The Kentucky Women’s basketball team opened up play on Thursday with a 22-point victory over the Vanderbilt Commodores in Memorial Coliseum. The first SEC win of the year also earned Coach Matthew Mitchell his 300th career win as a head coach. Freshman Rhyne Howard continued her strong season with 16 points and a career high 7 assists. Senior Maci Morris was right behind Howard with 14 points of her own, including 4-of-7 from behind the arc. The Cats played incredible defense in this one and forced Vanderbilt into 29 turnovers, which produced 30 Kentucky points. Kentucky also dominated the Commodores with their bench play, outscoring Vanderbilt, 27-8.
Kentucky controlled the game early, hitting six of their first seven shots, and stretched their lead to eight (14-6) when Morris knocked down a big three-pointer. Morris and Howard started the game incredibly well, scoring eight and six points respectively. Despite the strong start from the Cats, Vandy answered with a 9-1 run of their own to take a 1-point lead over Kentucky before falling behind again at the end of the quarter. Vanderbilt shot the ball incredibly well in the first quarter, which helped them overcome eight turnovers which led to ten Kentucky points.
#16 Kentucky 21, Vanderbilt 15 End 1st quarter
The Wildcats came out on fire in the second quarter, hitting five of their first eight shots and stretched the lead out to 16 points. Morris and Howard both added to their point totals in the quarter, and Vanderbilt committed another eight turnovers leading to six more points for the Cats.
#16 Kentucky 40, Vanderbilt 24 Halftime
Kentucky continued to reap the benefits of their full court pressure defense. The Cats forced Vandy into four early third quarter turnovers. They turned the miscues into an 8-2 run that gave them a 13-point lead over the Commodores. The run would continue and Kentucky outscored Vanderbilt 16-5 in the first 5 minutes of the quarter. The Cats kept pressuring Vanderbilt and would lead by as many as 30 in the third quarter. Blair Green had nine points in the quarter to lead Kentucky.
#16 Kentucky 65, Vanderbilt 38 End 3rd quarter
The fourth quarter provided much of the same. Kentucky would build their lead to as many as 30 points again, however Vanderbilt ended the game scoring the last six points and ultimately cut the UK lead to 22 points by the time the final buzzer sounded.
#16 Kentucky 77, Vanderbilt 55 Final