FINAL: Kentucky’s High Hopes Grounded in a 78-66 Loss to Georgia in SEC Tournament

Grant Grubbs7 months


Aritcle written by:Grant GrubbsGrant Grubbs


<small>Photo by UK Athletics</small>
[caption id="attachment_341576" align="aligncenter" width="1366"] Photo by UK Athletics[/caption] The Kentucky Women’s Basketball Team will be heading home early this year from the Southeastern Conference Tournament. The Wildcats were defeated by four-seeded Georgia 78-66 in the quarterfinals of the tournament on Friday. Rhyne Howard’s 33 points were not enough to shoulder the weight of Kentucky’s dragging offense. To make things worse, Georgia began the game hot and never seemed to cool down. The Bulldogs finished the contest with four players scoring more than 12 points. Simply put, Georgia had all the answers and Kentucky had none. For the second day in a row, Kentucky started out slow. Georgia began the game going on a 15-2 run. However, Kentucky was able to fight back and only trailed 17-10 heading into the second period. Georgia eventually went into the halftime break leading Kentucky 35-20. Rhyne Howard was doing all she could to carry her team by scoring 12 points in the first 20 minutes. Nevertheless, Howard could only do so much when the rest of the team was 3/20 from the field in the first half. Scoring was only one of Kentucky’s many issues. With the help of eight first-half rebounds from Georgia center Jenna Staiti, the Bulldogs had four times more offensive rebounds than Kentucky at the half. No matter what Kentucky’s mistakes were made in the first two periods, the fact of the matter is that 20 points in a half won't win many games Despite an impressive burst of energy out of the half from the ‘Cats, Georgia continued to cause problems for Kentucky. Both Howard and Treasure Hunt had to play carefully on the defensive end due to foul trouble. In other words, Kentucky’s two best scorers were restrained throughout the third period. Thankfully for the ‘Cats, Chasity Patterson stepped up to the plate. After not scoring a single point in the first half, Patterson recorded 11 points in the third period. Georgia headed into the final ten minutes leading 58-47. Kentucky turned on up the heat in the fourth quarter, but Georgia’s players had the ice. Kentucky’s press attempts were repeatedly broken by Georgia guards leading to easy buckets on the other end. Kentucky’s final effort was not enough to save them this time. Georgia destroyed the ‘Cats high hopes and won the game 78-66. Georgia was led by Maya Caldwell and Jenna Staiti who both scored 20 points on the game. Many of these Georgia points came at the stripe. The Bulldogs were 23/29 on the day from the free-throw line, while Kentucky only shot 10 free-throws the entire game. Furthermore, the ‘Cats failed to turn over the Bulldogs who are known for being one of the most careless teams in the SEC. The Bulldogs only had eight turnovers on the day and thoroughly controlled the game. Not once did the Wildcats take the lead and they certainly didn’t finish with the win. Kentucky will have to regroup and replan as they head into the NCAA tournament later this month. Kentucky’s heartbreaking loss should be more than a painful memory, but a useful motivator for the ‘Cats as they move forward.

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