Sports

UK women’s basketball roster shrinks further with dismissal of former state prep star


An already-limited University of Kentucky women’s basketball roster became one player shorter Friday night when the Wildcats announced that sophomore guard Erin Toller was dismissed from the team for a failure to uphold the standards of the program.

“We hold our players to a high standard at Kentucky,” second-year head coach Kyra Elzy said in a news release. “Unfortunately, Erin was not consistently meeting those standards, so she has been dismissed from the program. We wish Erin and her family nothing but the best moving forward.”

The 5-foot-7 Toller, a Lexington Herald-Leader First Team All-State player for Sacred Heart Academy in Louisville as a high school senior, played in five games for 25 total minutes as a freshman in 2020-21, scoring 11 points.

Toller overcame multiple knee injuries in high school and ultimately chose Kentucky over Tennessee, Western Kentucky and Xavier.

Kentucky’s roster is now listed at 10 players: guards Robyn Benton, Blair Green, Rhyne Howard, Treasure Hunt, Emma King, Jazmine Massengill and Jada Walker; forwards Dre’una Edwards and Nyah Leveretter and center Olivia Owens.

Kentucky lost four players after last season, including starters Chasity Patterson, KeKe McKinney and Tatyana Wyatt.

The Wildcats brought in only one new player this offseason: the freshman Walker.

Elzy spoke last month about how team cohesion was a focus of this offseason, following last season’s 18-9 finish and second-round knockout in the NCAA Tournament.

“One of the things that I talked to the staff about, the culture, that was really important to me, making sure that we were recruiting the type of kid that fit the style of play that we wanted to play,” Elzy said. “But also off the court, I’m looking for high-character athletes that want to achieve academic success. We have always been a blue-collar, roll up your sleeves, go to work type of program, so it was really important to make sure that was the type of kid that we were finding at Kentucky.”

Fans can get their first look at the 2021-22 Wildcats on Friday when UK hosts its annual Big Blue Madness celebration of the opening of basketball season in Rupp Arena. The event begins at 7 p.m. and will be televised on the SEC Network.

The Wildcats host Lee University for an exhibition game on Nov. 4 before tipping off the regular season against Presbyterian College at home on Nov. 9.

Herald-Leader Staff writer Cameron Drummond contributed to this article.

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