Kentucky sets season high for turnovers in 64-58 loss to Louisville in Jimmy V Classic


Kentucky Wildcats guard Jada Walker (11) puts the ball up during the UK vs. Merrimack women’s basketball game on Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 90-56. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Cole Parke

No. 14 Kentucky (6-3) fell short 64-58 against No. 7 Louisville (8-1) on Sunday in the ESPN Jimmy V Classic at the KFC Yum! Center.

Kentucky set a new season high for turnovers in a game, surrendering 21 turnovers, with 12 in the first half alone. The 21 giveaways overtakes the previous record of 19 set against West Virginia.

“I thought Louisville was really aggressive defensively and made us play faster than we wanted to play,” Kentucky head coach Kyra Elzy said. “Some of them were careless turnovers, some of them I thought were from their pressure.”

The loss is the second in a row for Kentucky, after the Cats lost to DePaul in Rupp Arena on Thursday. The Wildcats were without their two leading scorers against the Blue Demons, Rhyne Howard and Dre’una Edwards, for much of the game after Howard got into early foul trouble and Edwards faced a suspension for ‘not upholding the academic standards of the team’.

“I’m sad I missed the game but I made a mistake,” Edwards said. “Elzy held me accountable.”

Kentucky finished Sunday shooting 39 percent from the field on 54 attempts, though Louisville wasn’t much better, shooting 40 percent on 65 attempts. 

The Wildcats went 3-13 from beyond the arch, an unfortunate step-up from their prior performance that saw them go 0-14. Fortunately for Kentucky, the Cardinals also struggled from deep, shooting just 4-13.

Edwards co-led the Wildcats in scoring with 14 points alongside Treasure Hunt. Senior guard Robyn Benton led the Cats for much of the affair, finishing with 13 points, before fouling out late in the fourth quarter.

Louisville controlled the majority of the game, being in the lead for 34 minutes as opposed to Kentucky’s two minutes in front

Despite the noticeable imbalance, Kentucky entered halftime ahead by one point after a Louisville scoring drought, compounded with a Wildcat scoring run. 

Though they entered the halfway break with momentum, Kentucky went cold in the third quarter to surrender the lead. The Wildcats shot 1-13 from the field and scored a total of six points, four by way of free throws by freshman Jada Walker.

Kentucky would lead one final time in the game late in the fourth quarter when they jumped ahead 54-53, but a swift 6-0 run by the Cardinals saw Louisville take a lead that they wouldn’t surrender. 

Kentucky continued fighting, with Hunt getting the team within three points with less than a minute to go, but an inability to find a good scoring opportunity and a technical foul called on coach Elzy ultimately saw Louisville take the victory over the Wildcats by six points.

“It’s not the call that I liked,” Elzy said regarding the late technical foul. “I was trying to protect one of my players, but it is what it is.”

Kentucky returns to action this Friday, Dec. 17, back in Memorial Coliseum to battle the Morgan State Bears. The game is scheduled to tip-off at 7 p.m. E.T and will air live on the SEC Network+.