Dre’una Edwards, Kyra Elzy, WBB Team Earn Weekly National Honors
LEXINGTON, Ky. – After its first Southeastern Conference Tournament Championship in 40 years, the weekly national honors have started to pour in for the University of Kentucky women’s basketball team.
Redshirt junior forward Dre’una Edwards, who hit the game-winning 3 against No. 1 South Carolina to clinch the tournament title, has been named the national player of the week by the United States Basketball Writers Association. Second-year head coach Kyra Elzy has been named the national coach of the week by ESPN, while both outlets tabbed the Wildcats as the national team of the week. Last year, the USBWA named Kentucky its first ever team of the week after UK earned back-to-back wins over top-15 ranked Arkansas and Mississippi State.
It was a storybook weekend for Edwards, helping lead the Wildcats to the SEC Tournament Championship. The native of Compton, California, played in all four games for Kentucky, averaging 26 minutes per game. The forward hit 55 percent from the field on the weekend, going 4-of-7 from 3 with 10 rebounds per game and 16.5 points per game. She was named to the SEC All-Tournament team for her efforts.
Edwards started the weekend with 18 points and 14 rebounds against Mississippi State before 13 points and 10 rebounds in UK’s upset of No. 6 LSU. Against No. 18 Tennessee, Edwards played 20 minutes and had seven rebounds and eight points with a block and two steals. She saved her best performance for last, scoring 27 points against No. 1 South Carolina with nine rebounds. She went 11-of-21 from the field and 3-of-5 from long range, including the game-winning 3-pointer with just over 4 seconds to go. Edwards scored UK’s last seven points in the game to clinch the win.
On the season, Edwards has played in 25 games, averaging 16.9 points per game with 8.2 rebounds per game. She is hitting 53 percent from the field and 35 percent from long range with 44 assists, 26 blocks and 27 steals. She has scored 20 or more points in 10 games and Kentucky sits 10-0 in those contests. Her best game before this past weekend was a career-best 30 points with 10 rebounds in UK’s win at Missouri.
Elzy guided Kentucky last weekend to the SEC Tournament Championship, which was the program’s second ever and the first since 1982. The run was historic as Kentucky is the second lowest seed ever to win the SEC Tournament Championship and the fourth team to defeat the No. 1 team in the AP Poll in the SEC Tournament finals. The Wildcats were the only No. 7 seed in any power five conference tournament to defeat the No. 1, 2, and 3 seeds to earn the conference tournament title. On the way to the title, Elzy led Kentucky to wins over Mississippi State, No. 6 LSU, No. 18 Tennessee and No. 1 South Carolina. Winning the title in her second season, Elzy becomes the fifth coach in league history to accomplish that feat, joining Joe Ciampi (Auburn), Jim Foster (Vanderbilt), Melanie Balcomb (Vanderbilt) and Holly Warlick (Tennessee).
The turnaround for Kentucky overall has been amazing. The Wildcats sat 9-11 overall and 2-8 in the SEC on Feb. 10. Less than a month later, the Wildcats will enter the NCAA Tournament 19-11 overall, 8-8 in the SEC and with a conference tournament title. The 10-game winning streak is the most for Kentucky under Elzy. All 10 wins were against league foes, marking only the second time in program history the Wildcats have achieved that feat. During that stretch, five straight games were won by 15 or more points, marking the first time in program history UK has done that.
For more information on the Kentucky women’s basketball team, visit UKathletics.com or follow @KentuckyWBB on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok.