Kentucky is coming off a 2022-23 season in which it finished 12-19 overall and 2-14 in the Southeastern Conference in Kyra Elzy’s third season as head coach.
Previously, UK revealed a 14-game non-conference schedule that includes nine home games, two road games and three games in the U.S. Virgin Islands for the Paradise Jam.
Memorial Coliseum is undergoing renovations that will prevent Kentucky from playing home games in its traditional arena. The Wildcats will play most of their home games in Rupp Arena, with a few at alternate sites such as Transylvania University and Georgetown College.
“Going to different places, that can be exciting,” UK associate head coach Niya Butts said during a schedule reveal show on “BBN Tonight” on Wednesday. “You’ve got different home courts, the way I see it. But they’re all in Lexington, right? They’re all a part of the Kentucky community. And with that, you have all areas able to come out and see you, right? Some people it’s tough for them maybe to get to Memorial. Maybe now it’s not so tough to get to Transy and to get in there. So, we feel like that’s exciting for our community to be able to come out and see us at all these different places. And for our team, I don’t think change is always bad. And the opponent having to come in and not expecting that as well, so I think that can be a good thing for us.”
Here’s what to expect from what appears to be another loaded conference slate for the Wildcats:
THE SEC SCHEDULE. pic.twitter.com/dzPAFs8dIx
— Kentucky Women’s Basketball (@KentuckyWBB) September 6, 2023
Home and away
▪ Home: Jan. 4
▪ Away: Jan. 25
▪ Head coach: Mike Neighbors (seventh season)
▪ 2022-23 record: 24-13 (7-9 SEC)
▪ UK vs. Arkansas last season: Home loss on Jan. 1 (71-50)
Though the Razorbacks lost leading scorer Erynn Barnum to the transfer portal (now at Mississippi State) and graduated Chrissy Carr, who averaged 11.8 points per game last season, Arkansas retained its core of Samara Spencer and Makayla Daniels, plus consistent guard Saylor Poffenbarger.
Arkansas also welcomes a pair of highly-rated freshmen in No. 11 national prospect Taliah Scott and No. 61 Jenna Lawrence.
▪ Home: Feb. 1
▪ Away: Feb. 22
▪ Head coach: Sam Purcell (second season)
▪ 2022-23 record: 22-11 (9-7 SEC)
▪ 2023 NCAA Tournament: Round of 32
▪ UK vs. Mississippi State last season: Road loss on Jan. 22 (77-76)
Leading scorers Jessika Carter and JerKaila Jordan are back to improve upon last season’s fifth-place finish in the SEC. Debreasha Powe, now a sophomore, delivered a strong freshman season last year by averaging 8.2 points and 27.4 minutes per game.
Purcell dipped into the transfer portal to add Arkansas’ leading scorer in Erynn Barnum (15.0 points per game), as well as picked up a trio of nationally ranked recruits in forward Quanirah Cherry-Montague (No. 48) and guards Jasmine Brown-Hagger (No. 54) and Mjracle Sheppard (No. 86).
▪ Away: Jan. 15
▪ Home: Feb. 25
▪ Head coach: Dawn Staley (16th season)
▪ 2022-23 record: 36-1 (16-0 SEC)
▪ 2023 NCAA Tournament: Final Four
▪ UK vs. South Carolina last season: Losses on Jan. 12 (95-66 at home) and Feb. 2 (87-69 on the road).
The reigning conference champion Gamecocks may have graduated more than a handful of impact players — including five 2023 WNBA Draft picks — but South Carolina has reloaded. Highly touted transfers Te-Hina Paopao (Oregon) and Sakima Walker (Northwest Florida State) join freshmen MiLaysia Fulwylie (No. 13 in the class of 2023), Tessa Johnson (No. 25) and Sahnya Jah (No. 40) as fresh faces. Early enrollee Chloe Kitts (No. 17) mostly spent the spring learning from the bench but had an impressive showing at the FIBA U19 Women’s World Cup with Team USA, averaging 10.7 points and 8.0 rebounds throughout the tournament.
