Edwards, Hunt lead 13th-ranked UK women in season opener

Sophomore Treasure Hunt scored 18 points with nine rebounds and four assists

LEXINGTON, Ky. (UK Athletics) – Sophomore Treasure Hunt scored a career high 18 points, grabbed a career best nine rebounds and dished out a career high five assists as the 13th-ranked Kentucky women’s basketball team (click here for coach comments) beat Presbyterian College 81-53 on Tuesday night at Memorial Coliseum.

Dre’una Edwards led all scorers with 20 points, hitting nine of her 11 shots from the field. All-American Rhyne Howard had 15 points, seven assists, four steals and a blocked shot, while Robyn Benton had 12 points and four steals (click here for player comments).

Kentucky made 34 of its 65 shots from the floor (52.3 percent). The Cats made just five of 20 from behind the arc (25.0 percent) and just eight of 19 at the line (42.1 percent).

However, Kentucky had 50 points in the paint compared to just 26 for Presbyterian. The Cats dished out 26 assists and PC had 11. Kentucky also held the advantage in second-chance points (17-6) and bench points (34-18). The Cats forced 25 PC turnovers and turned those into 39 points, while Presbyterian had just nine points off UK’s 14 turnovers.

Kentucky started slowly in the season opener for both teams. Presbyterian jumped ahead early, scoring the first six points of the game and forcing a Kentucky timeout. Out of the break, the Cats got on the board for the first time via a pair of Treasure Hunt free throws.

After a Robyn Benton free throw cut the lead to three, the Blue Hose extended the lead to 8-3. Howard would make a free throw, the Hunt hit a layup, giving the Cats their first basket of the game and cutting the lead to 8-6.

UK would twice get within one, on a three by Howard and a layup by Benton, but Presbyterian continued to stay hot from the field. In fact, the Blue Hose would hit nine of their 11 field goals in the quarter to shoot 81.8 percent from the floor. That included hitting three of four from behind the arc. PC would lead 25-15 after one period.

Presbyterian scored the first basket of the second quarter to take their biggest lead, 27-15. But Kentucky answered with a 9-0 run, cutting the lead to three and forcing a PC timeout.

The Blue Hose would respond with five in a row to extend the lead back to eight, 32-24, with 4:39 left in the half. But Kentucky answered that run with a run of its own, scoring seven straight to cut the lead to one, 32-31. After a pair of PC free throws, Kentucky got a layup from Howard and a corner jumper from Benton to lead for the first time, 35-34 with 1:27 to play in the half.

Presbyterian would make three free throws inside the last 1:02 and appeared to be on its way to having the lead at the half. But with one second to play before the break, Howard launched, and hit, a shot from just inside half court. The three-pointer gave the Cats a 38-37 lead at the break.

That shot seemed to spark the Cats, who came out with a different intensity in the second half. The Cats turned up the defense, forcing PC to miss its first six shots of the half, while turning the ball over four times. Meanwhile, Kentucky hit its first nine shots from the floor in the second half. That all added up to a 22-0 run that gave the Cats a 57-37 lead with 4:26 left in the third.

PC would get on the board with a pair of free throws by Trinity Johnson. The Blue Hose would not get their first basket in the second half until Bryanna Brady made a layup with 3:05 left in the period.

By the time the third quarter ended, the Cats had outscored the Blue Hose 29-6 to take a 67-43 advantage into the final stanza.

In the final 10 minutes, Kentucky would continue to extend the lead, with the final score being the largest UK lead of the game.

Kentucky returns to action on Thursday night, hosting North Alabama at Memorial Coliseum. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. and the game can be seen on SEC Network Plus.

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