Kentucky took its first loss of the season to the Duke Blue Devils, 69-61. Duke was ranked #2 and Kentucky was #5. The game was played in front of a sold out crowd in Rupp Arena today, the largest women’s basketball crowd not involving Connecticut or Tennessee. Coach Matthew Mitchell said before the tip he “felt an overwhelming feeling of gratitude” on selling out Rupp.
Mitchell also said that Duke simply outworked his Kentucky squad and they “will regroup and learn from whatever mistakes we made. We still have a really good basketball team.”
Mitchell also said in his post-game press conference that senior Samantha Drake who is out for the season surgery Friday morning and will start rehab soon. They are expecting to get a medical redshirt and have her return next season.
Duke (21-1) took their first loss to #1 Connecticut just five days ago, and Kentucky fell to 11-1 today in front of a record UK women’s hoops crowd. Freshman Makayla Epps got her first career start. Sophomore Janee Thompson had 12 points- all in the second half to lead the Cats late rally. Unfortunately, Duke’s Tricia Liston scored a season high 28 points, including answering Thompson’s with consecutive layups to extend Duke’s second half lead. The Devils shot 44% and made 15/18 free throws and outrebounded the Cats 46-42. Samarie Walker added 8 points and 12 rebounds and 2 steals and Bria Goss had 8 points as well with 5 rebounds, 1 assist and one steal. Freshman Linnae Harper had 7 points, one rebound and 2 steals, and Azia Bishop had 4 points, 10 rebounds, 1 block and one steal.
Kentucky trailed Duke all but 5 minutes of the game. The Cats will get a short Christmas break before returning back to practice to prepare to take on Grambling State on the 29th in Memorial.