Kyra Elzy talks Louisville women’s basketball heading into Jimmy V Classic


Kentucky sophomore guard Rhyne Howard drives into the lane during the Kentucky vs University of Louisville women’s basketball game on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. UK lost 67-66. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Cole Parke

Kyra Elzy and company have a quick turnaround after the DePaul loss Thursday night to focus on their rivalry matchup with Louisville in the ESPN Jimmy V Classic.

Kentucky struggled without their two leading scorers, Rhyne Howard and Dre’Una Edwards. With Howard being in foul trouble for much of the game and Edwards facing a one-game suspension for ‘failing to uphold the academic standards of the team.’

Coach Elzy commented on Edwards’ suspension Friday afternoon:

“I addressed last night that she didn’t meet the standards of the program,” Elzy said. “[She faced] a one-game suspension and now we’re moving forward and that’s how it is. [Dre’una] will hit the floor against Louisville.”

Elzy also spoke on the nature of the rivalry, with Kentucky and Louisville being engaged in an eternal feud as in-state rivals. Prior to the game this weekend, only two players, Rhyne Howard and Blair Green, had actually played against the Cardinals with last season’s matchup being canceled. To make matters worse, Green is out for the season with a lower leg injury.

“[The rivalry] is something we talked about,” she said. “We’re both in the state of Kentucky, and we’re both great basketball teams that are going to compete against each other. They understand the importance of how the fans love this game and the energy and intensity that surround it.” 

With the game being in the KFC Yum! Center in downtown Louisville, Elzy also made it clear she was aware that the environment would be less than welcoming.

“Obviously going into the [KFC Yum! Center], that’s always a hostile environment,” Elzy said. “But we’ve been there. We played on the road at Indiana [earlier this season] and all the games that you play prepare you for your next opportunity. We just have to remain completely composed and poised offensively and take care of the ball. We’ll have to match their physical fitness and toughness.”

One large point of focus for Kentucky heading into the matchup against the Cardinals will be Louisville’s defense, as they only allow an average of 46 points per game. Despite the number being just over half of what Kentucky usually scores, Elzy seemed undeterred.

“Obviously [Louisville head coach Jeff Walz] has done a great job with the team,” she said. “They play really hard defensively. We just have to be aggressive and take care of the ball and take whatever the defense gives us. We have to be smart offensively and poised.”

The Jimmy V Classic matchup between Kentucky and Louisville is set to tip-off at 1 p.m. this Sunday, Dec. 12. It will be available to watch live on ESPN.