Cats face two tropical tests during Thanksgiving week in The Bahamas


Jackson Dunavant

Kentucky Wildcats guard Robyn Benton (1) drives toward the basket during the Kentucky vs. Coastal Carolina woman’s basketball game on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022, at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 79-53. Photo by Jackson Dunavant | Staff

Ali Cetinok, Assistant Sports Editor

Kentucky womens basketball will spend its Thanksgiving at the 2022 Baha Mar Pink Flamingo Championship at the Baha Mar Convention, Arts & Entertainment Center in Nassau, The Bahamas, where it will face two very different opponents.

The Virginia Tech Hokies enter the event ranked No. 14 in the country while the Dayton Flyers find themselves winless thus far.

In only its second season, “Baha Mar Hoops” will play host to 20 mens and womens teams in which a total of 24 games will take place.

The event in Nassau will also see Alabama, Missouri, Ole Miss, Utah and Wake Forest compete, and will also mark Kentucky’s first ever appearance.

The event also marks the first time Kentucky has traveled out of the country since 2018 when the Wildcats defeated South Florida, UCLA and North Carolina to secure the Paradise Jam title in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Wildcats first game is against a formidable No. 14 Virginia Tech squad on Monday, Nov. 21, at noon EST. The Hokies are currently undefeated with convincing victories over Mount St. Marys, Bucknell and USC Upstate.

Virginia Tech averages 82.3 points per game and also boast an average margin of victory of 45.6 while shooting roughly 46% from the field.

Virginia Tech went 23-10 last season, earning its second most wins in program history before an underwhelming showing in the NCAA tournament where it lost in the first round as a No. 5 seed to Florida Gulf Coast 84-81.

That said, the Hokies will be Kentucky’s strongest opponent so far this season by a large margin.

The Cats will play their second game at the Baha Mar Convention, Arts & Entertainment Center against a winless Dayton team, with the Flyers currently struggling to find any positives in the early stages of their season.

With losses against Providence, Illinois State and Akron, the Flyers have averaged 66.7 points per game and margin of defeat of 9.7, shooting only around 40% from the field.

Overall, the event in Nassau serves as a great gauge for what this new Kentucky team will be moving forward deeper into the rest of the season.

The Cats currently sit at a perfect 3-0 after great performances from Jada Walker and Robyn Benton on Sunday against Coastal Carolina.

This event in The Bahamas also serves as a great chance to earn a win against a ranked opponent in Virginia Tech, as well as proving UK can handle business against a weaker Dayton team.

In the meantime, Kentucky will face another winless team before going to The Bahamas.

The Wildcats are set to play Bellarmine at home Thursday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. EST, which can be viewed live on the SEC Network+.

All games in Nassau will be aired on FloHoops.