Princeton upsets Kentucky 69-62 in women’s NCAA basketball tournament

by Skip Daley – South Central Indiana News Network

“It’s been fun,” said All-American Senior Guard Rhyne Howard of her collegiate athletic career, which came to an end on Saturday evening.  “I don’t really look at the accomplishments or anything, it’s just the connections I’ve had with my teammates and my coaches. I wouldn’t change it for the world. I love all of them. I know that they gave their all for me today and this season.”

Howard has accomplished quite a bit over the past 4 years, including 2019 National Freshman of the Year, All-American status, countless Conference Awards, school records, and a few Gold Medals while representing the U18 and U19 USA Teams.

But her senior season concluded today at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, as #11 seeded Princeton outplayed the #6 seeded Kentucky Wildcats, defeating them 69-62.

Princeton came to play, and although outsized by the Wildcats, they were able to outshoot them, hitting 49% from the field. Princeton Guard Abby Meyers led the Tigers with 29 points, hitting 9-21 from the field and 9-11 from the foul line.

“I thought Abby had a great game,” said Kentucky Head Coach Kyra Elzy. “She’s a phenomenal guard. I thought she made some big plays. Her ability to score on all three levels, and if you give her any space, it’s going up, and she’s very efficient offensively.”

Princeton seemingly out-hustled Kentucky, bringing down 37 rebounds, and using the clock to their advantage throughout the game. Even though the Tigers turned the ball over 19 times, it is difficult to overcome shooting only 35%, as Kentucky did today.

Kentucky won the 2022 SEC Tournament last week after defeating LSU, Tennessee, and #1 South Carolina, but didn’t appear in the game from early on. It was a physical game, with two of Kentucky’s best players requiring medical attention in the first half. But more than that, it seemed as if the Wildcats were battling the officiating team as much as they were battling the Tigers.

Kentucky was called for 20 Personal Fouls during the loss, including a 3rd quarter Technical which was attributed to Howard after she offered continued words with the referee, thinking she was fouled while scoring on a drive to the basket.

Princeton maintained a lead for nearly 38 of the 40 minutes, although Kentucky did make it a game down the stretch, closing within 5 points in the waning minutes. But they were not able to cut deep enough into the deficit.

The Wildcats end their season at 19-11, while the 24-4 Princeton Tigers advance to the Round of 32, where they will meet the #3 seeded Indiana Hoosiers. Princeton will look to continue their 18-game winning streak. Indiana is hoping that their home court advantage can assist to propel them to the Sweet Sixteen for the second consecutive year.

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