Rupp Arena was packed tonight on a windy, rainy night in Lexington. The second largest crowd to ever see a UK women's basketball game turned out – 10192. Unfortunately for UK, the large crowd did not bring out the offense.
As they have all year, UK struggled on the offensive end of the court. UK jumped out earlier and took a 6-0 lead. Rupp was rocking. However, it was not meant to be. UofL battled back and took the lead at 10-9 with 11:25 remaining in the first half and really never relinquished. Sarah Elliott, UK's dominant sophomore center picked up 2 quick fouls and was relegated to cheerleader. With Elliott out the game, the ‘Cats had no inside offensive presence. UK would battle UofL during the first half but would see the Lady Cards stretch their lead all the way to 31-16 before the ‘Cats were able to close the lead to within 9 at the end of the first half.
The ‘Cats came back out to start the second half with a great intensity. With Elliott back in the game, UK began to feed the post and when Louisville decided to double team Elliott, Jenny Pfeiffer took over from outside the arc. UK overcame the halftime deficit to tie the game at 40-40 at the 13:51 mark. The ‘Cats just couldn't get over the hump though. They went cold from the field, going into a 5 minute draught. At the 3:45 mark, the ‘Cats were still within striking distance with UofL leading 54-50. However, after a couple of costly turnovers, UK was forced to begin fouling. UofL won the game, 64-55.
The game had its bright spots for UK. Jennifer Humphrey was tenacious on the boards and pulled down a career high 16 rebounds. Jenny Pfeiffer was huge from outside, hitting 5 of 8, totalling 19 points for the game. However, the dark spots were ever more present. The starting combination of Bowman, Humphrey, Ormerod, and Mahoney went a combined 4 for 39 from the field for a dismal 10%. Kentucky was outrebounded 50-49 when they normally boast a +11.4 rebounding margin over their opponents.
Coach DeMoss was clearly disappointed after the game stating "It's a very disappointing loss. Offensively, we had another dismal night. When you have a young team and you don't have somebody step up on the offensive end and stick it in the hole, it really messes with your confidence. When (Sarah) Elliott picked up that second foul and went out, we seemed to lose a little confidence on the offensive end. We didn't have anyone step up until the second half. (Jenny) Pfeiffer stepped up and hit those threes and really got us back in the game. But, it was very disappointing on the offensive end. We played good enough defense to win the game with the exception of a couple transition situations. Our half-court defense was, once again, solid. Our board play was good. It wasn't great, but it was good. We took care of the ball, only had 12 turnovers. I'm very disappointed we didn't execute and knock shots down."
It won't get any easier for this team. On Saturday, they take on Wake Forest from the tough ACC at Wake and then on Monday they return to Memorial Coliseum to face undefeated Bowling Green State University who is receiving attention from the Top 25 pollsters. Unless Coach DeMoss and her ‘Cats find their offensive groove, its going to be a rough rest of the season as conference play is also set to begin.
UK Media Release Below
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Junior guard Jenny Pfeiffer (North Vernon, Ind.) scored a game-high 19 points and senior forward/center Jennifer Humphrey brought down a career-high 16 rebounds, but Kentucky's second-half rally came up short in a 64-55 loss to Louisville on Wednesday in Rupp Arena.
Sophomore center Sarah Elliott (McKee, Ky.), plagued with foul trouble for the entire game, added 12 points for the Wildcats, who were unable to overcome a poor shooting night in front of 10,192 fans - the second-largest crowd for a women's game at the downtown Lexington venue.
The Cats (9-2) shot just 24.2 percent (16-of-66) from the floor and failed to stop a dominant UL (8-2) post presence that out-scored UK in the paint 38-16. Kentucky overcame a nine-point halftime deficit to tie the score at 40 with 13:50 remaining in the game and hung tough with the Cardinals for much of the second half, but Louisville ended the game on a 10-5 run to seal the victory. The Cardinals shot 36.4 percent (24-of-66) from the field and out-rebounded UK 50-49.
