With momentum on their side, Kentucky walked into an energetic Bud Walton arena with a lot to prove. The Wildcats were looking to extend their win streak to four and improve their seeding for the all important SEC tournament that is looming right around the corner.
Coming out of the gates, Rhyne Howard and Dre’Una Edwards were on a mission. The dynamic duo scored 18 of Kentucky’s 23 first quarter points. Howard went 4-4 in the first quarter, including 3-3 from three-point range. Edwards came off the bench and was immediately effective as she added seven points to Kentucky’s first quarter total.
With a nine-point lead heading into the second quarter, Kentucky kept their foot on the gas defensively as Howard became human again for just a six point output in the next 10 minutes. The Wildcats have continued to impress on the defensive end throughout this win streak and the entire season. After a hard fought half, Kentucky had their grasp on an 11-point lead heading into the locker room.
Kentucky caught some more lighting in a bottle coming out of the halftime break as they put on a 26-point clinic to extend their lead into the 20s. Howard and Edwards were getting their production, but it was the balanced attack after those two that allowed the Wildcats to put their firm grip on this game.
With the game squared away, sloppiness was the name of the game in the fourth. Arkansas had emotionally checked out of the game and Kentucky let off the gas pedal with both teams barely breaking double digits in the final quarter.
Overall, it was the combination of Rhyne Howard and Dre’Una Edwards along with stifling defense that allowed Kentucky to walk out of Fayetteville with a statement win. Howard and Edwards both tallied a double-doubles with Howard’s 29 points and 10 rebounds and Edwards‘ 17 points and 13 rebounds. The team as whole defended very well, only allowing one Razorback player (Amber Ramirez) to score double-digits.
It’s clear that Kyra Elzy has finally found a winning formula with this team. Having the entire roster back has worked wonders for the Wildcats and has allowed them to at least begin thinking about the idea of being on the NCAA tournament bubble. There‘s still plenty of opportunities for Kentucky to improve their resume and if they continue to showcase this improvement, those opportunities may be just enough to get this team into the big dance.