LEXINGTON, Ky. – Rhyne Howard scored a career-high 30 points as the 15th-ranked Kentucky women's basketball team cruised past Samford 79-49 on Sunday afternoon at Memorial Coliseum.
Howard has now scored at least 20 points on five occasions this season, and 15 times during her two years in Lexington. The sophomore has scored at least 20 points in four of UK's last five games. Her previous career high was 29 points, which she had scored twice in her career, including in UK's win over Charlotte on Wednesday.
Sabrina Haines added 12 points for the Cats, her third straight game in double figures. The senior from Phoenix has scored in double digits in five of her last six games.
Kentucky (9-0) hit 30 of its 57 shots (52.6 percent), including 11 of 23 (47.8 percent) from behind the arc. Samford hit 17 of 46 (37.0 percent) from the floor, including seven of 19 (36.8 percent) from three-point land. Kentucky forced 18 Samford turnovers and turned those into 21 points. The Cats turned the ball over just 10 times, and the Bulldogs scored 10 points off those miscues.
Kentucky hit its first three shots, all from behind the arc, to take an early 9-0 lead. But Samford answered with a pair of threes from Paige Serup to cut the advantage to 9-6. After a basket by Amanda Pashcal gave UK an 11-6 lead, Samford got back-to-back threes from Shauntai Battle to take a 12-11 advantage.
The Cats trailed 14-13 before getting consecutive threes from Blair Green and KeKe McKinney to take a 19-14 advantage. Just before the end of the period, Howard hit a three from the corner to give UK a 22-14 lead, which would be the score at the end of one period.
Paschal hit a basket to start the second quarter, giving the Cats a 24-14 lead and capping an 11-0 run. Later in the quarter, Kentucky would put even more distance between itself and Samford. Already leading 28-18, the Cats closed the half on a 13-2 run to lead 41-20 at the half. Howard led all scorers with 16 points in the first half.
In the third quarter, the teams traded points early before Samford got a pair of three-pointers to cut the UK lead to 45-28. But the Cats mounted a 7-2 run to grab a 52-30 advantage midway through the third. After Samford cut the lead back to 20 at 54-34, Kentucky closed the period on a 6-2 run to lead 60-36 after three periods. Howard had 24 points through 30 minutes.
UK would continue to extend the lead in the fourth quarter, leading by as may as 31 points before settling for the 30-point victory.
Kentucky returns to action on Wednesday, hosting Winthrop at Rupp Arena. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. and the game can be heard on the UK Sports Network. Television is still TBD.