Skip to content

Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.

A closer examination of Kentucky WBB’s disappointing season

(Photo by Eddie Justice | UK Athletics)

(Photo by Eddie Justice | UK Athletics)

If there’s one thing more worse than being straight-up bad, it’s being painfully mediocre. Although I wouldn’t go as far as to say the Kentucky Women’s Basketball team was mediocre, they were certainly underwhelming. After being knocked out of the NCAA Tournament in only the second round, the Wildcats’ season needs a closer look.

Wins and losses

To be frank, the Wildcats beat most of the teams they were supposed to, but upset nobody. The team played in 11 top-25 matchups and won five of them. Of Kentucky’s five ranked wins, only one of those teams made it past the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament: Indiana.

In what isn’t a coincidence, Indiana was Kentucky’s first top-25 game of the year. Likewise, Kentucky was Indiana’s first ranked opponent of their season. Indiana was a team that started off slow and got better as the season progressed. Unfortunately for the ‘Cats, their season seemed to move in reverse order. If we’re being honest, the Indiana win could be considered a fluke.

Over the course of the season, the rest of Kentucky’s wins were exposed to be not as impressive as many had thought. Tennessee and Georgia were upset in the second round of the NCAAs, Arkansas was upset by 13-seeded Wright State in their first tournament game, and Mississippi State wasn’t even invited to the big dance.

Truthfully, it was sad to see for this year’s Wildcats. The team never got a shocking victory, an I-told-you-so win, or even a memorable moment.  This year the hopes were high for a reason. Due to talented transfers, highly-touted freshmen, and bonafide stars, Kentucky was supposed to be good. Instead, they were begrudgingly acceptable.

Too much talent to not be better

Kentucky’s record was saddening, but the root of the issue was the people behind it. If you looked up the word inconsistent in the dictionary, there’d be a picture of this team.

Especially early on in the season, the Wildcats had moments of greatness. Even an average observer could see flashes of potential; quick glimpses into what this team could be. Unfortunately, that’s all it ever was — what they could be.

The potential of this team never came to fruition. No matter how many long breaks were taken to regain composure, no matter how much dedication to a specific issue was given, the same problems would pop up again like old friends.

Despite having numerous scoring options, the Wildcats struggled all year to have repetitive double-figure scorers other than Rhyne Howard and Chasity Patterson. Each player took their turn in the limelight and then would disappear as quickly as they had stepped up. Whether it was Blair Green, Dre’Una Edwards, KeKe McKinney, or Treasure Hunt, it seemed like it was physically impossible to string together impressive outings.

Role players weren’t the only issue, either. Howard was undeniably fantastic this season, but she had her faults. The All-American always made it look like she was playing at her own pace, whether for better or worse.

(UK Athletics)

Playing at a controlled pace is good until everyone else is running past you down the floor. Howard would simply take breaks at times. The 6-foot-2 superstar surely played a lot, but if you’re not going to give it your all on the court, then get out of the game.

You can be the best player in the world, but sitting in a corner doesn’t help your team. Refusing to step up to the challenge of guarding the opposing best player doesn’t help your team. Settling for three-pointers when nobody can stop the drive doesn’t help your team.

Howard was amazing this year but, she too is not above reproach. Neither is the coaching staff.

Stagnant Strategies

Coach Elzy entered the season under unprecedented circumstances. The expectations were high and the time to adjust to being head coach was short. She may have been around Coach Mitchell for years, but stepping into his position was a whole other story.

Coach Elzy was seemingly excellent at inspiring the team but struggled to figure out how to seal up the team’s leaks. Rebounding was essentially a crisis for this team from the first tip-off, yet the crisis was never averted.

Letting opposing teams drive to the basket was kryptonite at the beginning of the year and just as much of a weakness by the end. Although Coach Elzy would make attempts of switching up lineups and defenses, there seemed to always be something missing.

To an extent, players have to play. But, it’s hard to believe there wasn’t more that could’ve been done. Every team in the country has natural issues due to personnel, but not every team allows those issues to fester into fatal flaws.

Final Thoughts

The season could’ve been much worse, but it definitely could’ve been a lot better. With the majority of the team’s key players returning next season, there are still brighter days in the future.

It’s frustrating to continue to have moral victories, but they will pay off in the long run. This team’s disappointing close to the season can’t be viewed as a wasted opportunity, but a learning experience.

Each individual involved with the team has to drop their pride at the door this offseason and genuinely evaluate themselves. The team has a long way to go before achieving their goals, but it’s not an endless road. If the ‘Cats use this season as motivation to keep chugging along, they’ll inevitably reach their destination.

Article written by Grant Grubbs

17 Comments for A closer examination of Kentucky WBB’s disappointing season

  1. UKgrad80
    1:10 pm March 26, 2021 Permalink

    I disagree with two things you stated. One coach Elzy was not good at inspiring her team they came out flat and played very uninspired many games. Second they did not beat everyone they should have they lost to a very bad Ole Miss team twice, a team that only won 4 SEC games all year!

  2. Shagaris Sock Puppet
    1:13 pm March 26, 2021 Permalink

    At least they made the tournament and won some games…

    • 4everUKBlue
      1:21 pm March 26, 2021 Permalink

      Unless my memory is worse than I think…they made the tournament and won ONE game (one and some are completely different) and if it were the men haters would say yeah but they beat a very bad team. They got blown the F….out from the get go in the second game.

