The stakes were high for Kentucky and Texas A&M heading into Sunday’s matchup inside Memorial Coliseum. Unfortunately for Kyra Elzy’s ’Cats, the result was one that likely slams the door shut on Kentucky’s postseason hopes.
Kentucky came out of the gates strong, scoring 26 points in the first quarter. That mark was the Wildcats’ second best offensive performance in the first quarter this season. Their best came against La Salle in which they scored 27. During the fast start, freshman Jada Walker went down and Kentucky’s offensive efficiency went downhill from there.
Leading 26-15 after one quarter, Kentucky went ice cold from the floor and was committing turnover after turnover in the second. Thankfully for the ‘Cats, Texas A&M was no better only scoring five points compared to Kentucky’s six. A big reason why Kentucky struggled so much in the quarter was the lack of assertiveness by Rhyne Howard. Howard did not have a single field goal attempt in the second quarter.
Coming out of the halftime locker room, the offensive execution was still not there. With Walker and Benton out of the game, Texas A&M exhausted all of their defensive energy on Rhyne Howard. Howard was making smart plays and getting her teammates the ball, but they were not delivering. This led to another disappointing third quarter as the Wildcats only put up nine points. Meanwhile, the Aggies were starting to find their groove on the offensive end.
Despite their struggles, Kentucky still had a two point lead heading into the fourth quarter. With both team’s season on the line, the effort and intensity was high as both teams traded blows. As crunch time approached, Rhyne Howard became more assertive and began to attack and find her shot. Down 51-47 thanks to lethal three point shooting from Destiny Pitts, Howard helped lead the Wildcats back late in the game to tie it at 55-55 and force overtime.
The overtime period was dominated by Texas A&M. The lack of depth following the loss of Walker was evident as Kentucky looked winded the entire period. The Wildcats were unable to close out on the Aggies’ shot attempts and allowed Gary Blair to escape Memorial Coliseum with a victory in his final game in Lexington.
The losses are without a doubt disappointing, but what’s even more frustrating is that the BBN has not had the opportunity to see what this team could be at full strength. Kentucky was almost back at full strength today until Jada Walker‘s early game injury. There will be plenty of time to discuss Kyra Elzy’s future, but it is worth noting thar her roster has been extremely thin since early January.