Stars struggle as Cats lose to Louisville for sixth year straight


Jack Weaver

Kentucky Wildcats guard Maddie Scherr (22) dribbles up the court during the Kentucky vs. Louisville womens basketball game on Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. Louisville won 86-72. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Ali Cetinok, Assistant Sports Editor

2,558 Days. That’s how long it has been since Kentucky womens basketball has won a game against Louisville.

Since Dec. 10, 2015, the Wildcats have lost six times in a row against their rivals. 

Kentucky struggled immensely against the Cardinals on Sunday, with Louisville being able to make UK’s best players virtually irrelevant in the game.

Heading into the matchup, Jada Walker was averaging 15 points per game, but on Sunday she scored just three points, with her first field goal not coming until there was only around a minute left to play in the fourth quarter.

Walker being shut down greatly hindered the Cats’ ability to win the game with their starting point guard having little to no impact on the outcome of the game. 

Walker was not the only Wildcat who struggled against Louisville though, with veteran Blair Green also finishing with only three points as well. Green had averaged 10 points per game prior to the matchup with the Cards but, like Walker, her first score didn’t come until around 6:30 left in the game.

The disappointing performances against Louisville are something that Kentucky desperately needs to fix, lest the Cats are satisfied to wait another 2,000 days before winning against their biggest rival. 

Louisville entered the matchup on Sunday ready to play, featuring physicality that Kentucky simply couldn’t compete with.

Liz Dixon, a six-foot-five Memphis native, finished with 16 points and was a force in the paint for the Cards all day. Dixon was 5-6 from the field and 6-7 from the free-throw line, also garnering three rebounds, two assists and one blocked shot.

Hailey Van Lith also took apart the Kentucky defense, scoring 21 points with four assists to her name.

Morgan Jones also made a big difference for the Cards, finishing with 12 points, shooting 5-7 from the field. 

Despite making one shot on 15 attempts from beyond the arc, Louisville’s physicality, as well as shooting 33-39 from the line, made all the difference against the Wildcats to extend UofL’s winning streak to six games. 

On the positive side for Kentucky, the Wildcats now find themselves 7-2 on the season with the only two losses of the season being to ranked teams.

In the losing effort, at least three players scored in double digits for the eighth time this season, with Kentucky standing 6-2 in games when at least three players scored 10 or more points.

Robyn Benton finished the game with 20 points while junior guard Maddie Scherr had a career-high 18 points, shooting 6-10 from the field, 2-4 from beyond the arc and a perfect 4-4 from the line.

Ajae Petty also finished with 11 points on the day.

Kyra Elzy’s squad didn’t perform entirely poorly, but it was simply a case of “too little too late” against the Cards, with Elzy explaining just that post game. 

“Obviously we don’t want to start slow. That’s not what we’re trying to do and that’s not our intention,” Elzy said. “You know, credit to Louisville, I thought they came in and played really hard. You know it just took us a minute to get settled into the physical game. I thought after we did adjust, in the second half, but that’s too long. It took us too long to get settled in.” 

Regardless, being unable to have the entire team clicking has been a recurring issue for the Cats all season. If two of UK’s best players are unable to perform when it counts, it may be a very long season for the Wildcats.

Kentucky is running out of time to fix its issues before the SEC begins play, with just three more outings until the Cats travel to Columbia, Missouri, on Dec. 29.

UK’s next game is against Murray State on Friday, Dec.16, inside Memorial Coliseum. Both Walker and Green will be looking for bounce-back performances against the Racers.