▪ Date: Jan. 11
▪ Head coach: Shea Ralph (third season)
▪ 2022-23 record: 16-19 (4-12 SEC)
▪ UK vs. Vanderbilt last season: Road loss on Feb. 19 (79-57)
Vanderbilt’s overwhelming positive entering this season is a healthy Jordyn Cambridge returning to the starting lineup after sitting out all of last year due to injury. The defensive specialist will likely be the Commodores’ star once again, but she’ll have some help. Ralph added former McDonald’s All-Americans Justine Pissott (Tennessee) and Jordyn Oliver (North Carolina) via the transfer portal, as well as returned junior forward Sacha Washington, who averaged 11.1 points and a team-high 7.4 rebounds per game last season.
The No. 63 overall recruit, forward Khamil Pierre, also joins the Commodores.
▪ Date: Jan. 21
▪ Head coach: Robin Pingeton (14th season)
▪ 2022-23 record: 18-14 (6-10 SEC)
▪ UK vs. Missouri last season: Road loss on Dec. 29 (74-71), home win on Jan. 29 (77-54)
Freshman guard Grace Slaughter, the No. 53-ranked recruit in the class of 2023, and Houston graduate transfer De’Myla Brown headline Mizzou’s newcomers, of which there are eight.
The Tigers also lost a pair of impact players to the transfer portal, including second-leading scorer Lauren Hansen (Michigan) and leading rebounder Sara-Rose Smith (Colorado). The program also graduated Haley Troup, who now serves as a graduate assistant for the team.
Pingeton does, however, return her leading scorer in forward Hayley Frank, who averaged 15.4 points per game, and guard Ashton Judd, who averaged 7.4.
▪ Date: Feb. 11
▪ Head coach: Joni Taylor (second season)
▪ 2022-23 record: 9-20 (2-14 SEC)
▪ UK vs. Texas A&M last season: Road loss on Feb. 23 (74-67)
While it’s true that the Aggies tied with UK for last place in the conference in Taylor’s first season, this is a rapidly changing program. Most importantly for Texas A&M, forward Janiah Barker — who averaged 12.7 points and 5.9 rebounds in her freshman season — returns to lead the charge. Also back are guards Sahara Jones (9.2 points per game) and Sydney Bowles (9.1).
They are joined by standout transfers Aicha Coulibaly (Auburn), Endiya Rogers (Oregon) and Lauren Ware (Arizona), as well as top-100 freshmen Kylie Marshall (No. 35), Sole Williams (No. 51) and Erica Moon (No. 76).
▪ Date: Feb. 18
▪ Head coach: Kelly Rae Finley (third season)
▪ 2022-23 record: 19-15 (5-11 SEC)
▪ UK vs. Florida last season: Road win on Jan. 15 (81-75), SEC Tournament first-round win on March 1 (72-57)
The Gators lost more than half of last season’s roster, retaining just six of 13, and they’ll likely lean on returning guard Leilani Correa (11.8 points per game) and veteran center Ra Shaya Kyle (9.4 points per game) for leadership. Florida also now gets to use sharpshooting senior Aliyah Matharu, who had to sit out last season due to transfer rules, and returns Zippy Broughton, who did not play last season because of injuries after averaging double-figure scoring in 2021-22.
Florida also gains guard Laila Reynolds, the No. 19 recruit in the class of 2023.
▪ Date: Feb. 29
▪ Head coach: Yolette McPhee-McCuin (sixth season)
▪ 2022-23 record: 25-9 (11-5 SEC)
▪ 2023 NCAA Tournament: Sweet 16
▪ UK vs. Ole Miss last season: Road loss on Feb. 13 (74-52)
Coming off just its second Sweet 16 appearance in program history, the Rebels continue to prove why they should be considered a contender for the SEC championship after finishing fourth in the conference last season. And like its biggest obstacles to the title, LSU and South Carolina, Ole Miss looked to the transfer portal to pick up some heavy hitters. Most notably, North Carolina’s second-leading scorer, guard Kennedy Todd-Williams (13.4 points, 5.4 rebounds per game).
