The Lady Wildcats headed down I64 east for their annual matchup with the Louisville Cardinals on Sunday. The match-up of ranked teams was the first true road test for Kentucky and it came against a team many project to head to the Final Four this spring.
Freshman Rhyne Howard scored 25 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out a career-high six assists for the Cats. For her, it was the 10th straight double-figure scoring effort to start her UK career and her third double-double of the season. Senior Taylor Murray had 18 points for the Cats, while fellow senior Maci Morris added 11.
Kentucky trailed by as many as 18 points in the game before a late rally came up just short against the highly-ranked Cardinals.
Let’s take a look at how the game played out.
Kentucky got on the board almost immediately, with Howard hitting a layup just six seconds into the game. The game would be tied at 2-2, 4-4 and 7-7 before Louisville scored five straight to lead 12-7. But the Cats answered with Howard scoring the next six points to give UK a 13-12 lead with 6:17 left in the first quarter. The game was tied twice more in the period, at 14-14 and 16-16. With U of L leading 18-16, the Cats got a three-pointer from Tatyana Wyatt to lead 19-18 with 2:53 left in the first. However, the Cards would score the last six points of the period to lead 24-19 after 10 minutes.
#5 Louisville 24 #19 Kentucky 19
In the second quarter, Kentucky was able to cut into the Louisville lead, eventually getting within two points. The Cards extended the lead to 30-24 before Murray nailed a three-pointer to cut the lead in half, 30-27, with 4:50 left in the half. Just as they did in the first period, Louisville closed the quarter outscoring the Cats 6-2 to extend their lead. Howard led Kentucky with 12 points in the first half.
#5 Louisville 36, #19 Kentucky 29
Louisville extended its lead in the third quarter, using a 13-6 run. U of L would take its biggest lead, 18 points, on two occasions. Kentucky would get within 13 points twice, but the Cards would hold a lead after three periods.
#5 Louisville 67, #19 Kentucky 52
In the fourth quarter, the Cardinals extended the lead to 17 points before the Cats made a furious run. Kentucky scored seven in a row to cut the lead to 10 on a layup by KeKe McKinney. The Cats would get even closer when Murray drilled a three-pointer from the left corner. Kentucky kept chipping away, cutting the advantage to four points on a pair of Howard free throws, and again on a runner by Morris with seven seconds left. But the comeback ran out of time before the Cats could catch U of L. Kentucky fell to the Cards by 5 despite a great effort in the fourth quarter.
#5 Louisville 80, #19 Kentucky 75
Kentucky suffered its first loss of the season snapping their 9 winning streak.