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Recap: Stars clash, Howard’s buzzer-beater falls short in Louisville’s win over Kentucky

As expected, the Kentucky Wildcats’ Rhyne Howard and the Louisville Cardinals’ Dana Evans gave everything they had. Evans’ team won, though, with the help of Kylee Shook and a 3-pointer from Howard that fell short.

NCAA BASKETBALL: MAR 25 Div I Women’s Championship - Second Round - Kentucky v NC State
Kentucky Wildcat Rhyne Howard came up just short in her buzz-beating win attempt.
Photo by Michael Berg/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The No. 7 Louisville Cardinals (10-1) held on for the 67-66 victory over the No. 14 Kentucky Wildcats (10-1) on Sunday after Wildcat star sophomore Rhyne Howard missed a somewhat-contested 3-point attempt from the right wing at the buzzer.

Senior center Kylee Shook scored Louisville’s last five points, all coming in the final three minutes. Her third three of the game gave the Cardinals a 67-64 lead with 1:51 to go. But Kentucky’s Sabrina Haines made two of three free throws after being fouled on a long distance look. Neither team scored after those free throws, which came with 1:33 remaining.

Entering Sunday, Shook was 3-of-14 on 3-point attempts but went 3-of-5 on Sunday against Kentucky. She added 13 rebounds and five blocks to her performance while Dana Evans, the Cardinals’ leading scorer, contributed 18 hard-fought points to go along with 10 assists.

For Kentucky, Howard finished with a game-high 26 points, 20 of which came in the first half, with 15 of those points scored in the second quarter alone.

It was a close game throughout, with the Cardinals leading for slightly more time than the Wildcats. Kentucky held the largest lead, 10 points. Evans scored nine points in the opening frame, helping her team get off to a 21-16 lead after one quarter.

With a 24-10 second quarter, Howard and Kentucky made the statement that they can contend with top-10 teams. The Wildcats let this one slip away but it should be a confidence-booster moving forward, given that they did not face tough competition in their first 10 games.

Louisville missed all five shot attempts from long range in the first half, but finished 5-of-15, with Shook making the one that really counted. Kentucky’s 10-of-19 effort from beyond the arc was in vain. The Cardinals won the points in the paint battle: 36-16.