Kentucky women beat Florida in game marred by scuffle

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Florida's Tatyana Wyche (2) and Kentucky's Jada Walker (11) scuffle in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game during the Southeastern Conference women's tournament in Greenville, S.C., Wednesday, March 1, 2023. Several players from both teams were ejected from the game. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)

GREENVILLE, S.C. – Robyn Benton scored 20 points, Adebola Adeyeye had 11 points and 17 rebounds and No. 14 Kentucky beat 11th-seeded Florida 72-57 on Wednesday in an SEC Tournament game marred by a scuffle.

Kentucky (11-18) snapped a seven-game losing streak to advance to play No. 6 Alabama on Thursday.

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The game had a 22-minute delay for an official review following an altercation between Florida forward Tatyana Wyche and Kentucky forward Ajae Petty with 5:26 remaining in the second quarter. Wyche threw the ball in the direction of Petty and then chased after her down the court. No punches appeared to be thrown, but several players left the bench area leading to eight ejections — four from each team.

“Well, obviously that’s not how we want to represent ourselves as Florida women’s basketball and in the competitive spirit,” Florida coach Kelly Rae Finley said. “So first and foremost, I apologize for that because that is not representative of the SEC, University of Florida, or how we compete.”

When the game finally reached halftime, the score was 22-21. The short-handed teams adjusted at the break, combining for 41 points in the third quarter with Kentucky leading 43-41.

Kentucky, the defending SEC Tournament champions, pulled away during an 10-0 run in the fourth quarter for a 66-52 lead. Florida struggled from the floor in the fourth quarter, missing seven straight shots early and six consecutive shots in the closing four minutes.

Nina Rickards scored 19 points and Alberte Rimdal added 15 for Florida (16-14). Rickards completed a three-point play with 2:15 left in the third quarter to give Florida its first lead, 41-39, since it was 4-2.

The Gators played without Ra Shaya Kyle, Faith Dut, and sisters Taliyah and Tatyana Wyche in the second half. The Wildcats were without Cassidy Rowe, Eniya Russell, Zennia Thomas and Saniah Tyler after the altercation as well.

___ AP women’s college basketball: and and

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