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UK Women lose to Princeton in the first round of the NCAA Tournament 69-62

Nyah Leveretter, Rhyne Howard, Ellie Mitchell
Posted at 6:18 PM, Mar 19, 2022

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The Kentucky Women's Basketball season came to an end, falling to 11th-seeded Princeton 69-62 in the first round of the 2022 NCAA Women's Tournament.

The Wildcats allowed the Tigers to shoot nearly 50 percent from the field. Ivy League Player of the Year, Abby Meyers, led the Tigers with 29 points while Kaitlyn Chen contributed 17 points.

UK three-time All-American, Rhyne Howard, shot 4 of 14 from the floor for 17 points and eight rebounds in her final collegiate game. Dre'una Edwards led the way for the Cats with 16 points and 12 rebounds, while Jada Walker chipped in 11 points, three assists and a career-high six steals.

Kentucky scored 21 points off Princeton's 19 turnovers, but the Cats were held to 35 percent shooting by the Tigers. UK also lost the rebound battle 37 to 30.

The game started off great for the Cats who were aggressive on defense early, stealing the ball three times by the first media timeout. Star freshman Jada Walker had back-to-back steals and connected on a three with 24 seconds left. Kentucky trailed 12-11 after the first.

Rhyne Howard, however, exited the game with an apparent lower-body injury and went back to the locker room after the first timeout. Howard did not return until the second quarter.

Princeton came out in the second quarter on a 9-2 run and led 21-13 at the 6:35 mark. Dre'Una Edwards, UK's second-leading scorer, walked towards the bench after being poked in the left eye and would not return for the rest of the first half. With four seconds remaining, Rhyne Howard scored her first points of the game with a three to end the second quarter. Kentucky trailed 32-26 at halftime.

To start the second half, Kentucky went on a 6-0 run in the third to cut the Tigers lead to 36-34 at the 6:23 mark. The Cats outscored the Tigers 18 to 16 in the third with Rhyne Howard scoring eight in the quarter.

With four minutes to go in the fourth, Robyn Benton connected on a three pointer to make it 62-57, but UK fell into a three and a half minute scoring drought at the most inopportune time possible. Neither the Wildcats nor the Tigers made another field goal for the rest of the game.

The Wildcats magical run ends with a 19-12 record, capturing the school's second SEC Tournament Championship.