Women's Basketball: Florida Gators 83, Kentucky Wildcats 73 - Postmortem

Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky just didn't have it today against the smaller, thinner Florida Gators.

After a solid road win at Alabama, Kentucky came into Memorial Coliseum and laid an egg, falling to the Florida Gators 83-73 in spite of having far more talent and a much deeper bench. It was a game in which Florida was the more energetic and sharper team despite being unranked and having many players injured.

Congratulations to Florida for finally beating Kentucky after five straight defeats. There is no doubt at all that Florida deserved the win and Kentucky deserved the loss. The Gators held Kentucky without a basket for the last 8 minutes of the game, and I use the word "held" advisedly, as Kentucky repeatedly missed layup after layup.

Observations

  • Kentucky surrendered a ton of easy points to Florida in the first half instead of making them run offense. The Wildcats saw the Gators repeatedly shred their press for layups.

  • Kentucky's passing in this game was loathsome. They managed only 12 assists to 15 turnovers, and Kentucky, who is used to winning the turnover battle 2 to 1, barely won it at all.

  • Jennifer O'Neil tried to do far too much, and had her teammates standing around. Not good.

  • Despite the return of DeNesha Stallworth, Kentucky struggled to score in the paint.

  • Despite a significant size disadvantage, the Gators had a very good day inside, and that was the reason for their 49% shooting.

  • Free throw shooting is never a strength for Kentucky, but today, it was a serious weakness. The best stats I have show UK shooting 57% from the line to Florida's 74%.

  • There was simply nothing that Kentucky did well today overall, except possibly rebound. I really don't have good enough stats to tell you, but Kentucky managed 19 OR's which seems like a lot.

  • Kentucky's defensive execution in this game suffered from ... something, I'm not sure what. They continually left players wide open in the post. It was something I haven't seen from them all season.

  • Florida's zone really gave Kentucky trouble, and they couldn't make enough threes despite having many open ones. I think Mitchell was determined to go inside and exploit a rebounding advantage, but the Gators were having none of it.

  • DeNesha Stallworth played, but she didn't contribute much. That's not surprising, but it was good to see her back out there. We need her.

  • Azia Bishop is a serious offensive liability shooting only 37% from the free throw line. She did make two in the clutch, though.

  • I thought Berneshia Pinkett had a really good game with 9 points (all from 3).

  • Kastine Evans repeatedly turned down open jump shots, drove the ball under the basket and got trapped.

This is one of those games that happens to you in conference — you come in playing well and then you just lay an egg. This was a bit time ostrich egg, as Kentucky had no business losing this game at home to a scrappy, but undersized and undertalented Florida team. Matthew Mitchell was not at his best on the sideline, either. This was, in general, a combination of a failure of the whole team to fire, including the coaching staff, and some outstanding play by a Gator team that just wanted it more.

Next up: #13 South Carolina, on the road, next Sunday. After this loss, that one is a major gut check.

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