  3. TBW3011
    2:27 pm March 26, 2021 Permalink

    Tough position for a coach who’s never been a head coach. She didn’t do a great job. Not trying to be critical of Elzy because it’s understandable. What I’m really saying is Mitch removing the interim tag was ridiculous.

    • peaches76
      2:49 pm March 26, 2021 Permalink

      And gave a 6 year contract!

    • eastofmidnight
      5:13 pm March 26, 2021 Permalink

      Haven’t seen anything definitive on the length of Coach Elzy’s contract but it is public record and accessible. Regardless, we saw something similar at Tennessee when they gave Holly an extension and shortly thereafter fired her. My sense is that ADs do that in order to provide the coach a golden parachute. Holly walked away with a HUGE payout. My guess is that if Coach Elzy is terminated early absent any misconduct she will be entitled to what she is owed in the contract. And she is more likely to depart quietly with a check in hand. I don’t agree with the concept but do believe that is how ADs think.

  4. Looother
    2:49 pm March 26, 2021 Permalink

    At least they didn’t disrespect the flag, military, country, and half the fan base by kneeling during the national anthem…

    • Skooms
      5:04 pm March 26, 2021 Permalink

      Oh give it a rest Loother. And don’t talk about it disrespecting the military. We fight in the military so that anyone in this country has the right and freedom to protest. You should know that if you served. I served for 22 years and learned that pretty early on.

    • Beaver_Fever
      6:44 pm March 26, 2021 Permalink

      That includes Looother too, right?

  5. WKY Cat
    2:52 pm March 26, 2021 Permalink

    Elzy good at inspiring the team?? Wrong. The team played lazy and disinterested a lot. That’s not how a team plays if inspired by their coach.
    Elzy got out coached in many games. She didn’t make halftime adjustments and got exposed in the second half against well coached teams.
    Mitch will obviously give her one more year but if it’s a repeat season he had to make a decision. Fire her or accept the program will go back to mediocracy.

  6. cardsandcats
    3:20 pm March 26, 2021 Permalink

    I’m not sure how Elzy can right this ship. The players may like her, but I’m not sure they respect her as the head coach. Unless she can change that dynamic there is no hope next year will be better. The first person she needs to sit down with is Howard. Elzy can’t allow Howard to play at half speed and be disinterested for prolonged periods. The two game suspension at the beginning of the year was a harbinger of what was to come. I’m not sure what the issue is with Howard, she has amazing physical tools but she certainly didn’t have the proper attitude to maximize her potential. It was stunning to me to watch her play and listen to everyone lavish praise on her and talk about how she was so motivated by being disrespected on the national level. What I saw was a talented player who was playing when she felt like it, she maintained the “too cool for school” persona and never looked like she really cared. Unless that gets fixed nothing else matters. Yes there are lots of other issues that have been noted, but the attitude of the star player is item number one.

  7. jaws2
    4:11 pm March 26, 2021 Permalink

    EXACTLY! I thought the same thing from the beginning of the season. Some players just don’t have the maturity to handle the accolades. That’s a coaches responsibility as well. I’m speaking from personal experience because I was in the same scenario. An assistant coach who played professionally pulled me in to a classroom after school one day and taught me a lesson that I’ve carried throughout my life. When you become ‘the man’ you’re no longer about yourself. Everyone around you expects more and looks to you for leadership. You can’t be that leader when you’re the only one that matters. It was one of the best conversations of my life and helped me become a better person and leader.

    • cardsandcats
      4:53 pm March 26, 2021 Permalink

      Glad I’m not the only one that felt that way, everyone talked about her like she was the second coming of Michael Jordan and what I saw was a player who acted entitled and didn’t really need to bust it, it was like making an effort to do something besides gun it was beneath her. Standing in the corner with your hands on your hips acting annoyed isn’t All- American material. I want her to be great, but people ignoring the obvious is not going to help her or the team.

  8. GAKAT
    4:37 pm March 26, 2021 Permalink

    Let’s just be honest and put it out there – the coaching staff sucks. Pilgrim’s article the other day was correct – the defense was lackadaisical at best, only taking, I think. 13 charges all year. Mitchell would never tolerate that but Elzy did. I realize everything was thrust upon her but she’s been an assistant long enough, she should have been able to step right in.
    I love watching Howard play when she decides she wants to but to let a freshman upstage her like the last game, is ridiculous.

  9. eastofmidnight
    5:23 pm March 26, 2021 Permalink

    This team is missing something Iowa and every other remaining tournament team possesses in spades and that is hunger. Look at the demeanor of those players. Look at the intensity in their eyes. They are hungry to win. Great coaches inspire and nurture that.

  10. ike1951m
    9:34 pm March 26, 2021 Permalink

    The opposing teams shot so many layups….After Coach Matt left…. the team stopping stepping in and taking charges….Looked like they would step out of the way…. And your star player only gives about 70% effort in the first half and then tries to turn it on in the fourth quarter does not work against the better teams….The Coach needs to take a firmer grip on the players and if the effort is not there ….Set them on the bench

  11. UKnowMe
    10:51 pm March 26, 2021 Permalink

    Joker 2.0 At least she has standards and not bangin Mary Jo.