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Kentucky Kernel

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Kentucky Kernel

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Kentucky women’s basketball falls 59-48 to Florida Gulf Coast in first road game

Kentucky+head+coach+Kyra+Elzy+coaches+her+team+during+a+timeout+during+the+Kentucky+vs.+ETSU+womens+basketball+game+on+Tuesday%2C+Nov.+7%2C+2023%2C+at+the+Clive+M.+Beck+Center+in+Lexington%2C+Kentucky.+Kentucky+won+74-66+Photo+by+Travis+Fannon+%7C+Staff
Kentucky head coach Kyra Elzy coaches her team during a timeout during the Kentucky vs. ETSU womens basketball game on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023, at the Clive M. Beck Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 74-66 Photo by Travis Fannon | Staff

Kentucky women’s basketball (2-2) suffered its second loss of the season Sunday, losing 59-48 to Florida Gulf Coast University inside Alico Arena in Fort Myers.

The loss marked the Wildcats’ second game without senior guard Maddie Scherr after she exited their win against USC Upstate early in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury.

Turnovers would plague Kentucky early in the first quarter, with the Eagles earning seven points of their 11-0 opening run off turnovers including a 3-point basket from junior Maddie Antenucci. 

The remainder of the first quarter wouldn’t differ from the way it began, with Florida Gulf Coast maintaining an 11-point lead despite efforts from Kentucky sophomore Amiya Jenkins.

“We need (Jenkins) all the time, but we really needed her today,” Kentucky head coach Kyra Elzy said when asked about Jenkins’ performance in the absence of Scherr. “I thought she gave us solid minutes today.”

Entering the second period, both teams would exchange buckets with 10 of the Wildcats’ 12 points coming courtesy of Jenkins and senior forward Ajae Petty as Kentucky failed to chip away at its 11-point deficit as it headed into the half.

The third quarter would start in the same manner the game did, with Florida Gulf Coast going on a 12-2 run to start the period and double the Eagle advantage.

“We gave them way too many open layups,” Elzy said. “Our biggest issue was that we were turning the ball over which ignited them offensively.”

The Wildcats committed a season-high 18 turnovers on Sunday, spotting the Eagles 28 points in the process.

A Kentucky run would shorten the Eagle lead to 15 but would be snuffed out as Florida Gulf Coast fifth-year senior Sofia Persson scoring eight of her 12 points in the third quarter to extend the Eagle advantage to 24.

The Cats’ offense would show life to start the fourth quarter as Kentucky opened on a 13-0 run to cut Florida Gulf Coast’s lead in half.

“We just couldn’t have any quit in us,” Elzy said. “We had to sell out offensively and defensively and play our style of basketball so when we were able to get stops, we could push in transition.” 

Many stops would come the Wildcats way, but the Wildcat surge would come too late as UK’s 17-4 fourth quarter would end with an 11-point loss.

The Cats will look to bounce back when they take on No. 10 North Carolina State to kick off the 2023 Paradise Jam at the University of Virgin Islands Sports and Fitness Center in the U.S. Virgin Islands with tip off scheduled for 3:15 p.m. ET.

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