UK Women's Basketball

Watkins out for the season

Lydia Watkins' "private, personal matter" will keep her from playing the rest of the season, Kentucky women's basketball coach Matthew Mitchell said Friday.

"She's out for the rest of the season to deal with this personal issue," Mitchell said.

Because of medical privacy rules, the "administration says I cannot go into it, but she's not playing the rest of the season," he continued.

Through the Kentucky sports information department, the junior swing player repeatedly has declined interviews about the matter.

Mitchell said he wasn't sure if Watkins will comment any time soon.

"I don't know," he said. "We certainly can't prompt her to."

So far, Watkins has missed four games, but she has been present on the Kentucky bench, including Thursday's road trip to Knoxville.

Team spokeswoman Susan Lax said Watkins is still a part of the team.

Mitchell said he is not sure if Watkins will continue to travel with the team.

"We've been trying to get through this week, get them back in school and see how this situation is unfolding," he said. "I don't know."

The matter will be treated like an injury and could make Watkins eligible for a medical hardship, but those are determined after an athlete's eligibility is completed, Lax said.

The rules for awarding extended eligibility are based on percentages, and the 10 games in which Watkins has played this season might disqualify her from receiving a hardship. She would be one game over the limit now.

If UK advances into the post-season, her eligibility for a hardship might change.

Of the 10 games she's played in, Watkins started two and was averaging 16.5 minutes, 5.4 points and 4.7 rebounds.

As a sophomore, she averaged 12.7 minutes and 4.4 points and 3.8 rebounds.

The Watkins announcement comes a little more than a week after the departure of junior-college player Jackie Sanders, who was dismissed from the team.

It leaves UK with nine scholarship players, including two that are averaging less than 11 minutes per game.

Mitchell said he isn't concerned with the numbers.

"A lot of teams in our league, at some point during league play, the rotations start to tighten up anyway," he said. "I don't see it as a disadvantage for our team."