WKYT | Lexington, Kentucky | Sports

UK Hoops "Pack the House" in Rupp Sunday

LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Kentucky women’s basketball team looks to continue their winning ways when they play host to No. 9 LSU in Rupp Arena Sunday, Jan. 27 at 2:30 p.m. EST. UK Hoops encourages fans to “Pack the House” in the first meeting against the nationally-ranked Lady Tigers in the downtown venue as general admission tickets vouchers are available at UKathletics.com for only $1. The game will be televised live on FSN South as the SEC Game of the Week and also broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio) with Neil Price.

Ages five and under are admitted free. UK students, faculty and staff also are admitted free with valid identification based on availability. For further ticket information, log on to ukathletics.com or call the UK ticket office at 859-257-1818 or 1-800-928-CATS (2287).

“We are very pleased to get another road win last night at South Carolina,” UK Coach Matthew Mitchell said. “To be 4-1 after our first five SEC games was critical to us having a successful season. LSU poses some challenges for us that are unique to a couple of teams in the league. Athletically, they are very strong at all positions and they will pose some tough match-ups for us. I think our players are progressing along nicely, especially our younger players who are gaining confidence with the wins we are getting. We feel like we are making a move to be the best basketball team we can be. LSU will be a tough test and we are looking forward to playing them and seeing how we can stack up against them.”

The Wildcats (10-9 overall, 4-1 Southeastern Conference) are coming off a hard-fought 66-62 win over South Carolina on Thursday. Sophomore Amani Franklin (Decatur, Ga.) scored a career-high 21 points and freshman point guard Amber Smith (Winter Haven, Fla.) added 13 points as the Cats won their second straight SEC game to begin league play at 4-1 for the first time since 2005-06.

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 (UT) 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 eight opponents and own a 6-2 record in that span.

Senior guard Samantha Mahoney (Detroit) leads a balanced scoring attack, averaging 14.1 points per game. Senior center Sarah Elliott (McKee, Ky.) follows with 10.8 points (8th in the SEC) and leads UK in rebounding with 6.3 rpg. Freshman forward Victoria Dunlap (Nashville, Tenn.) is close behind in the rebounding column with 6.1 rpg.

No. 9 LSU (15-3, 4-0 SEC) is coming off a 79-59 win at No. 25 Auburn on Thursday. All-American 6-6 center Sylvia Fowles led the Lady Tigers in scoring and rebounding with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Senior guard Quianna Chaney followed with 21 points, including six three-pointers and eight assists.

“Fowles is a tremendous challenge to match up with,” Mitchell said. “She is athletic, tall and just as strong as any post player in the country. I was watching film this morning and she is very hard to guard because she goes to work on every single possession and we will have to have great team-effort to guard her because you cannot do it with one person.”

Fowles leads the Lady Tigers on both sides of the ball with 16.9 points (3rd in the SEC) and 9.4 rebounds per game (3rd in the SEC). Chaney also averages double-digit scoring with 14.8 ppg.

LSU is led by former Ole Miss head coach Van Chancellor. He is in his first year after serving a 10-year stint with the WNBA's Houston Comets. Chancellor, a native of Louisville, Miss., also the home town of Matthew Mitchell, returned to college basketball and the SEC for the first time since the 1996-97 season when he left Ole Miss after 19 seasons.

The game will mark the teams’ first matchup in Rupp Arena. The Lady Tigers lead the overall series 23-7, including an 8-4 advantage when playing in Lexington. The Wildcats, who have won six of their last seven games, are 19-10 all-time in Rupp Arena and look to chart their first over the Lady Tigers at home since 1998. UK’s last win over LSU was in the SEC Tournament in 1999. UK upset the 17th-ranked Tigers, 81-71.


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