7:24:54 WBB vs. Tennessee

Kentucky Wildcats head coach Kyra Elzy yells to her team during the University of Kentucky vs. Tennessee women’s basketball game on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 71-56. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Kentucky women’s basketball takes on Winthrop this Sunday, Nov. 21, a full week after the Wildcats suffered their first loss of the season on the road against No. 8 Indiana. 

Though the Wildcats kept it close early, the Hoosiers pulled away in the second half to win the game by 21 points.

“Obviously that wasn’t the showing we wanted in Indiana,” head coach Kyra Elzy said. “Coming off a loss it’s always an opportunity to grow. We went back to our fundamentals on defense, our basic shell, and offensively we went back to the film and saw we took some quick shots early on. We’re working on cleaning up our timing.”

Though the loss was rough for the Wildcats, Elzy remained confident, insisting that nothing that went wrong can’t be cleaned up and fixed going forward. 

“It ended up being a 21-point game, but when you go back and look at it, it was really the third quarter that it got away from us,” Elzy said. “It was a six-point game with 3:52 left [in the quarter] and we just let it get away from us. We weren’t in the right position and I thought we settled for some quick shots and didn’t really make them work on defense, which ignited their offense. I just told the team when we watched the film that all [the mistakes] were fixable. We just have to go back to practice and get better.”

The week between games has been the longest break Kentucky has had thus far this season, starting the year with three games in a six day span.

“[The break] really benefits us as it lets us get back on the practice floor and clean up some things,” Elzy said. “When you’re playing that many games [in that short amount of time] you’re just prepping and playing. [A break] gives us a chance to really watch some film and then hone in on the things we need to work on.”

Coach Elzy also emphasised several specific points that the Cats need to work on moving forward.

“Two points of emphasis are transition defense and 50/50 balls,” Elzy said. “Today we spent practice cleaning up our offense, setting the screen timing, spacing and all the little details that make our offense work.”

Elzy continued with the focus on the transition defense of the team, something she also criticized them for following their season opener against Presbyterian.

“We have got to sprint the floor,” Elzy said. “I thought our offense was affected early because we didn’t hit our shots so we just stopped going to things we do well, and one of those things is pushing in transition. Once we got the ball in transition and attacked, we talked about playing downhill, putting our feet in the paint, and not just settling for quick offensive shots. When we do those things we’re very dangerous in transition offense.”

Despite another big game coming up for the Wildcats on Dec. 1,  coach Elzy affirmed that the team is just focused on Winthrop for the time being.

“We like to take it one game at a time,” Elzy said. “Right now we have to focus on Winthrop. Our schedule is set up so that we’re going to be in big games again and it’s just a journey that we’ve got to get better everyday. I think when [it comes] we’ll be ready for the moment.”

The Wildcats tip off with Winthrop at home this Sunday at 2 p.m. The game can be viewed on the SEC Network+.