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No. 16 Kentucky women hold off No. 13 Gamecocks 65-57

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Freshman Rhyne Howard and senior Taylor Murray scored 17 points apiece and No. 16 Kentucky ended a nine-game losing streak against No. 13 South Carolina on Thursday night, beating the Gamecocks 65-57 for their first win in Columbia since 2012.

Marci Morris, another senior, added 12 points for the Wildcats (22-5, 9-4 Southeastern Conference), making all three of her baskets and scoring 10 points in the fourth quarter after missing her first eight shots.

Alexis Jennings and Destanni Henderson had 12 points apiece for the Gamecocks (19-7, 11-2), who played the second half without leading scorer Te’a Cooper because of a sprained ankle.

Howard had 10 points as the Wildcats took a 30-24 lead at the half. The Gamecocks shot 32 percent and had 12 turnovers.

South Carolina went 8 of 11 from the foul line in the third quarter and outscored Kentucky 19-10 to take a 43-40 lead into the fourth quarter.

Murray and Bianca Cuevas-Moore swapped baskets before Morris hit a 3-pointer and converted a 3-point play on consecutive possessions to put Kentucky up for good. Murray scored to cap an 8-0 run.

Henderson had a pair of 3-pointers for South Carolina but in between Howard scored on a jumper and hit a 3 and Kentucky led 55-51 with less than four minutes to play. Morris hit a 3-pointer and Amanda Paschal made two free throws to push the lead back to nine nearing the three-minute mark. Henderson’s 3 with 2½ minutes left cut the deficit to five but in the last 1:09 the Wildcats made 5 of 6 free throws and the Gamecocks missed four straight shots.

BIG PICTURE

Kentucky: To win their fifth straight, the Wildcats made 6 of 12 from distance and 13 of 14 from the line. Murray led the way with eight rebounds, tying her season high, five assists and four steals. … The shorter team matched South Carolina with 34 rebounds. … Kentucky lost the first meeting 74-70.

South Carolina: The Gamecocks were just 5 of 20 from 3-point range. Freshman Victaria Saxton made her first start and scored seven points with six rebounds. … Kentucky’s other home losses were against Top 10 teams Maryland and now-No. 1 Baylor.

UP NEXT

Kentucky: It will be Senior Day for the Wildcats on Sunday before playing LSU.

South Carolina: At Tennessee on Sunday.

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