Kentucky offense struggles as Cats suffer second straight loss


Jack Weaver

Kentucky Wildcats guard Robyn Benton (1) looks up the court during the Kentucky vs. UNC Greensboro womens basketball game on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 82-56. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Dotun Sola-Adeyemi, Reporter

Coming off a disheartening loss at the hands of in-state rival Louisville, Kentucky’s (7-3) attempt to get back on the right track against Murray State failed as the Cats lost 51-44 on Friday.

The game got away from the hosts early as turnovers, as well as an inability to create open looks against Murray state’s zone defense, put the Cats in a 9-2 hole. 

The turnovers continued to pile up after the first timeout of the game but were offset by UK’s own ability to record steals courtesy of sophomore Jada Walker’s aggressive perimeter defense.

Offense proved hard to come by for Kentucky in the game as the Wildcats endured their worst offensive performance of the season, tallying only 20 points at the half and shooting a season low 32% from the field for the entire game. 

UK’s shooting woes were made even more evident as the Murray State defense repeatedly forced the Cats into perimeter shots that failed to land. 

Despite that, the game was still within striking distance for the hosts as a late 10-point fourth quarter flurry from veteran guard Robyn Benton kept Kentucky close, but the additional offensive support needed to pull off the comeback win simply wasn’t there. 

Speaking on the Wildcats’ recent trend of slow starts, head coach Kyra Elzy noted it as something the team is going to have to fix.

“Whether it’s a change in the lineup (or otherwise), we have to get off to better starts offensively and defensively,” she said.

The Racers’ zone defense didn’t just limit the Wildcats to perimeter shots, it also discouraged their guards from attacking the paint – whether that meant attempting to score or find a teammate – with the team combining for just four free throw attempts. 

“We’ll go back and work against the zone,” Elzy said. “Show them (the players) where the gaps are and how to attack them.”

Now with two losses under their belts, the Wildcats will be looking to return to the win column on Sunday, Dec. 18, as they host Florida Gulf Coast inside Memorial Coliseum. Tipoff against FGCU is scheduled for 1 p.m. EST and will air live on the SEC Network+.