It would not be an exaggeration to say that Kentucky is the hottest team in women’s college basketball. Riding an eight game winning streak into last night SEC semifinal versus Tennessee, the Wildcats had no intentions of slowing down.
For the second game in a row, Kentucky came out firing on all cylinders. Kyra Elzy had her team ready to compete which allowed them to jump out to a 14-3 lead early in the first quarter.
With a 22-13 lead at the end of the first, Tennessee and Kentucky traded blows in the second as the Vols began to heat up from the floor. Despite a more competitive second quarter, Kentucky took a 44-37 lead into the locker room.
Tennessee would not go down without a fight as they cut Kentucky’s lead to one in the second half. The Wildcats followed this up by going a 10-2 and sealing an 83-74 win to advance to the SEC championship.
The MVP for Kentucky was once again Rhyne Howard, but it was the impressive performances of her teammates that allowed Kentucky to upset the 18th ranked Volunteers. Jada Walker, Robyn Benton, and Treasure Hunt all scored double figures on Saturday night. The trio combined for 43 points, including nine made threes
With the win, Kentucky now turns their attention to the top-ranked team in women’s college basketball. In their previous two meetings, South Carolina defeated Kentucky. In Columbia, a first quarter battle was all the Wildcats had energy for. The Gamecocks pulled away for a 20-point victory after an 18-18 first 10 minutes. In Lexington, it looked like South Carolina was on their way to another blowout victory, but a fourth quarter explosion by Rhyne Howard allowed for a respectable final score of 59-50.
Tip-off for the SEC championship will be at 2 PM ET on ESPN.