No. 23 Kentucky lose fourth straight; fall 63-54 to Ole Miss at Rupp Arena


Kentucky guard Rhyne Howard (10) dribbles into pressure during the UK vs. Ole Miss womens basketball game on Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 63-54. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Cole Parke

No. 23 Kentucky (8-7) came up short 63-54 against Ole Miss (17-2) inside Rupp Arena on Sunday. The loss marks the fourth straight for Kentucky.

Kentucky started the game by falling into a 10-1 hole, which they would ultimately never overcome. Despite getting as close as two points a few times, Ole Miss would lead for nearly 39 minutes, not trailing for even a second.

The Cats finished the game 0-6 from beyond the arch, officially making their three point shooting percentage in Rupp Arena 0-20 this season. Kentucky shot 0-16 in its loss to DePaul inside the famed arena in December. Both games inside Rupp Arena are Kentucky’s only without a made three-pointer this season.

Kentucky entered the contest tonight short staffed, with only seven players on the roster ready to play. Senior guard Robyn Benton was out after the ankle injury she suffered in the Cats’ 77-52 loss to Florida on Thursday.

“Her status is day-to-day,” Kentucky head coach Kyra Elzy said. “Right now she’s working with Courtney, our trainer, and our medical staff. They’re amazing.”

Another key piece missing for the Wildcats was Dre’una Edwards who was initially labeled as out against Florida due to a suspension for disciplinary action. Edwards, who was not on the bench against the Gators, remained absent against Ole Miss. Coach Elzy was hesitant to comment on whether or not she would travel with the team for their upcoming road games.

Despite the loss, spirits were higher in the Kentucky locker room following the single digit margin of defeat to Ole Miss, with all three prior losses coming by 20 or more. Elzy seemed satisfied with the team’s intensity as opposed to that of the Florida loss.

“I thought we showed a lot of fight today,” Elzy said. “I asked [the players] to ‘earn their blue’ and that was to leave their hearts on the floor and hustle. I thought we did some of the things we needed to do. We came up short today, but the margin of error is so small. There’s no quit in us, we just have to figure out a way to get the job done.”

Kentucky star senior Rhyne Howard co-led all scorers on the night with 24 points, tying her third highest scoring performance this season.

“I’ve just been trying to keep everyone confident,” Howard said after the loss. “[If we] continue to work hard then it’s going to pay off eventually. I thought today was a big step in the right direction, we just came up short today.”

Elzy expressed confidence that the team will snap their losing streak soon if they continue to maintain their intensity going forward.

“Are there things we can clean up? Absolutely,” Elzy said. “But it’s a lot easier to clean up mistakes when you’re playing hard. We focus on one game at a time, we’ll watch this game, and go back to work tomorrow. We missed an assignment here or there but it wasn’t due to a lack of effort. [All our mistakes] were things we can fix, which keeps me optimistic.”

Kentucky returns to play on Tuesday, Jan. 25, for a make-up game at Auburn. An airing location and time have yet to be determined. The matchup against Auburn will be the first of three road games the Cats will play in one week with the final one being against No. 11 LSU in Baton Rouge on Sunday.