UK Women's Basketball

Morris leads way, Howard makes debut in UK women’s exhibition win in Italy

Freshman Rhyne Howard scored 15 points in Kentucky’s exhibition victory against Marghera Select on Friday.
Freshman Rhyne Howard scored 15 points in Kentucky’s exhibition victory against Marghera Select on Friday. UK Athletics

Senior guard Maci Morris scored a game-high 24 points after going 6-for-8 from long range to help the University of Kentucky women’s basketball team earn an dominating 81-64 win over the Marghera Select Team on Friday in Venice, Italy.

Freshman guard Rhyne Howard scored 15 points in her UK debut after missing the first two games of the tour while playing for the USA U18 Team and earning MVP honors in Mexico City. Howard added four rebounds and four steals in the game.

Sophomore forward KeKe McKinney was the only other Wildcat to score double figures, posting 11 points with three rebounds and two steals.

Kentucky, which struggled to find its shooting touch in its second game of the foreign tour, had no problem filling the stat sheet Friday, shooting 40 percent from the field and hitting eight threes.

Defensively, the Wildcats were all over the court, forcing Marghera into 39 turnovers on 23 UK steals. Marghera, who won the rebounding battle 40-34, shot just 38 percent from the field and hit seven three-pointers. After shooting 13 free throws in the first half, Marghera did not reach the charity stripe in the second half.

Morris paced the Wildcats offensively, going 7-for-10 from the field with six of the seven made shots being from long range. Her 24 points were the most scored by a Wildcat in the three-game foreign tour. The senior also added three rebounds, three steals and went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line.

Eight other Wildcats scored in the game, including eight points, three rebounds and three steals from freshman Blair Green and six points, six steals and four rebounds from senior guard Taylor Murray. Sophomores Tatyana Wyatt and Kameron Roach each scored four points, while Nae Nae Cole had three. LaShae Halsel, Dorie Harrison and Jaida Roper each had two points.

The Wildcats started the foreign tour with a 73-41 victory over the Bosnia and Herzegovina National Team in Rome on Sunday before a 64-46 loss to the TK Hannover professional team Tuesday. Kentucky is 22-3 all-time in international play after finishing the trip 2-1. The Wildcats started the tour in Rome for three days before two days in Florence and two nights in Venice.

The Wildcats will travel to Lake Como on Saturday to complete the trip before returning to the Bluegrass State on Monday.

The foreign tour was the first for the UK program since traveling to France and Switzerland in May of 2001.

LaShae Halsel, who will be a senior this season on the University of Kentucky women's basketball team, received a pleasant surprise from head coach Matthew Mitchell on Monday afternoon.