Arkansas womens basketball wins at Kentucky for first time since 2003


Michael Smallwood

Kentucky Wildcats guard Jada Walker (11) shoots the ball during the Kentucky vs. Arkansas womens basketball game on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Kentucky. Arkansa won 71-50. Photo by Michael Smallwood | Staff

Ali Cetinok, Asst. Sports Editor

Kentucky started the new year with its second straight loss to begin the SEC season stumbling 71-50 against Arkansas (14-3) on Sunday afternoon at Memorial Coliseum to move to 8-6 on the season.

Kentucky was without leading scorer Robyn Benton, who missed the game with a dislocated finger and in her absence UK’s offense was severely impacted. Kentucky made just 26% of its shots from the field hitting just two of 14 from three.

Blair Green had 14 points going 5-19 from the field and drilling two of six attempts from beyond the arc after she committed two early fouls something that Kyra Elzy believes put the Cats at a disadvantage.

“Blair got a foul and [we] went back to her with two fouls. I trust her as a vet to come back in and play.” Elzy said. “We couldn’t go too long without her.”

Joining her Jada Walker had 13 points going 6-14 while Maddie Scherr had eight points, ten boards and assists but went 1-11 from the field and missed all five of her attempts from three-point range going 6-7 at the line.

Arkansas however shot 42% from the field and played the game of averages against the Cats shooting 8-25 from behind the arc.

Erynn Barnum nearly had a triple-double for the Razorbacks with 17 points, eight rebounds, a career-high seven assists and three blocks.

Saylor Poffenbarger also had a solid day with 17 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two blocks while Makayla Daniels reached double digits with 11 points, including three 3-pointers in the third quarter adding four assists.

While scoring 33 points off Kentucky turnovers, The Razorbacks shot a season-high 82 percent from the free throw line nine from 11 attempts and tallied a season-high 22 assists.

The absence of Benton was a fact that Elzy’s squad was not able to overcome on Sunday, something that she said was not known until right before tipoff.

“It was a game-time decision and we will still take it day-by-day. We definitely missed her on the floor as she is our leading scorer and a veteran guard.” Elzy said. “When that happens—which injuries do happen—we talk about ‘next man up’ and being ready when your number is called. I didn’t need any of them to be Robyn Benton but, collectively, we had enough to get the job done and play this game for her. It was a very disappointing day.”

With the Cats starting out SEC play at 0-2, Elzy now finds her team in a position where adjustments need to be made in order to have successful season.

“Myself and the coaching staff will go back and evaluate how we’re playing and the changes that we need to make.” Elzy said. “It’s still early but obviously what we’re doing isn’t working. The goal is to win and we’ve got to find a way to do that.”

Elzy and the Wildcats seek their first win of the SEC season on Thursday, visiting Georgia to take on the Bulldogs with tipoff scheduled at 7 p.m. ET. The game can be seen on the SEC Network.