With a 71-56 triumph over the No. 16 Tennessee Lady Volunteers (12-4, 6-2 SEC) on Thursday night in Lexington, Ky., the No. 20 Kentucky Wildcats (14-5, 7-4 SEC) bounced back big from a major loss to the unranked Ole Miss Rebels on Feb. 4.
Wildcat senior Chasity Patterson scored eight points during a 16-3 Kentucky run to close the game and finished with a team-high 21 points. Junior Rhyne Howard added eight points, seven steals, seven rebounds and six assists to the winning cause.
In addition to her phenomenal scoring, Patterson grabbed five rebounds.
Kentucky was down one point entering the fourth quarter, but took the lead on a Tatyana Wyatt bucket 20 seconds into the final frame. The Wildcats never trailed the rest of the way.
Tennessee kept it close early in the fourth quarter, and a basket by Rae Burrell cut its deficit to two points with 5:08 minutes to play.
The Wildcats, however, closed the game with that 16-3 run, started by Patterson’s made jumper at 4:51-minute mark. It was followed by a Jazmine Massengill 3-pointer with 4:05 minutes remaining in regulation, which made it 60-53 in favor of Kentucky. Massengill made another triple during the run and Patterson added two of her own.
Burrell finished with a game-high 22 points for Tennessee and added six rebounds, while teammate Tamari Key recorded nine points, six blocks and six rebounds.
Yet, it was a big resume win for the Wildcats, who also have wins over the No. 15 Indiana Hoosiers and the No. 18 Arkansas Razorbacks but losses to the No. 22 DePaul Blue Demons, the No. 6 Texas A&M Aggies and the No. 1 South Carolina Gamecocks.
The Lady Vols survived a one-point scare against the Rebels themselves (on Jan. 28), but had won three in a row entering Thursday’s contest, including a 70-53 win over the Wildcats on Jan. 24. However, Kentucky had the advantage of playing more recently, with Tennessee’s most recent contest being a win over the Florida Gators on Jan. 31.
Tennessee star Rennia Davis did not participate in Thursday’s game because of COVID-19 protocol. She did not make the trip to Lexington.
Tennessee: Sunday, Feb. 14 at 3 p.m. ET (ESPN) | at No. 6 Texas A&M Aggies
Kentucky: Monday, Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. ET (SEC Network on ESPN) | at Florida Gators