The University of Kentucky women's basketball team found that paradise is not all it's cracked up to be on Thanksgiving night.
The ninth-ranked Wildcats got off to a sluggish start and never fully recovered in losing for the first time this season, 77-71, to the University of Illinois in their first of three games in the Paradise Jam Island Tournament in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.
Illinois bolted to a 17-5 lead in Thursday's opening six minutes.
The Wildcats rallied to knot things at 18 by the 10-minute mark, but UK was never able to keep the Fighting Illini away from the basket. Illinois (5-0) repeatedly worked inside for buckets against Kentucky and rebuilt its lead back to 12 at 57-45 with 8:40 left in the game.
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Kentucky charged from behind again, trimming Illinois' lead to 68-65 on a basket by Makayla Epps with 1:57 to play.
The Wildcats kept the pressure on and had a chance to cut the advantage to two, but Azia Bishop missed a pair of free throws with 15.3 seconds to play that left the score 73-69.
Epps led the Wildcats with 20 points off the bench, a career high for the sophomore.
UK's last loss to an unranked team at a neutral site was against LSU, 72-61, on March 3, 2012 in the SEC Tournament.
The Wildcats (4-1) have two games remaining in the Paradise Jam. UK plays Oklahoma at 6 p.m. EST on Friday and takes on South Florida at 8:15 p.m. on Saturday.