Kentucky falls to Princeton in NCAA first round
Dre'una Edwards scored 16 points, including her 1,000th career point, and grabbed 12 rebounds but the sixth-seeded Kentucky women's basketball team lost to 11th-seeded Princeton 69-62 on Saturday at Assembly Hall.
All-American Rhyne Howard, playing in her final game in a Kentucky uniform, was injured in the
first half and was not the same after. She finished with 17 points and will leave Kentucky as the school's second-leading scorer, man or woman.
She added eight rebounds in Saturday's game.
Freshman Jada Walker was the only other Kentucky player in double figures. She scored 11 points, all in the first half, and added a career-high six steals.
Kentucky (19-12) saw its 10-game winning streak, which included four straight wins to claim the SEC Tournament title, snapped with the loss.
Princeton won its 18th consecutive game with the win.
Princeton (25-4) scored first but Kentucky would answer with a Jada Walker basket, an Edwards run-out layup and another Walker basket, giving the Cats a 6-2 advantage early.
The Tigers would answer with eight in a row to grab a 10-6 lead with 2:32 left in the first quarter. The Cats would get an Edwards layup to cut the deficit to two. Then, near the end of the period, Walker drilled
a three-pointer to give the Cats an 11-10 advantage.
But Princeton's Kaitlyn Chen scored just before the buzzer, giving the Tigers a 12-11 lead after one period.
Princeton scored the first four points of the second period to take a 16-11 lead. Kentucky got on the board on a driving basket from Jazmine Massengill
but the Tigers got a basket and free throw from Ivy League Player of the Year Abby Meyers to establish a 19-13 lead with 7:19 left in the half. Princeton would add a layup from Julia Cunningham to take a 21-13 lead and force a Kentucky timeout with 6:33 left in the first half.
Kentucky would get layups from Robyn Benton and Nyah Leveretter to cut the deficit to 21-17 with 4:57 left in the first half. Meyers would hit a three from the right wing to extend the Princeton lead to 24-17 before Massengill hit a jumper to get the Cats within 24-19 with 4:09 to play in the first half.
Kentucky would get within five twice more before the end of the half, once on a pair of Walker free throws and again on a Walker driving basket, that one making it 28-23. Princeton would score the next four points before Howard hit her first basket of the half, a three, cutting the Princeton lead to 32-26, which would be the halftime score.
Walker led Kentucky with 11 points in the first half. She also had five steals in the first 20 minutes.
Howard scored the first basket of the third period to get the Cats within four, 32-28. Princeton then scored four in a row to lead by eight, 36-28. UK then got a layup from Edwards, a basket from Massengill
and another layup by Edwards to get within two, 36-34, with 6:24 left in the third.
Princeton would hold a 38-36 lead, then added to it with three in a row, grabbing a 41-36 advantage in the process. UK would get a pair of Howard free throws before Princeton's Cunningham hit a three to give the Tigers a 44-38 lead.
Kentucky would try to chip away at the lead near the end of the period, holding Princeton without a field goal for nearly three minutes. But the Tigers hit four free throws to keep UK at bay. Princeton would lead
48-44 after three quarters.
Princeton scored the first five points of the fourth quarter to take its biggest lead, 53-44, with 8:33 to play. UK would get a free throw from Edwards and a three from Howard to cut the deficit to 53-48.
Again, the Cats would try to fight back but, again, the Tigers would keep the lead. The teams would trade two baskets each, then would trade threes, the final one being a Benton triple from the left corner then got UK within five again, 62-57, with 4:04 left in the game.
However, Princeton scored the next four points and the Cats would get no closer than six points the rest of the way.