LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky women’s basketball team have won four of their last five games and look to continue their winning ways when they take on South Carolina in the Colonial Center in Columbia, S.C., Thursday, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m. EST. The game will be televised live on FSN South as the SEC Game of the Week. It also will be broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Radio Network with Neil Price.
The Wildcats (9-9, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) are fresh off a thrilling 62-55 upset over No. 20/18 Auburn in Lexington on Sunday, the Cats’ first win over a ranked opponent this season and first since 2006. Four players scored in double-digits for Kentucky as senior Sarah Elliott (McKee, Ky.) and sophomore Amani Franklin (Decatur, Ga.) led the way with 14 and 13 points, respectively. Senior Samantha Mahoney (Detroit) followed with 12 points, her third consecutive game with that point total, and freshman Amber Smith (Winter Haven, Fla.) added 11 points along with a career-high nine rebounds. UK owned the battle on the boards for the second straight game, outrebounding the Tigers 44-34. The Cats also outrebounded No. 2 Tennessee, 36-28.
“We are very pleased to be off to a good start in the Southeastern Conference,” UK Coach Matthew Mitchell said. “We had a very tough non-conference schedule and we didn’t handle it well. But, we learned a lot to prepare for league play. We worked on some weaknesses and it helped us prepare for conference play. We’re happy to be 3-1 and we have a tough game ahead of us in Columbia.”
Defense and rebounding has been the name of the game for the Wildcat squad. Despite struggling early in a tough non-conference slate, UK has allowed only one opponent (Tennessee) to shoot over 35.7 percent from the field since the Old Dominion loss on Dec. 28. The Cats also have outrebounded five of the last seven opponents and own a 5-2 record in that span.
Mahoney leads a balanced scoring attack, averaging 14.4 points per game. Elliott follows with 11.1 points and leads UK in rebounding with 6.3 rpg. Freshman forward Victoria Dunlap (Nashville, Tenn.) is close behind in the rebounding column with 6.2 rpg.
South Carolina (11-7 overall, 0-3 SEC) is looking for its first league win of the season after a 74-61 loss at Ole Miss on Sunday. Freshman guard Jordan Jones, the SEC leader in three-point field goals made, recorded 18 points, including hitting four three-pointers to lead the Gamecocks. Junior forward Demetress Adams followed with 13 points and a team-high tying seven rebounds. Prior to the loss at Ole Miss, South Carolina dropped a pair of league games at Alabama and vs. No. 2 Tennessee. Jones leads the team in scoring, averaging 12.9 points per game. Adams and junior guard Brionna Dickerson follow with 11.8 and 10.7 ppg, respectively.
UK leads the all-time series over USC 25-14 but trails 11-6 when the game is played in Columbia. The Gamecocks have won two of the last three meetings in Columbia, including a 66-56 decision last season. This is the first of two meetings with the Gamecocks this season as UK also will play host to USC on March 2 in Rupp Arena. In the two-year rotating SEC schedule, USC is UK’s permanent home-and-home opponent. The Cats also will play Tennessee and LSU twice this year.
The Wildcats return home for their next game Sunday, Jan. 27 in Rupp Arena. Join the UK Hoops team as they “Pack the House” against No. 9 LSU at 2:30 p.m. EST. Go to UKathletics.com to receive general admission seating for just $1! Coupons must be redeemed at Rupp Arena on game day.
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