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Missing Two Starters, Kentucky Battles No. 12/11 LSU to the Wire in Baton Rouge

UK Athletics

Kentucky led by five points going into the fourth quarter, but LSU fought back to earn 78-69 victory

BATON ROUGE, La. – January 30, 2022

All-American Rhyne Howard scored 23 points, while freshman Jada Walker had a career high 21 but the Kentucky women’s basketball team lost to No. 12 LSU 78-69 on Sunday at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

With her 23 points, Howard moved into second place on Kentucky’s career scoring list. The Cleveland, Tennessee, native passed A’dia Mathies, who scored 2,014 points in her career. Howard now has 2,023 points in her UK career. In Sunday’s game, she added a season-high 12 rebounds.

The Cats again played shorthanded on Sunday. UK was missing both Robyn Benton and Jazmine Massengill due to injuries.

Kentucky (9-9, 2-6 SEC) got on the board on its first possession when Walker drilled a three from the right wing. After an LSU score, UK got a jumper from Howard and a pair of free throws from Walker to lead 7-2. Walker would make a jumper on Kentucky’s next possession, giving the Cats a 9-4 advantage early.

LSU (18-4, 6-3) would begin chipping away at the UK lead, eventually tying the game at 13-13. Walker scored again to give the Cats a 15-13 advantage but the Tigers scored the next five to grab their first lead, 18-15. LSU would close the period on a 10-2 run to lead 23-17 after one quarter.

The Cats would find themselves chipping away at LSU’s lead in the second period. UK opened the period on a 5-2 run to get within three, 25-22. Kentucky would eventually get within two, 28-26, on a Howard runner in the paint.

LSU would extend the lead to five, 31-26 before Kentucky vaulted into the lead. Howard hit a jumper, followed by a Walker three and a Howard layup, to give the Cats a 33-31 lead with 1:08 left in the half. LSU would tie the game at 33 apiece but Howard hit one of two at the line just before the half to give UK a 34-33 lead at the break. Walker had 15 points in the first half, while Howard had 11.

The Tigers would open the third period by scoring six in a row to grab a 39-34 advantage. Kentucky would strike right back, with a Howard jumper and a three from Emma King, to tie the game at 39 apiece.

LSU would score the next five but Kentucky would not let the Tigers pull away. UK got layups from Howard and King to get within one, 44-43, with 4:44 left in the period. LSU would lead 48-45 before Kentucky scored the final eight points of the period to lead 53-48 after three quarters.

In the fourth quarter, LSU mounted an early run to grab the lead back. The Tigers went on a 9-3 run to lead 57-56 with 6:40 to play. The teams went back and forth with Kentucky getting within one on two occasions, including at 61-60 on a King basket with 5:06 to play.

But LSU would go on an 8-3 run to lead 69-63 with 2:20 to play and the Tigers were able to keep the Cats at bay for the remainder of the game.

Kentucky returns to action next Sunday, hosting Texas A&M at Memorial Coliseum. Tipoff is set for noon ET and the game can be seen on ESPN2.

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