In their second game without leading scorer Rhyne Howard (fractured finger) the Kentucky women’s basketball team (17-4, 6-3) blew a 10-point halftime lead in a 70-62 loss to the Florida Gators (12-10-3-6) Sunday afternoon at Memorial Coliseum.
The Gators slowly chipped away at Kentucky’s 29-19 halftime advantage as they outscored the Wildcats 24-17 in the third quarter and 27-16 in the fourth to finish the comeback.
Kentucky’s downfall was their inability to rebound. Florida out rebounded the Wildcats 45-27, which did not sit well with head coach Matthew Mitchell.
“We got absolutely smashed on the boards today,” Mitchell said postgame. “It’s really, really disappointing. It’s a real lack of effort there on the boards, so we’ll have to see if we can bounce back from that.”
Chasity Patterson, who posted a career-high 25 points, added, “We didn’t box out, and we should. That’s on us. That is totally on us.“
Another issue for the Wildcats was a poor shooting performance from behind the three-point line. Kentucky shot just 3-20, which was one of their worst shooting performances of the season.
“We generally make around nine a game,” Mitchell pointed out. “So, you know, we missed those 18 points badly. We definitely offensively, to be at our peak, we need to shoot the three better than we did today.”
The Gators comeback was sparked by Lavender Briggs, who recorded a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Both Zada Williams and Nina Rickards also played key roles with 12 points each. With the win, Florida snapped a four-game losing streak to Kentucky that had dated back to 2016.
Despite the loss, there’s no panic from Wildcats guard Jadia Roper who said, “I feel like, as a team, we’re real disappointed with this one, especially since we know what we’re capable of. Everyone has bad days. I think Coach (John) Calipari said it the other day, everyone has a bad day. Today was just not a good day for the lady Cats.”
The Wildcats will look to bounce back Thursday when they host the Alabama Crimson Tide.