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Kentucky Kernel

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ANALYSIS: Rebounding and free throws sank Kentucky women’s basketball versus Alabama

Travis Fannon
Kentucky guard Saniah Tyler sits on the guard after missing a shot during the Kentucky vs, Tennessee Tech women’s basketball game Monday, Dec. 4, 2023, at the Clive M. Beck Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 73-67. Photo by Travis Fannon | Staff

Kentucky women’s basketball (9-12, 2-5) has been struggling on all aspects of the court this season and, after losing to the Alabama Crimson Tide on Sunday night in Tuscaloosa, the Wildcats now sit three spots out of dead last in the SEC.

Alabama was able to take advantage of the Cats’ lack of rebounding and inability to make free-throws as the Crimson Tide put up 91 points while managing to keep Kentucky’s score as low as 74.

Kentucky was outrebounded 47-29 in the loss, with the difference seeing the Cats only grab ten offensive rebounds compared to Alabama’s 17. Kentucky struggled even more on the defensive end though as it was outrebounded 30-19.

The starting five for Kentucky managed to grab 23 rebounds while Alabama’s starters grabbed 30 – not a terrible differential – however Kentucky’s bench had a little more trouble, only grabbing five boards compared to Alabama’s bench, which grabbed 12.

Kentucky head coach Kyra Elzy chooses to motor her offense through one of her starters, Ajae Petty, who leads the team in points, rebounds and blocks, but when Petty can’t do what she does best – which is score in the paint and get aggressive on the glass – there is a good chance Kentucky won’t succeed.

Alabama had a plan for Petty and it executed it perfectly as the Baltimore native was held to a minimum of two points and seven rebounds, spiraling into one of the main reasons the Cats were defeated.

The other main reason Kentucky dropped its fifth game in conference play was because it struggled from the free-throw line. The Wildcats missed many given opportunities to rally back as they went 5-13 (38.5%) from the charity stripe.

While UK stayed undisciplined shooting free-throws, Alabama took advantage of its opportunities from the line, tacking on an additional 20 points going 20-25 (80%).

Had Kentucky nailed all of its free-throws, the game still would have resulted in a loss, however, if the Cats grabbed more rebounds they would have given themselves more offensive opportunities and chances to score.

Kentucky looks to build off of these flaws and fix them before Feb. 1 when Mississippi State (16-5, 3-3) comes to town for a 7 p.m. game in Rupp Arena. That game can be viewed on the SEC Network+.

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