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The University of Kentucky women’s basketball team found a lone bright spot during one of its darkest days this season on Thursday night.
Rhyne Howard scored 25 points during the Wildcats’ 65-57 loss to Vanderbilt in Nashville. Howard’s scoring was not enough to yield a victory but was sufficient to produce a career milestone for Kentucky’s senior guard.
Howard became only the third Wildcat ever to score 2,000 points. Now standing at 2,000 even, Howard trails only Valerie Still (2,763) and A’dia Mathies (2,014) on Kentucky’s all-time scoring list.
Howard’s 25 points came on 8-for-17 shooting from the field, including 4-for-8 from three-point range. Howard also went 5-for-5 from the free-throw line. Howard reached 2,000 points on a layup off an inbounds pass with 15.4 seconds remaining.
Howard’s double-double in Nashville, which also included 10 rebounds, was not quite enough for the Wildcats on a night they went to battle with seven players in uniform, only six of whom played.
Second-leading scorer Dre’una Edwards, who has been serving a team-imposed suspension, sat out her fourth consecutive game. Robyn Benton and Kristen Crenshaw-Gill, both nursing ankle injuries, also missed the game. Treasure Hunt, who had started 15 of Kentucky’s 16 games this season, was reportedly available but did not enter Thursday’s game.
Playing for the third time in five days, the Wildcats dropped to 9-8 overall and to 2-5 in Southeastern Conference play. The most glaring product of Kentucky’s losing battle of attrition took the form of 25 turnovers. The Cats committed nine in the opening quarter and things never got a whole lot better thereafter.
Interestingly, only six players also saw action for Vanderbilt, but four of the Commodores’ regular starters remained intact. One of those, leading scorer Brinae Alexander, helped Vandy keep Kentucky at bay by sinking six of 11 three-point attempts and scoring a game-high 26 points.
Vanderbilt improved to 11-10 overall and 2-5 in the SEC.
Jada Walker was the only Kentucky player to join Howard in double figures, scoring 10.