LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky women’s basketball team will play host to James Madison University Wednesday, March 26 at 7 p.m. EST in the third round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament in Memorial Coliseum. The game will be broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Radio Network with Neil Price. The Wildcats defeated Middle Tennessee Friday in exciting fashion, winning in overtime, 68-66. The Dukes also needed overtime to advance as they won on the road against Indiana Saturday night, 86-81.
Reserved seats for the WNIT are $10 each (all ages). General admission seats are $10 for adults and $4 for youth/seniors (18 & under, 65+). Tickets for UK Students are $4 each with a valid student identification card and must be purchased at the ticket office. 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 at 6 p.m. EST and ends at 10 p.m. EST. 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. The R Lot, located north of the Craft Center will NOT be available for public parking and will be protected.
The Wildcats, who finished fourth in Southeastern Conference for the second time in three years, are 16-15 overall, 8-6 in conference play. The Cats overcame injuries to key players (five different players have missed 49 total games) and navigated their way through one of the nation’s toughest schedules (currently ranked 14th nationally by CollegeRPI.com). UK posted wins over RPI Top 50 programs Georgia (twice) and Florida and earned three wins over nationally-ranked opponents in Georgia (twice) and Auburn.
In Friday’s second round game against MTSU, sophomore Lydia Watkins (Hopkinsville, Ky.) came off the bench to record her first career double-double with a career-high 16 points and 16 rebounds. Senior Chelsea Chowning (Lexington, Ky.) added 13 points and All-SEC freshman Victoria Dunlap (Nashville, Tenn.) grabbed a career-best 14 rebounds and four blocks. The Wildcats outrebounded the Blue Raiders 53-29, their largest rebounding margin of the season.
All-SEC selections and seniors Samantha Mahoney (Detroit) and Sarah Elliott (McKee, Ky.) lead the Wildcats in overall scoring this season, averaging 13.0 ppg (9th SEC) and 10.6 ppg (20th SEC), respectively. Dunlap follows with 6.9 points and a team-high 6.6 rebounds per game (15th SEC).
James Madison, located in Harrisonburg, Va., is 24-9 overall and finished second behind Old Dominion in the Colonial Athletic Conference with a 14-4 record. The Dukes are led in scoring and rebounding by CAA Player of the Year Tamera Young. The 6-2 senior averages an impressive 20.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. Freshman point guard Dawn Evans, a CAA All-Freshman selection, is second in scoring with 13.2 points. The duo posted incredible numbers against the Hoosiers on Saturday, combining for 68 of JMU’s 86 points. Evans dropped in 38 while Young added 30. The Dukes defeated Radford 80-58 in their WNIT opener. Young scored a school-record 38 points in that game.
Kentucky is 1-1 all-time vs. James Madison but hasn’t met the Dukes since 1991. The Wildcats are 9-11 all-time against teams from the Colonial Conference, 1-1 this season after defeating William & Mary on Dec. 4, 75-44 and falling to Old Dominion on Dec. 28, 71-62.
UK has three common opponents with JMU this season in ODU, George Washington and William & Mary. The Cats went 1-2 vs. those teams while the Dukes posted a 5-1 mark, including wins over nationally-ranked ODU and GW.
This is Kentucky’s fifth all-time appearance in the WNIT, its third in the last four years. The Wildcats are participating in their school-record fourth consecutive postseason tournament and own an 11-3 record all-time in the postseason event. This is the second straight season the Wildcats have advanced to the third round. Last season, UK defeated Oakland and Ball State before falling to the eventual runner-up Wisconsin in the third game, 67-61.