The Rebels also picked up commitments from Florida’s leading scorer KK Deans, who averaged 14.1 points per game, and Auburn transfer Kharyssa Richardson, who started in all but one of 28 games in which she played for the Tigers last season. They’ll be joined by ranked incoming freshmen Zakiya Stephenson (No. 88) and J’Adore Young (No. 99).
▪ Date: Jan. 7
▪ Head coach: Kellie Harper (fifth season)
▪ 2022-23 record: 25-12 (13-3 SEC)
▪ 2023 NCAA Tournament: Sweet 16
▪ UK vs. Tennessee last season: Home loss on Feb. 26 (83-63), SEC Tournament quarterfinals loss on March 3 (80-71)
Tennessee may have lost star guard Jordan Horston to the Seattle Storm’s ninth overall pick in the 2023 WNBA Draft, but the Volunteers have reason to remain confident this season, with expected top-10 pick Rickea Jackson opting to exercise her fifth year and return to Tennessee. In addition to its leading scorer, Tennessee also returns forwards Tess Darby and Jillian Hollingshead.
Though the Lady Vols don’t have a single incoming freshman, and lost both Justine Pissott (Vanderbilt) and Brooklynn Miles (UK) to the transfer portal, they do bring in Wake Forest senior transfer Jewel Spear and Belmont senior transfer Destinee Wells to bolster the backcourt. Spear was a two-time All-ACC and ACC All-Tournament selection over the course of three seasons with the Demon Deacons, for whom she started in 88 of 89 games played. In 2022-23, Spear averaged 16.5 points. Wells earned a variety of accolades while with Belmont, most recently being named to the All-MVC First Team and MVC All-Tournament Team in 2022-23 following the program’s move from the Ohio Valley Conference to the Missouri Valley. Though Tennessee recently picked up a commitment from South Carolina transfer Talaysia Cooper, she’s required to sit out the 2023-24 season due to entering the portal after the NCAA’s immediate eligibility deadline.
▪ Date: Jan. 28
▪ Head coach: Kristy Curry (11th season)
▪ 2022-23 record: 20-11 (9-7 SEC)
▪ 2023 NCAA Tournament: Round of 64
▪ UK vs. Alabama last season: Home loss on Feb. 9 (72-65), SEC Tournament second-round win on March 2 (71-58).
Alabama graduated most of its core, with leading scorer Brittany Davis, guard Hannah Barber and center Jada Rice no longer around to lift the Crimson Tide. The program also graduated guard Megan Abrams and lost JaMya Mingo-Young (Auburn), Ryan Cobbins (Kansas), Myra Gordon (Pepperdine) and Khyla Wade-Warren (Chattanooga) to the transfer portal.
Here to help returning contributors Aaliyah Nye and Loyal McQueen are incoming transfers Jessica Timmons (North Carolina State), Meg Newman (Arizona State) and Del’Janae “Burger” Williams, and a trio of ranked freshmen in Essence Cody (No. 22), Reychel Douglas (No. 50) and Naomi Jones (No. 87).
▪ Date: Feb. 4
▪ Head coach: Katie Abrahamson-Henderson (second season)
▪ 2022-23 record: 22-12 (9-7 SEC)
▪ 2023 NCAA Tournament: Round of 32
▪ UK vs. Georgia last season: Road loss on Jan. 5 (64-60), home loss on Feb 16 (50-40)
Like Texas A&M, Georgia has a second-season coach leading her team in the right direction. Though, of course, the Bulldogs don’t have as much ground to make up, finishing fifth in the SEC last season before falling in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to eventual runner-up Iowa.
The Bulldogs graduated leading scorers and team leaders Diamond Battles and Brittney Smith, as well as defensive standout Audrey Warren, but return forward Javyn Nicholson (9.6 points per game) for a fifth year. They also added the No. 100 recruit in the class of 2023 in forward Miyah Verse.
