Kentucky womens basketball’s rollercoaster conference season nears its end


Travis Fannon

Kentucky Wildcats head coach Kyra Elzy coaches her team during the Kentucky vs. Missouri womens basketball game on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2023, at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 77-54 Photo by Travis Fannon | Staff

Aaron Benjamin, Reporter

Few things went well offensively for Kentucky womens basketball during its 74-52 loss against Ole Miss on Monday. 

The Wildcats went 3-14 from the 3-point line, just 21.4%, while three of the team’s starters did not record a point.

Unfortunately for the Cats, offensive struggles have been apparent far before Monday’s loss, with the team having been struggling since the end of 2022.  

Kentucky started the new year with a ranked matchup against Arkansas in Lexington. The Hogs dominated the Cats, winning by 21 points in what was the Razorbacks’ first win in Lexington since 2003.

The Wildcats then traveled to Stegeman Coliseum in Athens to take on Georgia. The game would be close near the final buzzer before the Cats ultimately fell in a close contest, losing 64-60. 

Next up was No. 7 LSU in a match that proved to be difficult for the blue and white as the Tigers jumped out to a 30-17 halftime lead.

Going into the fourth quarter the Tigers would lead by 27 and eventually took the win to drop the Cats to 0-4 in SEC play. 

Kentucky Wildcats head coach Kyra Elzy walks off the court after the Kentucky vs. No. 1 South Carolina womens basketball game on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023, at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Kentucky. South Carolina won 95-66. Photo by Olivia Hall | Staff (Olivia Hall)

With the Cats still winless in conference play, No. 1 South Carolina entered Memorial Coliseum on Jan. 12, giving them a chance to down the reigning national champions.

Kentucky even remained competitive in the game through the first three quarters, only trailing by eight. 

Yet, in the fourth quarter, the point differential would favor the Gamecocks by as many as 21 as they would cruise to victory. 

The Cats would eventually find their first SEC victory on the road at Florida, winning 81-75 following the tough loss to the Gamecocks.

Unfortunately for Kentucky, the celebration would not last long as the Cats lost their next two games against Mississippi State and Auburn by a combined four points. 

The Wildcats seemed to come back to life in Memorial Coliseum on Jan. 29, recording a 23-point win over Missouri with four of UK’s five starters getting double-digit point totals in the contest.

Kentucky had that winning energy heading into their rematch with the defending national champions, only this time the Cats did not have home advantage. 

While the Cats ultimately fell to South Carolina 87-69, Kentucky did a better job at not letting too many points up in a single quarter, showing progress after recording its big win.

Then, this past Thursday, Feb. 9, the team lost to Alabama 72-65, coming up just short, an all-too familiar story for the team this season. 

Shifting the focus back to the Ole Miss matchup, the Cats lost 74-52, regressing from their performance against the Crimson Tide. 

Now, with its back on the ropes, the team has just four games left in the season – Georgia, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M and Tennessee – before heading into the SEC Tournament, which will be held in Greenville, South Carolina, at the beginning of March. 

With a rally desperately needed for seeding purposes, the Cats will return to play on Thursday, Feb. 16, inside Memorial Coliseum when they take on the Georgia Bulldogs for the second time this year.

The game is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. EST and will be televised on the SEC Network+.