Kentucky womens basketball loses to Alabama, suffers first defeat to Tide in Lexington since 2014


Carter Skaggs

Kentucky Wildcats forward Adebola Adeyeye (25) guards an Alabama player during the Kentucky vs. Alabama womens basketball game on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023, at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Kentucky. Alabama won 72-65. Photo by Carter Skaggs | Staff

Ali Cetinok, Assistant Sports Editor

In what was supposed to be a rebound win to salvage a slow season for Kentucky womens basketball turned out to be anything but for the team as Kyra Elzy’s squad lost 72-65 to Alabama on Thursday night inside Memorial Coliseum.

For the first time in program history, Alabama won five straight road games after beating the Cats at home as well as winning in Lexington for the first time since 2014.

The Wildcats, however, looked more threatening in the early goings, jumping out to an 11-point lead in the second quarter and holding Alabama to zero points in 10 minutes over two quarters.

With the score being 26-15 halfway through the second quarter, Alabama started to complete shots and was able to hit a couple of 3-pointers in a row to make it just a two-point game at halftime.

Kentucky was only able to score nine points in the third quarter, with the Wildcats shooting just 25% from the field. Alabama would go into the final quarter leading 49-42.

In the fourth quarter, Alabama extended its lead to 15 points before Kentucky made a late run.

The Wildcats looked promising for a comeback, going on a 7-0 run to get within six with the score at 65-59 and 59 ticks on the clock. A 3-pointer from Robyn Benton with 20 seconds remaining would bring the score to 70-65, but was too little too late.

Alabama was pushed to victory by Brittany Davis who finished with 22 points. She also got 11 boards to earn another triple-double for her career. Aaliyah Nye scored 16 points, including four threes, along with four rebounds for the Crimson Tide.

Jada Walker led the Cats in scoring with 15 points. She would go on to finish with four rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block.

An added 14 points from Robyn Benton and 11 from Maddie Scherr proved not enough for a Kentucky victory on Thursday night as Adebola Adeyeye also had nine points and nine rebounds before fouling out late in the fourth.

The Tide achieved the first win in Memorial Coliseum off of 13 of 28 from beyond the arc, while Kyra Elzy’s squad hit seven of 21 from three-point range.

“They’re a great three-point shooting team. Obviously, they’ve shot the ball well all conference season long. We gave them some open threes early that didn’t go and then we just gave them way too many open threes,” Elzy said. “We did not close the gap. Make them put the ball on the floor, 13 for 28, ballgame. You look at the stat sheet across we’ve either won or tied in most statistical categories but at the end of the day 13 of threes – ballgame.”

With five games left in the regular season, Kentucky is running low on time to improve its record, but according to Elzy, her team is fully focused on how they will finish the season rather than how they have performed thus far.

“You talk about five games left, that’s an eternity and, you know, one at a time. That’s all you can focus on the next game up is the most important. We’re not going to lay down, we cannot give up obviously, not where we want to be.” Elzy said. “But we can control our own destiny in the remaining games and keep fighting, keep learning, keep growing and going to work and obviously winning is the name of the game and find a way to get over the hump.”

Elzy and the Wildcats return to action on Feb. 13, as they head down to Oxford, Mississippi to take on Ole Miss with tipoff currently set for 7 p.m. EST and can be seen on the SEC Network.