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UK Women's Basketball

UK WBB v. Georgia – Postgame Notes and Mitchell Presser Transcript

Photo by Danny Pendleton - Bluegrass Sports Nation

No. 15 Kentucky 88, Georgia 77 – FINAL

Team Records and Series Notes

  • Kentucky is 21-6 overall and 10-5 in the SEC while Georgia is 15-13 overall and 6-9 in the league. 
    • UK is 14-3 at home this season, including 13-2 inside Memorial Coliseum.
  • This was the 57th all-time meeting between Kentucky and Georgia in women’s basketball.
    • Georgia leads the all-time series 37-20, including a 14-11 mark in Lexington.
    • Kentucky has won five of the last six meetings in the series.
  • Matthew Mitchell is in his 13th season as the head coach of the Wildcats.
    • Mitchell is 332-160 overall in his career and 302-131 during his tenure at Kentucky.
  • Kentucky is ranked 15th in the latest AP Top 25 and 16th in the latest USA Today/Coaches Top 25.
  • The Wildcats will return to action Sunday when they close out the regular season at Vanderbilt. The game will tip at 2 p.m. ET on SEC Network+.

Team Notes

  • Kentucky used the starting combination of senior guards Sabrina Haines and Jaida Roper, sophomore guard Rhyne Howard, junior forward KeKe McKinney and senior forward Ogechi Anyagaligbo. 
    • This was the fourth time this season that UK has used this starting combination, sitting 3-2.
    • Ogechi Anyagaligbo scored first for Kentucky in the game. This was the fourth time this season that she has been the first Wildcat to score. 
  • Kentucky scored 22 first-quarter points but allowed Georgia to score 20 and end the first quarter on a 7-0 run after UK had taken a 22-13 lead with just under two minutes to go.
  • Kentucky scored 53 points in the first half, which was its most in the first half of a league game this season.
  • Georgia tied its season high in first-half points with 46 while it was also its most points in the first half in league play this season.
  • Kentucky went 10-of-18 from 3 in the first half, while Georgia went 5-of-5 from long range.
    • UK’s 10 3s was one off the most 3s hit in a half in program history, which was 11 vs. Detroit in 1993.
  • The Wildcats went 12-of-20 from 3 in the game, marking the 13th time this season UK has hit 10 or more 3s in a game.
  • UK has 228 3-pointers this season, which ranks third most in program history.
  • The Wildcats went an impressive 20-of-21 from the free-throw line in the game.
    • Jaida Roper was 11-of-11 from the line and has hit 22 straight from the line tying the eighth longest streak in program history.
  • Kentucky had 20 assists in the game and has 20 or more assists two of the last three games.
  • UK scored 22 points off turnovers marking the 21st time this season UK has scored 20 or more points off turnovers.
  • This is the 10th time in Mitchell’s tenure that the Wildcats have won 10 or more league games.
  • Kentucky has earned another 20-win season under Matthew Mitchell, the 10th in his 13-year tenure.
    • This is the 20th time in 46 seasons that UK has won 20 or more games.

Player Notes

  • Sophomore guard Rhyne Howard scored a game-high 25 points in the game, including 13 in the fourth quarter. 
    • Howard has 1,082 career points, moving up to 28th all-time in scoring in program history.
      • Howard needs 53 more to tie for 27th.
    • Howard has hit 146 career 3-pointers, which ranks eighth most in program history.
      • Howard needs 16 more makes from 3 to tie Jenny Pfeffier for seventh all-time on that list at 162 makes.
    • Howard has hit 72 3-pointers this season, ranking seventh on the UK single-season list.
    • Howard has now scored 20 or more points in 18 games.
    • Howard has scored 20 or more points in 13 of her last 14 games.
    • This was the 19th time this season and 35th time in her career that Howard has led UK in scoring.
    • This was the 12th time this season and 31st career time that Howard has led UK in rebounds.
    • In 56 career games, Howard has recorded some impressive numbers:
      • Hit at least one 3 in 50 career games
      • Made three or more 3s in 24 games
      • Made five or more 3s in 9 games
      • Scored 10+ points in 49 games
      • Scored 15+ points in 40 games
      • Scored 20+ points in 28 games
      • Scored 25+ points in 17 games
      • Scored 30+ points in 3 games
      • Led UK in scoring in 35 games
      • Led UK in rebounding in 31 games
  • Senior guard Sabrina Haines scored 15 points in the game.
    • Haines went 3-of-9 from 3 in the game.
    • Haines has hit at least one 3 in 23 games, including three or more 3s in 11 games.
    • This was the 17th time this season that Haines has scored 10 or more points.
    • This was the sixth time this season that Haines has scored 15 or more points.
  • Senior guard Jaida Roper scored 14 points in the game going 11-of-11 from the free-throw line.
    • Roper’s strong showing at the free-throw line was only the 13th time in program history a player has attempted 10 or more free throws and hit every attempt.
    • Roper had five assists in the game, tying for a team high.
    • This was the 12th time this season she has led UK in assists. 
  •  Senior forward Ogechi Anyagaligbo scored 10 points in the game with four rebounds.
    • This is the third time she has scored 10 points tying her season high.

Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

Opening statement…

“Well, all wins this time of year are outstanding and are great. But this one’s a little extra special, just with it being senior night and wow, did the seniors step up in a major, major way. All five of them really played some great basketball tonight to help us win. We needed the win badly and we certainly wanted to send them out on senior night with a victory. So, we’re a happy bunch of Wildcats tonight.”

On Jaida Roper’s impact on the program…

“Well, we would be here all night if I fully explained that, but to try to put it in a few words, she signed in that spring, 2016, and just believed in what she could get done here and believed in what we were doing here and it was at a time that we needed her. I can’t remember, we’ve had so many great players come through here and we’re so proud of all of our players that have come through here. But when I think of people who maximize their opportunity in every facet – as a person she has grown and matured and has become a really great leader for us and understands what the program’s about. She has been an excellent student and her basketball game has just grown an incredible way from the moment she walked in the door. So, she squeezed every single bit out of this opportunity and she’s playing at a really high level in the Southeastern Conference right now at the point guard position and we wouldn’t be nearly the team that we are without her.”

On a hard-fought contest with Georgia…

“Yeah, I thought the first part of that with Georgia, I just thought they were so determined tonight and they’re fighting for position in the league and they’re fighting to finish their season in the conference portion with some momentum and I knew they were going to be tough, they always are. Joni [Taylor] is such a great coach and they always play so hard and they were so tough tonight. It was a really, really tough battle. We were able to stretch it out two or three times and they never went away. So, you have to give Georgia so much credit, but I’m not surprised. That’s their program. They have a great program and we were happy to win.”

On Kentucky’s seniors…

“Having five seniors, the path that everybody took to get to this point, now, they are really a close-knit group and from different parts of the country and have really developed a sisterhood with the five seniors and with the entire team. I thought the team was motivated for them to win tonight. From my standpoint, you want nothing more than for them to walk off that floor with a victory and to be able to get that done tonight for those five, it was really special.”

On Rhyne Howard …

“I think what we need to refocus on down the stretch with Rhyne… Rhyne’s a great defender. We just got out of position a couple times tonight and when you get behind the play and you’re out of position then you are susceptible to running into someone or getting some of those fouls that she got. She can clean that up easily with just focusing on some of her fundamentals because she made some great defensive plays tonight when she was in the right spot. It’s a long season and there’s a lot going on trying to play your best basketball and trying to – you start to think about winning and sometimes you get some slippage in your defensive fundamentals or offensive fundamentals and so you just, as a coach, will bring our team back to that. That can be corrected easily there. We don’t need to make any major shift or adjustment there, but she was fantastic. That fourth quarter was just incredible. We’re all getting used to seeing those kinds of performances. She’s an unbelievable player.”

On Sabrina Haines’ performance …

“So happy for Sabrina. She really came out on a mission tonight and did a great job. I thought her energy, when she’s energetic and making shots and really into it, it’s powerful for our team. KeKe (McKinney) makes a three and then Sabrina goes down and just makes an incredible steal and then a more incredible pass to Rhyne (Howard) and I really thought that was where we were able to finally plant the flag in the ground that we were winning this game. So, she did it on both ends tonight. I’m really, really proud of her. Happy for her and grateful for her contribution.”

On the SEC tournament and possible double bye …

“It’s huge because we want to go win the SEC tournament. That was one of the goals before the season started. The stats don’t lie. It’s much more possible with a double bye than it is without it. I think two teams in the history have won it without the double bye. It is very precious, a very valuable prize to earn to get there. We’ve been thinking about it a lot. We wanted this game badly, not only for our seniors, but for positioning. It was critical that we got the win tonight.”

On Rhyne Howard’s injury status …

“Well we’ve been very fortunate. She’s healed great. She has been able to play with the splint, and now the splint is a little smaller than it was. She got a great report this week. If she continues to progress, we hope we play some basketball this season with her splint free. She needs to continue to progress, but she’s pretty good with it too.”

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