring. Imagine when she understands what is going on, she is going to be real dangerous. She is a blessed kid to have and I am glad she is a Wildcat.”

On West Virginia …

“One, we talked about it: rebounding. We are going to have to do a better job and second our halfcourt executing. We need to slow down. We became a little stagnant at times. We need to move the ball and make sure we are not just getting good shots but great shots. Scoring in the halfcourt, we will continue to work on that.”

Kentucky Student-Athletes

#10, Rhyne Howard, Senior, Guard

On if/how the loss against Indiana is being used as motivation for the next game against a ranked opponent…

“I know you said we use that as motivation, but we don’t remember the Indiana game anymore. It’s in the past. We’re obviously here to play Kentucky basketball so we can’t get that low again, we can’t be that unfocused again. But, I mean, that’s not where our motivation is coming from.”

On Jada Walker’s success since the Indiana game…

“I think it’s because she’s not scared of anything.”

On how important it is to get a good turnout in Memorial for a matchup against a ranked opponent on Wednesday against West Virginia…

“I think having a good crowd is very important because often when we’re not playing good or not doing something that we need to be doing, the crowd is always cheering for us no matter what. They’re getting at the refs, doing everything that we’re doing, like ‘Yeah, go Cats!’, so we feed off them.”

#44, Dre’una Edwards, Senior, Forward

On how her playing, getting a double-double, and playing a lot of minutes tonight reflects the work she put in during the offseason…

“I’ve just put in a lot of work in the offseason with the help of (Kyra) Elzy, my teammates and Coach Lee. They’ve all been pushing me, so I was prepared.”

On what the team needs to focus on going into the West Virginia game…

“Yeah, boxing out for sure. But, I think we did really good on defense today. We’ve been honing in on that a lot this past week. You know, we’ve got to be more intense on the defensive end and I think that’s definitely helped us out a lot, and I think we’re going to be prepared for West Virginia.”

On if/how the loss against Indiana is being used as motivation for the next game against a ranked opponent…

“Most definitely what she (Howard) said. We’re not looking at them anymore. It is what it is, it happened, but we just got to keep doing what we do and play Kentucky basketball, focus on ourselves and that’s going to get us the dub every time.”

#1, Robyn Benton, Senior, Guard

On how Coach Elzy thinks she has found her niche in the offense…

“Well, I am more comfortable. I will say that. I thank my teammates for looking at me and passing me the ball so I can score.

 On Jada Walker’s success since the Indiana game…

“Jada is fast. She doesn’t take any plays off, she goes really fast. I call her speedy Gonzales. I’m telling you, it’s go, go, go with Jada (Walker).

 On how the half-court offense is doing…

“Our half-court offense, you know, we run a lot of four out, just a lot of movement and we just try to hit the open man or get the ball to the person.”

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