LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky women’s basketball team looks to extend its three-game winning streak when the Wildcats play host to No. 2 Tennessee Thursday, Jan. 17 in Memorial Coliseum. The game will be aired live on the Big Blue Sports Radio Network with Neil Price. Tip off is set for 7 p.m. EST.
A limited amount of single-game general admission tickets are available for $5 adults/$2 senior citizens and children 6-18. Ages five and under are admitted free. UK students, faculty and staff also are admitted free with valid identification based on availability. For ticket information, log on to ukathletics.com or call the UK ticket office at 859-257-1818 or 1-800-928-CATS (2287).
Fans are encouraged to park in Parking Structure 5 located next to Kennedy’s Bookstore on Limestone Avenue. Parking within Parking Structure 5 will be available free of charge. A shuttle bus service also will be provided and begins one hour prior to game time until one hour after the game. Additional game day parking is available in the E lots surrounding Memorial Coliseum including the Martin Luther King Parking Lot and the Student Center Parking Lot. Parking Structure 2, located adjacent to the William T. Young library, also is available for Thursday.
The Wildcats (8-8, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) look to extend their three-game winning streak after defeating Wofford, Florida and Mississippi State in the last week. UK begins its SEC slate at 2-0 for the second consecutive season head coach Matthew Mitchell becomes the first first-year coach in UK history to start conference play with a 2-0 record.
“We are up against a very good opponent tomorrow night,” Mitchell said. “Tennessee is having a great season and playing very well. We will clearly be the underdog in the game. We have to make sure we are working very hard in practice to focus on the simple things that we need to do but is not real easy to accomplish against a team like Tennessee. I think our team has improved since Christmas and we are really pleased with the 2-0 start in SEC. Tennessee poses a tough challenge. I think our players are ready to go out and compete very hard tomorrow night.”
Senior guard Samantha Mahoney (Detroit) leads a balanced scoring attack for Kentucky, averaging 14.7 points per game. Senior center Sarah Elliott (McKee, Ky.), who might miss the UT game due to a knee injury sustained on Sunday vs. Mississippi State, follows with 11.1 points and is tied for first in rebounds with 6.4 rpg. Freshman forward Victoria Dunlap (Nashville, Tenn.), the reigning SEC Freshman of the Week, also pulls down 6.4 rpg along with 8.1 ppg.
Tennessee is 14-1, 2-0 in the SEC after defeating South Carolina Sunday, 71-48. The Lady Vols’ only loss this season came against No. 5 Stanford in overtime, 73-69 and they have won four straight since that setback. Junior forward Candace Parker leads five Lady Vols in double-digit scoring. The All-American also leads the SEC and ranks ninth in the country in scoring, averaging 20.9 points per game. She is pulling down a squad-best 8.4 rebounds a game as well. Senior guard Alexis Hornbuckle follows Parker in the scoring column with 11.3 ppg.
“Parker may now be the best player in the women’s game at the professional or college level,” Mitchell said. “She poses a lot of challenges. I think with her you have to have defenders that have a short memory because she is going to make some spectacular and very athletic plays. You have to play vey physical and hard against her and you can’t hang your head against her or she will really exploit that. You have to make her earn her points and she is very capable of doing that. We have to play with a high level of intensity and stick within our game plan to try and slow her down. I don’t think you can really stop her.”
This marks the 48th meeting between the border rivals, the 24th meeting in Lexington. UT holds a 41-6 lead in the all-time series dating back to 1976, including a 19-4 advantage over the Wildcats in Lexington. However, the last time the teams met in Lexington, UK upset the top-ranked Lady Vols, 66-63, in Rupp Arena. UK’s last win over UT in Memorial Coliseum was on Jan. 24, 1986 (96-82).