A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Barnhart: Elzy has ‘earned and deserved’ chance to lead UK’s women’s basketball program

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today University of Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart removed the interim tag from Kyra Elzy’s temporary job title on Monday. Elzy, named interim head coach after Matthew Mitchell unexpectedly retired last month, officially received the title permanently after guiding the Wildcats to a 6-0 start to open the season. Terms of Elzy’s contract were not disclosed, pending...

Kyra Elzy named interim head coach for UK women’s basketball after retirement of Matthew Mitchell

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today Kyra Elzy played for the best and coached alongside the all-time winningest coach in women’s basketball history at the University of Kentucky. Elzy, who won two national championships as a player at the University of Tennessee under the tutelage of late legendary coach Pat Summitt, was named interim head coach at Kentucky last week after Matthew Mitchell announced...

UK women’s basketball head coach Matthew Mitchell announces retirement; Kyra Elzy named interim

Matthew Mitchell, the winningest head coach in University of Kentucky women’s basketball history with more than 300 victories, announced Thursday night that he has retired from coaching, thus resigning as head coach of the Wildcats. UK director of athletics Mitch Barnhart has named associate head coach Kyra Elzy as interim head coach, effective immediately. UK’s Matthew Mitchell announced...

Former five-star prospect Olivia Owens transfers to UK; 6-foot-4 center spent two seasons at Maryland

Olivia Owens, a five-star prospect and one of the best centers in the nation coming out of high school in 2018, has transferred to the University of Kentucky. A 6-foot-4 center and native of Albany, N.Y., Owens spent the past two seasons at Maryland. “We are so excited that Olivia has chosen to be a Kentucky Wildcat and cannot wait to get her on campus and working with our team and staff,”...

Former Auburn star Benton transfers to Kentucky; earned All-SEC Freshman Team honors in 2018-19

Robyn Benton, who was an All-Southeastern Conference Freshman Team performer at Auburn before averaging double-digit points per game as a sophomore, has elected to transfer and signed with the University of Kentucky women’s basketball program. Benton will have to sit out the 2020-21 season due to NCAA transfer rules. “Robyn is a fantastic player that really is going to fit in perfectly...

UK women’s basketball standout Rhyne Howard one of four finalists for Citizen Naismith Trophy

The Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Friday its four finalists for the 2020 Citizen Naismith Trophy, recognizing the most outstanding women’s college basketball player of the year, and University of Kentucky sophomore star Rhyne Howard has been tabbed to the exclusive list. Howard is looking to become the first Kentucky player to win the prestigious award while she is believed to be the first to...

Jamie Vaught: UK sophomores Hagans, Howard will be key to success of respective teams this season

Ashton Hagans, in my opinion, is the most important player for the Kentucky Wildcats this season. As a valuable point guard on the hardwood floor, Hagans runs the show. The 6-3 sophomore from Cartersville, Georgia, will keep things going smoothly with his leadership. And Hagans sure can play sticky defense, creating chaos on his opponent. Last season, he was named SEC’s Co-Defensive Player of the...

A decade later, John Calipari says Kentucky still the “greatest of them all”

Kentucky men’s basketball coach John Calipari addresses the crowd during Big Blue Madness Friday night at Rupp Arena. Calipari is entering his 10th season as coach of the Wildcats. (Kentucky Today/Tammie Brown) By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today It’s been a decade since John Calipari made his first appearance at Big Blue Madness and the Kentucky coach looked ahead to his second decade Friday night. Prior...

Former UK guard Amber Smith takes on new role with Wildcats

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today The Kentucky women’s basketball team will have more stability in the future after two assistant coaches signed extensions and two others were re-assigned. Amber Smith, a former standout is now an assistant coach, while former assistant Lin Dunn has been named special assistant to the head coach. Dunn has spent the past two seasons in her current role, while Smith, a...

Jamie Vaught: Kentucky Miss Basketball frontrunner Blair Green to follow in mother’s footsteps at UK

Blair Green is following her mother’s footsteps to Lexington. That’s where the Harlan County High School basketball star will be playing next season as she’ll be taking the hardwood floor as a freshman for coach Matthew Mitchell’s Kentucky Wildcats. Just like her current Harlan County girls’ head coach and mother, Debbie Hoskins Green, who played for UK women’s team – then called the...

Jamie Vaught: On UK’s Maci Morris, the popular Calipari and a prediction on the UK-Tennessee game

It wasn’t that long ago when Bell County High School’s Maci Morris was burning the nets as one of the state’s top players en route to becoming Kentucky’s “Miss Basketball” in 2015. And now Morris, a 6-foot guard, is entering her third year at Kentucky after two productive seasons as a starter in helping the Wildcats to 25-8 and 22-11 records. After UK lost a couple of stars in Makayla Epps...

UK women’s basketball schedule features three games in Rupp Arena, doubleheader with men

For the first time in over a decade, the University of Kentucky women’s basketball team will play three regular-season games in Rupp Arena, facing Tennessee on Dec. 31, South Carolina on Jan. 21 and LSU on Feb. 4 in the historic building. All three games will tip at noon ET with the Tennessee and LSU games to be televised on SEC Network, while the South Carolina game will be on ESPNU. The Dec....

Let the Madness Begin: Tickets for annual tipoff to new Wildcats’ basketball season on sale Sept. 29

Tickets for the 2017 edition of Big Blue Madness in Rupp Arena will be available Friday, Sept. 29, at 10 p.m. at the Memorial Coliseum ticket windows on Avenue of Champions and online at Ticketmaster.com. Big Blue Madness, the first open practice opportunity for UK’s 2017-18 men’s and women’s basketball teams, is Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. Tickets are free again this year for the annual spectacle in...

UK women’s assistant coach Elzy presents $40,000 to Summitt Foundation for Alzheimer’s research

University of Kentucky women’s basketball associate head coach Kyra Elzy and her husband Dexter Lander in conjunction with head coach Matthew Mitchell and his wife Jenna, presented a $40,000 check to The Pat Summitt Foundation on Monday as a result of the 2016-17 SEC Win Challenge. The SEC Win Challenge raises funds to support the foundation’s work with the 2016-17 challenge expanding to include...

Jamie Vaught: UK Hoops season comes to a sudden, emotional end for seniors Epps, Akhator

After Kentucky women lost to Ohio State in the second round of the NCAA tournament in Lexington, finishing its remarkable campaign with a 22-11 mark after last year’s turmoil involving several player departures, it sure was a very emotional time for two Wildcat senior stars Makayla Epps and Evelyn Akhator. Even some reporters at last Sunday’s postgame press conference, including yours truly, were...

Seniors Epps, Akhator come to end of the line as Cats fall to Buckeyes in NCAA tournament

Fourth-seeded Kentucky rallied from a 19-point second half deficit to within one point of the lead, but the Wildcats could not overcome fifth-seeded Ohio State’s advantage, as the Buckeyes won 82-68 on Sunday afternoon at Memorial Coliseum. It was a 33-15 run over 13 minutes that allowed Kentucky to methodically cut into the Ohio State lead. But Ohio State ended the game on a 17-4 run to put it away. Kentucky...

Jamie Vaught: Cool customer at the FT line, sophomore Morris saves Cats’ life in tourney

Some leftovers from Kentucky women’s NCAA hoops tournament this weekend in Lexington…. — UK heralded seniors Makayla Epps and Evelyn Akhator were the dominating stars as they gunned in a combined 52 points – which is 71.2 percent of the total team scoring – in leading the Wildcats to a 73-70 win over a pesky Belmont squad Friday afternoon at historic Memorial Coliseum. Akhator also...

Epps, Akhator combine for 52 points, lead Wildcats past Belmont, into second round of NCAA tourney

Makayla Epps scored 30 points and Evelyn Akhator added 22 points and 10 rebounds as fourth-seeded Kentucky held off a determined Belmont squad 73-70 on Friday afternoon in the first round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament at Memorial Coliseum. Kentucky trailed 36-35 at halftime, but the Wildcats opened the second half with a 13-0 run, which gave them a lead they would never relinquish. Friday’s...

Belmont the first obstacle for Mitchell’s Wildcats as NCAA tourney opens at Memorial Coliseum

After earning its school-record eighth straight appearance in the Big Dance, the No. 18 University of Kentucky women’s basketball team will begin play in the 2017 NCAA Tournament on Friday at Noon ET by hosting 13th-seeded Belmont in the first round inside historic Memorial Coliseum. First-round action in Lexington starts Friday with Kentucky-Belmont before fifth-seeded Ohio State battles 12th-seeded...

Jamie Vaught: Lots of Bluegrass color in NCAA Big Dance field beyond just UK and UofL

There are lots of representatives from the state of Kentucky in the Big Dance beyond just UK and U of L. As you know, Northern Kentucky, which was just granted full NCAA Division I status last August, has earned its first NCAA Division I tourney berth for winning the Horizon League Tournament in Detroit last week. And the No. 15 seed Norse (24-10) will face No. 2 seed Kentucky in the South Region...