During the second quarter of Wednesday’s first-round game between Florida and Kentucky in the SEC women’s basketball tournament, a physical altercation broke out, resulting in eight players being ejected.
Prior to the midway point of the second quarter, with the score in Kentucky’s favor at 20-14, Kentucky forward Ajae Petty rolled the ball up Florida forward Tatyana Wyche’s face during an inbound play. Wyche then threw the ball toward Kentucky’s Ajae Petty before running across the court to confront her.
Players from both teams fled their benches, leading to a scuffle. Any member who leaves the bench receives an automatic ejection. This led to the ejection of four Florida players and four Kentucky players.
The following active players were ejected for leaving the bench:
- Florida’s Taliyah Wyche
- Florida’s Ra Shaya Kyle
- Florida’s Faith Dut
- Kentucky’s Saniah Tyler
- Kentucky’s Eniya Russell
- Kentucky’s Cassidy Rowe
- Kentucky’s Zennia Thomas
Florida’s Zippy Broughton, who was inactive for the game due to injury, was also ejected for leaving the bench.
The game was important for both teams, as they were fighting to advance to the next round of the SEC Tournament. Kentucky had a tough season, entering the tournament with a 10-18 record, while Florida came in with a record of 16-13.
Kentucky’s Robyn Benton and Florida’s Myka Perry were called for technical fouls but not ejected. Despite the extra ejection (omitting Zippy Broughton), the Wildcats pulled the upset with a 72-57 victory over the Gators. Robyn Benton led Kentucky in scoring with 20 points and recorded five rebounds.
Gators coach Kelly Rae Finley said in her opening statement to reporters after the game, “That is not how we want to represent ourselves as Florida women’s basketball. So first and foremost, I apologize for that. Because that is not representative of the SEC, the University of Florida, or how we compete.”
Adding, “beyond that, though, I was very, very proud of our student-athletes for how they finished the game.”
“Things happen,” Kentucky coach Kyra Elzy said. “This is two teams battling for wins. The intensity was high. The emotions were high. Obviously, myself or Coach Finley, that’s not how we want to play out, and we’ll both address our teams.
“So it was an unfortunate situation. And it’s a learning experience for all coaches and student-athletes.”
Kentucky has qualified for the next round of the SEC Tournament with their win versus Florida, which is currently taking place at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina. The team is scheduled to face the sixth-seeded Alabama Crimson Tide on Thursday. It’s unclear whether the players will face further disciplinary action after the ejections.
What do you think? Do you agree with the decision to eject eight players from the game?