After a three-year absence, Kentucky women’s basketball renews its rivalry with instate foe Western Kentucky University when the Wildcats meet the Lady Toppers Friday, Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. ET in Rupp Arena. The game will be broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio/TV) and FSN South (TV).
The teams last meet on Dec. 22, 2003 with UK taking a 76-63 decision in Bowling Green, Ky. The Cats haven’t met WKU in Lexington since 2002 and have never met the Lady Toppers in Rupp Arena.
“Tomorrow is a very exciting game for us,” UK Coach Matthew Mitchell said. “It is a game we need to come out and play very well in. Western Kentucky is a team that is extremely talented. It will be a good test for us. We are excited to be renewing an old rivalry. We think it will be a good game and we are looking forward to playing in it.”
The game will pit former high school teammates, Wildcat junior point guard Carly Ormerod (Louisville, Ky.) and WKU senior forward Crystal Kelly, against one another for the first time in their collegiate careers. Both former Kentucky Miss Basketball honorees attended Sacred Heart Academy in Louisville where they helped lead the Valkyries to three consecutive state championships.
“I have been looking forward to this game since I saw the schedule,” Ormerod said. “We have kept in touch since high school with text messaging and we have talked a couple of times. This will be the first time that we have played against each other or have ever seen each other play in college. Before the game I’m sure there will be smiles and jokes, but once the game starts we won’t be too good of friends. The game against Western is a huge game for our program and for me. It is a good rivalry and I’m excited to have it back.””
Kentucky (3-3) is coming off a seventh-place finish in the 29th Annual Jack in the Box Rainbow Wahine Classic over the Thanksgiving holiday in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Wildcats fell to first-time opponent Minnesota (92-80) in the first round and No. 21/22 Texas in the second round of the consolation bracket (70-62). UK defeated Lipscomb (76-55) for seventh-place in the eight-team tournament.
Senior Samantha Mahoney (Detroit), who leads UK and ranks fifth in the Southeastern Conference in scoring with 16.2 ppg, extended her double-figure scoring streak to five consecutive games, recording 12 points against Lipscomb. Senior center Sarah Elliott (McKee, Ky.) follows Mahoney in the scoring column with 13.5 ppg. She also pulls down a team-high 7.8 rebounds and shoots 57.1 percent from the floor, which ranks fourth in the SEC. Freshman sharp-shooter Carly Morrow (Chattanooga, Tenn.) is UK’s third-leading scorer with 7.8 ppg. She is shooting an impressive 44.8 percent from the three-point line, a mark that ranks second in the SEC.
Western Kentucky University boasts a 5-2 overall record after defeating Morehead State in its last game, 64-41. Senior forward Crystal Kelly, the Sun Belt Conference Preseason Player of the Year, leads WKU in scoring and rebounding, averaging 23.4 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. Sophomore guard Kenzie Rich follows Kelly in the scoring column with 11.9 ppg.
This will be the 28th meeting against WKU since UK became a varsity sport in 1974-75. The Wildcats played WKU three times prior to the ‘74-75 season and own a 2-1 record in those contests (1922-23, 1923-24 and 1973-74). UK is 9-6 all-time against the Lady Toppers in Lexington.
UK is 19-8 all-time in Rupp Arena and the WKU game will mark the first of five games in the downtown venue this season.