"It's a very disappointing loss," UK Coach Mickie DeMoss said. "Offensively, we had another dismal night. When you have a young team and you don't have somebody step up on the offensive end and stick it in the hole, it really messes with your confidence. When [Sarah] Elliott picked up that second foul and went out, we seemed to lose a little confidence on the offensive end.
"We didn't have anyone step up until the second half. [Jenny] Pfeiffer stepped up and hit those threes and really got us back in the game. But, it was very disappointing on the offensive end. We played good enough defense to win the game with the exception of a couple transition situations. Our half-court defense was, once again, solid."
Pfeiffer, whose 19 points came all in the second half, knocked down 5-of-8 shots from long distance and made 4-of-4 free-throws in 21 minutes of action. Humphrey, who posted 10 boards in the first half alone, tied her career-high with four blocks to complement her personal best in rebounds. Sophomore guard/forward Chante' Bowman (Detroit) added eight rebounds, four assists and two steals, while freshman point guard Carly Ormerod (Louisville, Ky.) dished out a team-high five assists and brought down a career-high six rebounds. Elliott added two blocks in the game to move into sole possession of seventh place on UK's career blocks list with 69.
"We let them get up and down the floor on us a couple of times in transition for some easy baskets," DeMoss said. "That was the result of some poor shot selection and some turnovers. Their athleticism possibly could have bothered us in the half-court offense because we were not getting great looks at the basket on the perimeter."
After using a late 10-4 run to close the first half, the Cats remained close to open the second half, coming within seven, 39-32, after a three-point play by Elliott at the 16:27 mark.
Pfeiffer followed with a pair of resounding three-pointers to cut UK's deficit to two, 40-38. A jumper by Elliott in the paint capped off a 12-1 run by the Cats and tied the score at 40 with 13:51 left in the game.
The Cardinals then went on an 8-0 run over the next 4:38 to move back in front by eight, 48-40, before Pfeiffer's third three-pointer ended the UK scoring drought. After falling behind by nine, 54-45, UK went on a 5-0 run capped off by a three-pointer from Pfeiffer to come within four, 54-50, with 3:09 left. The Cats, however, were unable to come any closer as the Cardinals were able to close out the win.
The Wildcats broke to a quick start to begin the game, scoring the first six points, including back-to-back baskets by Elliott. UK forced the Cardinals to miss their first five shots of the game. After an Ormerod three-pointer at the 14:37 mark put the Cats up 9-4, Louisville used an 11-4 run to move in front 15-11 on a jumper by Jessica Huggins with 9:59 left in the half.
From there, the Cardinals scored seven of the game's next nine points to extend their lead to 22-13 with 6:42 remaining on a basket by Yuliya Tokova. UL's Patrika Barlow had five points during that stretch. After a pair of free-throws by Ormerod cut UK's deficit to eight, 24-16, the Cardinals scored seven consecutive points as part of a larger 16-5 run to move ahead 31-16 with 4:19 left in the period.
"I really felt like we started the game well," DeMoss said. "[Chante'] Bowman scored on a putback and [Sarah] Elliott scored and then went out with her second foul. When she went out, I don't know if the rim got smaller for everyone else. [Sam] Mahoney obviously struggled tonight and when your players struggle like that, it messes with a young team's confidence. It was a little different than the LSU game. We've got to get better offensively. We've got to find some people who can put the ball in the hole."
Kentucky used a 10-4 run over the final 3:38 of the half, sparked by five points from Samantha Mahoney (Detroit). UK trailed 35-26 at the intermission after shooting just 24.3 percent (9-of-37) from the floor in the opening period.
The Cardinals were led by Angel McCoughtry's team-high 17 points and 12 rebounds.
Kentucky returns to action Saturday when it travels to Winston-Salem, N.C., to take on Wake Forest. Tip off is set for 1 p.m. in the Lawrence-Joel Memorial Coliseum and the game will be broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio) with Neil Price.