BOWLING GREEN — Kentucky was short a key player and came up short on the scoreboard, falling to Western Kentucky 66-57 Thursday night.
The Toppers have now won four out of the last five against UK and two in a row.
Senior guard Carly Ormerod, who won three high school state championships on this Diddle Arena floor, could only sit on the UK bench and watch as the Cats struggled against their in-state rival.
"We have some inexperienced players at some critical positions and it showed," UK Coach Matthew Mitchell said.
His team made it close at the end, but trailed by as many as 22 points midway through the second half.
"Us going up by 22 really made a statement that this year we were the better team," said senior Dominique Duck, one of four Tops in double figures with 15 points.
Ormerod was out with a recurring foot injury from last season. The ailment, a combination of sesamoiditis and turf toe, sidelined her for 16 games last season.
Mitchell said the injury came without warning. He listed the senior as day-to-day, but said she is doubtful for the Furman game on Saturday.
"That was a huge loss for us," he said of Ormerod's first missed game since Feb. 14 of last season.
Kentucky (4-3) needed Ormerod for more than her scoring.
The Cats' only other available point guard, Amber Smith, got in early foul trouble and then fouled out with six minutes to go. The sophomore played only 28 minutes.
Without a true point guard in the game, Kentucky turned the ball over 19 times, which led to 17 Western points.
"Our defense was really good to us," Coach Mary Taylor Cowles said.
But the coach was more impressed with her team's ability to focus and take care of the ball. The Tops turned it over just 10 times.
"We knew exactly what our game plan was," she said. "We executed that game plan."
The Toppers (5-2) had four players finish in double figures, led by Monroe County's Kenzie Rich's 15 points and nine rebounds. North Hardin's Hope Brown added 10 points.
Arnika Brown, who originally signed at UK but eventually transferred to Western, added 12 points and 16 rebounds. It was her sixth double-double in seven games.
Brown was asked what it was like to play against Kentucky for the first time since she left the school.
"I didn't really care," she said. "I felt like they put their uniform on the same way we do."
Five of the last seven games between these two rivals had been decided by six points or fewer.
But it was clear by early in the second half, that that wasn't going to be the case on Thursday night. UK, which trailed by just eight at halftime, saw Western's lead balloon to 22 points with eight minutes left.
"This is a difficult situation I put our team in with six games in eight days," Mitchell said. "I was very proud that they kept fighting. We're young at some real key positions. We have to keep getting better."
The Cats were led by Amani Franklin's 16 points and seven rebounds. Eleia Roddy, who went 0-for-10 versus Xavier on Tuesday night, bounced back and finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Arnika Brown, who played high school ball at Christian County with UK's Lydia Watkins was asked afterward if she caught up with her former teammate before the game.
"We don't talk," she said matter of factly. "I guess they're a little upset with me, but I don't really care."
UK women's scores, schedule
Date Opponent Time/result
Nov. 5 x-KY. STATE W, 99-28
Nov. 9 x-BELLARMINE W, 72-69
Nov. 15 MICHIGAN L, 70-60
Nov. 17 CINCINNATI W, 58-55
Nov. 23 GEORGE WASHINGTON W, 67-48
Nov. 28 a-Yale W, 87-82
Nov. 29 a-Long Island W, 46-43
Dec. 2 at Xavier L, 67-44
Dec. 4 at Western Kentucky L, 66-57
Dec. 6 FURMAN 2 p.m.
Dec. 12 EAST TENNESSEE ST. 7 p.m.
Dec. 14 at Louisville 2 p.m.
Dec. 19 ALABAMA A&M 7 p.m.
Dec. 21 at Cal-Santa Barbara 2 p.m.
Dec. 20 IUPUI 7 p.m.
Jan. 1 NORTH CAROLINA A&T 7 p.m.
Jan. 3 at Miami (Ohio) 2 p.m.
Jan. 8 at Tennessee 7 p.m.
Jan. 11 ARKANSAS 2 p.m.
Jan. 15 at Alabama 7 p.m.
Jan. 18 MISSISSIPPI ST. 4 p.m.
Jan. 25 LOUISIANA ST. 1 p.m.
Jan. 29 at Florida 7 p.m.
Feb. 1 at Mississippi 3 p.m.
Feb. 5 SOUTH CAROLINA 7 p.m.
Feb. 8 VANDERBILT 1 p.m.
Feb. 12 at Auburn 7 p.m.
Feb. 19 TENNESSEE 7 p.m.
Feb. 22 at Louisiana St. 3 p.m.
Feb. 26 GEORGIA 7 p.m.
March 1 at South Carolina 3 p.m.
x-exhibition; a-Long Island Turkey Classic at Brooklyn, N.Y.