The Kentucky women’s basketball team will attempt to snap a three-game losing streak Sunday without two of its top scorers.
Redshirt junior forward Dre’una Edwards and senior guard Robyn Benton will both miss Sunday afternoon’s Southeastern Conference home game against Ole Miss at Rupp Arena.
Edwards will not be available because of a team-imposed suspension that is still in effect. Prior to Thursday’s game — a 25-point home loss to Florida — UK announced that Edwards was suspended “due to a disciplinary matter that is being handled internally.”
This is also the reason Edwards won’t play against Ole Miss.
This is the third game this season that Edwards will miss for UK due to a suspension. Edwards also missed UK’s other home game at Rupp Arena — a 94-85 loss to DePaul in December — while she served a team-imposed suspension “for not upholding the academic standards of the program.”
Kentucky head coach Kyra Elzy would not comment when asked by the Herald-Leader on Thursday if her relationship with Edwards has been affected after suspending her for the second time in less than two months.
Benton will miss Sunday’s game against Ole Miss due to an ankle injury.
Benton has been banged up in recent weeks for the Wildcats. She missed UK’s final non-conference game — a Dec. 19 home win over South Carolina Upstate — with an ankle injury.
Benton was day-to-day to play in Thursday’s loss to Florida due to an injury suffered in the Jan. 16 loss at Tennessee, and during the second quarter of that game, Benton was injured while defending near the rim.
The absences of Benton and Edwards for Sunday’s game against Ole Miss are significant.
Benton is Kentucky’s fourth-leading scorer (10.4 points per game) while Edwards is Kentucky’s second-leading scorer (15.9 points per game). Edwards leads UK in rebounding with 7.7 boards per game, an especially important stat given that UK has been outrebounded by an average of 17.5 per game in its four SEC games so far.
Both players are starters for Elzy’s team, and they average more than 26 minutes played per game.
Benton and Edwards have also combined for 22 of UK’s 76 made three-pointers this season (nearly 29%).
With Benton and Edwards unavailable to play, a UK roster that already lacked depth now has even less of it.
Additionally, freshman walk-on guard Kristen Crenshaw-Gill was not in uniform for Thursday’s loss to Florida due to an ankle injury. Crenshaw-Gill is considered day-to-day.
If Crenshaw-Gill is again unavailable for Sunday’s game against Ole Miss, Kentucky would only have seven players available for the game.
Regardless, UK will only have seven scholarship players available to play against Ole Miss.