LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 17/16 UK Hoops team takes its school-record eight-game Southeastern Conference win streak to Nashville, Tenn., when it faces No. 22 Vanderbilt Sunday, Feb. 14 at 6 p.m. EST in Memorial Gym. The game will be televised live on ESPNU and broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Radio Network with Neil Price. All fans are encouraged to wear pink for Vanderbilt’s WBCA Pink Zone game.
Tickets are available by calling the Vanderbilt ticket office at (615) 322-GOLD (option 1) or toll-free at 1-877-44-VANDY or online at vucommodores.com.
“The Pink Zone is an intuitive that the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association has started,” UK Coach Matthew Mitchell said. “There are over 1,550 schools that are participating in that over the next seven to 10 days. It is an effort to raise awareness for breast cancer research and the Kay Yow Foundation and it’s a great cause. The late Kay Yow, who was a head coach at North Carolina State, started it and a lot of schools are participating. We will have our own WBCA Pink Zone game Thursday, Feb. 18 vs. Florida.”
The Wildcats meet the Commodores on Valentine’s Day looking for a little more love than they’ve received on their last 12 trips. The Cats look to capture their first road win over Vanderbilt in 24 years, having dropped 12 in a row. UK’s last win in Memorial Gym was Feb, 5, 1986 (79-70).
“We have a tremendous challenge in front of us with Vanderbilt,” Mitchell said. “They are a very tough team and a tough matchup for us. They are very skilled and talented basketball team. It is always tough to go on the road in the Southeastern Conference. Our team has a tough game ahead of it and we will have to work extremely hard today and tomorrow to get prepared to have a chance to win down there.”
Despite being picked to finish 11th in preseason polls, Kentucky (21-3) currently ranks second in the SEC boasting a 9-2 mark. It’s the best 11-game SEC record for the Wildcats in school history and the nine league wins ties the school record set in 2005-06.
Leading the way for UK is a trio of Wildcats, including SEC Player of the Year candidate Victoria Dunlap (Nashville, Tenn.) and SEC Freshman of the Year nominee A’dia Mathies (Louisville, Ky.). Dunlap leads with 17.6 points and 8.8 rebounds per game while Mathies and junior point guard Amber Smith (Winter Haven, Fla.) follow with 12.8 and 10.0 ppg, respectively.
Earlier this season, UK snapped a 13-game overall losing skid to the ‘Dores, winning 63-53 on Jan. 10 in Lexington. It will be another tough game in the Music City as once again Vanderbilt (17-7, 6-5 SEC) is one of the top offensive teams in the SEC. The Commodores lead the league in assists (15.7) and rank second in the SEC in field goal percentage (46.0) and three-point field goal percentage (.376).
The Commodores (17-7, 6-5 SEC) are currently in a tie for fourth place after falling to No. 5 Tennessee on Monday. Prior to that loss, Vanderbilt was riding a three-game winning streak with victories over Alabama, Arkansas and Florida.
Leading VU this season is Louisville native Merideth Marsh with 14.8 points per game. Jence Roads, who ranks second in the SEC in assists (5.3), follows with 13.1 ppg and Hannah Tuomi nears the double-digit mark at 9.3 ppg.
Sunday will mark the 40th meeting between the teams. The Commodores lead the overall series 26-13, including a 13-4 advantage when the game is played in Nashville.