▪ Date: Feb. 15
▪ Head coach: Johnnie Harris (third season)
▪ 2022-23 record: 16-15 (5-11 SEC)
▪ UK vs. Auburn last season: Home loss on Jan. 26 (71-68)
Auburn also lost several players to the transfer portal, but none more impactful than scoring, rebounding and assists leader Aicha Coulibaly (Texas A&M). And though both Kharyssa Richardson (Ole Miss) and Romi Levy (South Florida) also made their exit, Auburn will probably benefit from portal additions Taylen Collins (Oklahoma State), Kionna Gaines (Clemson) and JaMya Mingo-Young (Alabama).
▪ Date: March 3
▪ Head coach Kim Mulkey (third season)
▪ 2022-23 record: 34-2 (15-1 SEC)
▪ 2023 NCAA Tournament: National champion
▪ UK vs. LSU last season: Home loss on Jan. 8 (67-48)
UK will end its regular season in the house of the defending national champions.
LSU returns its powerhouse offensive duo of Angel Reese and 2023 SEC Freshman of the Year Flau’jae Johnson, plus brings in star Louisville transfer Hailey Van Lith to replace starting guards Alexis Morris and Jasmine Carson. Not to mention, the most sought-after player in the transfer portal, Aneesah Morrow (DePaul).
Mulkey also pulls in a highly rated recruiting class, featuring No. 2 prospect Mikaylah Williams, No. 7 Aalyah Del Rosario, No. 44 Angelica Velez and No. 73 Janae Kent.
Home games in all capital letters.
Additional game times and TV assignments to be announced at a later date.
Sites for SEC home games TBA. Other home games in Rupp Arena unless otherwise noted.
Nov. 1: KENTUCKY STATE, 11 a.m.-x
Nov. 7: EAST TENNESSEE STATE, 7 p.m. (At Transylvania)
Nov. 11: USC UPSTATE
Nov. 14: AUSTIN PEAY, 6 p.m. (At Georgetown College)
Nov. 19: At Florida Gulf Coast, 2 p.m.
Nov. 23: North Carolina State, 3:15 p.m.-1
Nov. 24: Colorado, 1 p.m.-1
Nov. 25: Cincinnati, 3:15 p.m.-1
Nov. 30: BOSTON COLLEGE, 7 p.m. (At Transylvania)-2
Dec. 3: TENNESSEE TECH, 1 p.m. (At Transylvania)
Dec. 6: MINNESOTA, 7 p.m.
Dec. 10: At Louisville
Dec. 17: FURMAN, 1 p.m.
Dec. 21: LIPSCOMB, 11 a.m.
Dec. 31: SAMFORD, 1 p.m. (At Transylvania)
Jan. 4: ARKANSAS
Jan. 7: at Tennessee
Jan. 11: VANDERBILT
Jan. 15: At South Carolina
Jan. 21: MISSOURI
Jan. 25: At Arkansas
Jan. 28: At Alabama
Feb. 1: MISSISSIPPI STATE
Feb. 4: At Georgia
Feb. 11: TEXAS A&M
Feb. 15: At Auburn
Feb. 18: FLORIDA
Feb. 22: At Mississippi State
Feb. 25: SOUTH CAROLINA
Feb. 29: OLE MISS
March 3: At LSU
March 6-10: SEC Tournament-3
x-Exhibition; 1-Paradise Jam at University of Virgin Islands Sports and Fitness Center in U.S. Virgin Islands; 2-SEC/ACC Challenge; 3-Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, S.C.
This Saturday: Fan Day
Ahead of Saturday’s UK vs. EKU football game in Lexington, Kentucky women’s basketball will host its annual Fan Day outside Kroger Field. From 1:30-3 p.m., fans can get their first look at this year’s team, with opportunities to meet, take photos with and get autographs from the 2023-24 roster.
UK encourages fans to bring team memorabilia, including shirts and hats, for players to sign.
“A lot of people should come out.” UK senior post Ajae Petty said on BBN Tonight. “We’re gonna engage with the fans, play games and things like that.”
Fan Day will take place next to the Kroger Tailgate (as a separate event) at the corner of Cooper Drive and Sports Center Drive.
Season tickets for Kentucky’s upcoming women’s basketball season are available via Ticketmaster.
Ticketmaster is also where returning season ticket holders may renew their season tickets.