LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky women’s basketball team opens the Matthew Mitchell era on Thursday when it plays host to NCAA Division II foe Kentucky Wesleyan in the first of two exhibition contests in Memorial Coliseum. Tip-off between the Wildcats and Panthers is set for 7 p.m. EDT and the game will be carried live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio) with Neil Price. The game will be open to the public free of charge with seating on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The Wildcats are coming off their second consecutive 20-win season, going 20-14 and advancing to the third round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament. Kentucky’s three consecutive appearances in postseason play mark the most since the programs four-year string of appearances from 1979-83.
A new era in Kentucky women’s basketball begins as Mitchell, the former top assistant coach at UK under Mickie DeMoss, returned to take over the reigns after two seasons as the head coach at Morehead State University. Mitchell welcomes back nine letter winners and four starters from last season’s squad, including three-time All-SEC selection Samantha Mahoney (Detroit), senior center Sarah Elliott (McKee, Ky.), and junior All-SEC point guard Carly Ormerod (Louisville, Ky).
“We’re excited to play tomorrow with our first exhibition game,” UK Coach Matthew Mitchell said. “I’ve been pleased with how the preseason has gone up until this point. I am seeing improvement every day in our mental attitude and our mental toughness. This has been one of the big keys to the success this season. We’re excited to play somebody besides going against ourselves, so it will be a good atmosphere and a good situation for us tomorrow.”
Kentucky Wesleyan, which finished last season with an 18-10 record, is a member of the Great Lakes Valley Conference. The Panthers tied for third in the GLVC Eastern Division with an 11-8 league record, as the squad produced the second-most overall wins and second-most conference wins in program history. Kentucky Wesleyan returns three starters from last season’s squad, including 5-foot-10 senior forward LaTasha Henry, who was the team’s leading scorer (13.1 ppg) and rebounder (7.8 rpg) from a year ago.
UK and Kentucky Wesleyan, located in Owensboro, Ky., have not met in the modern era. The last meeting between the two teams was in 1924. In the early days the series is tied at 11-11.
Kentucky concludes its 2007-08 exhibition schedule on Monday, Nov. 5, when it plays host to the Ohio Girls Basketball Magazine All-Stars at 7 p.m. in Memorial Coliseum.
Venue Change for Western Kentucky Game
Kentucky's game vs. intrastate rival Western Kentucky, scheduled for Nov. 29 at 7 p.m. ET, has been moved to Rupp Arena. The game, originally scheduled for Memorial Coliseum, has been moved to the downtown Lexington venue to accommodate the Wildcats potentially playing host to the first and second rounds of the NCAA Volleyball Tournament. Should Kentucky be granted a bid to serve as a host site for volleyball, the first round of play would also occur on Friday, Nov. 29. The UK Hoops game vs. WKU will be televised live on BBSN/FSN South at 7 p.m. ET.
UK will now play five games in the downtown venue. They are Western Kentucky (Nov. 30), Louisville (Dec. 20), LSU (Jan. 27), Ole Miss (Feb. 7) and South Carolina (March 2).
Single-game Tickets On Sale Nov. 1
Single-game tickets for UK’s 15 exciting home games go on sale Thursday, Nov. 1. Single-game tickets are available at a cost of $5 for reserved seats (Rupp Arena only) while general admission seats are $5 for adults and $2 for seniors and children ages 6-18. Age five and under are admitted free. Reserved seats require a ticket regardless of age. Season tickets also are available at a cost of just $45.
Fans are encouraged to order their seats as soon as possible by visiting the Joe Craft Center ticket office from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Single-game tickets also can be purchased by visiting ukathletics.com or by calling the UK ticket office at 859-257-1818 or 1-800-928-CATS (2287).