LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky women’s basketball guard Paige Poffenberger has medically retired from the game of basketball but will remain in the program and be a vital part of the team in other roles, it was announced Wednesday by Poffenberger and head coach Matthew Mitchell.
“Although I did not foresee my time as a basketball player ending this way, I know God ultimately has a plan and a purpose for this situation,” Poffenberger said. “Regardless of what my title is on paper, I’m extremely excited to continue contributing to the program in any way I can. I love this team and staff more than anything and I’m very humbled and blessed that they’re giving me the opportunity to remain part of this family I unexpectedly walked my way into. I’ll bleed blue forever, and a setback like this isn’t going to change that.”
Poffenberger, who is majoring in biology with aspirations of going to medical school and eventually work in pediatrics, plans to study aboard in Spain next year prior to graduation in 2020. She plans to participate in Senior Day ceremonies along with Maci Morris, Taylor Murray and LaShae Halsel on Sunday, Feb. 24 against LSU at 2 p.m. ET inside Memorial Coliseum.
“Anyone who watched Paige play basketball knows how tough her retirement from the game is on her and our program. However, this decision was made with the best long-term interest of Paige in mind,” Mitchell said. “Our program is built on Honesty, Hard Work and Discipline, and Paige is the perfect embodiment of those traits. She became part of our program at a time when it needed her the most and the intangibles she possesses like unmatched passion and quality leadership will continue to add great value to our program. We are excited for the new chapter and role she has with our team. I know Paige will bring great value to her new role and she will contribute greatly to our team’s success this season. We look forward to the lessons we will learn through this experience.”
The native of Morgantown, W.Va., joined the program as a walk-on in the fall of 2016 and immediately impressed the coaching staff with her hard-nosed style of play and intensity on both ends of the court. The guard played in 35 career games the last two seasons, averaging 5.6 minutes per game and scoring 32 total points. The best outing of her career came her rookie season against Texas A&M where she scored five points with a steal and 3-pointer, while she posted a career-best four rebounds in just six minutes against Alabama in 2017.
Poffenberger came to Lexington as a National Merritt Scholar after a successful academic and athletic career at Morgantown High School where she helped the Mohigans win three straight Class AAA state championships.