No. 13 Kentucky falls to conference foe Florida


Kentucky senior guard Jaida Roper calls for her teammates during the game against Auburn on Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 68-61. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

Eric Decker

Well, nobody ever said it was going to be easy.

No. 13 Kentucky wasn’t able to get its Super Bowl Sunday, or as it was in Memorial, National Girls and Women in Sports Day victory as they fell 70-62 against the Florida Gators.

It was a tough day for the Cats (17-4, 6-3 SEC) as the team went a combined 38 percent from the floor and were outrebounded 45-27 as they played their first home game since sophomore guard Rhyne Howard fractured her finger. Howard is set to be back in action mid-February.

“We’re real disappointed with this one, especially because we know what we are capable of,” Jaida Roper said after the loss. “Everyone has bad days; I think Coach Cal said in an interview the other day everyone has a bad day and today was just not a good day for the lady Cats.”  

Coming off one of their better shooting nights on the road against Missouri, Kentucky was led today by Chasity Patterson with 25 points on 9-of-19 shooting and four steals, and Roper who added 15 points. No other Cat reached double digits.

The Cats initially struggled in the first quarter, shooting 33 percent. They were able to build up a sizable lead with strong defense and a little help from the refs. The foul differential was 3 to 8 in favor of Kentucky, including a technical foul on the head coach of Florida, Cam Newbauer. Kentucky held the Gators (12-10, 3-6 SEC) scoreless for a five-minute stretch that led to an 8-0 run for the Cats.

Roper went 3-of-4 in the quarter with eight points. Patterson only shot 1-of-4 but was able to amass seven points by going 5-of-6 from the free throw line.

Kentucky was able to hold Florida to 24 percent shooting in the first half as they went into the break with a 29-19 lead.

The defensive tenacity for Kentucky seemed to linger away in the second half, aside from Patterson, who added a couple more swipes, as Florida mounted its eventual comeback. The Cats allowed Florida’s leading scorer in freshman Lavender Briggs to go for 18 on the day, including a 4-of-8 mark in the third quarter. The Gators went 3-of-5 from three-point-range in the quarter, with another freshman Brylee Bartram hitting both of her attempts. 

It wasn’t until with 2:45 in the third quarter did Kentucky hit its second three-pointer of the game when Roper nailed one from deep. 

The fourth quarter was much of the same for Kentucky defensively as they allowed Florida to shoot 4-of-6 from three as they build up a lead that wouldn’t be relinquished. Patterson had an efficient quarter with 10 points, but the rest of Kentucky went 1-of-9 down the stretch.

Coach Mitchell pointed out the rebounding difference as one of the key aspects of the result of this game.

“If you give that kind of effort it’s really gonna be tough,” Mitchell said. “We’re not a great rebounding team in the first place… We got absolutely smashed on the boards today, it’s real disappointing, it’s a real lack of effort there on the boards.”

The Cats look to bounce back this Thursday when they see the University of Alabama come to Lexington. The 7 p.m. tip-off is set to be broadcasted on SEC Network+.