LEXINGTON, Ky. – The 18th-ranked Kentucky women’s basketball team will play host to Ole Miss Thursday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. ET in Memorial Coliseum. The teams will don pink uniforms to help raise breast cancer awareness and funds for research as part of the annual Play 4Kay initiative. The game will be televised live on Fox Sport South with Dave Baker and LaChina Robinson calling the action. It also will be broadcast on ESPN3 and the UK IMG Sports Radio Network with Neil Price. Fans can follow Twitter updates on @UKHoopCats and use hashtag #MISSvsUK to talk about the game.
Single-game reserved tickets cost of $9 for all ages. General admission tickets for adults are $8 while single-game general admission tickets for seniors and children (ages 6-18, 65 and over) are only $5. UK faculty, staff and children ages five and under are admitted free in the general admission seating area, while supplies last.
The 2014 Play 4Kay initiative is an opportunity for a nation of coaches to raise breast cancer awareness and funds for research on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond. Since its inception in 2007, the Play 4Kay initiative has raised over $2.8 million to support women's cancer research. The Kay Yow Cancer Fund is the official charity of the initiative.
“Well, first of all, that’s (Play 4Kay) a very important part of what is happening all over the country in women’s college basketball and is certainly something that we want to get behind and do our part in raising awareness for breast cancer awareness,” UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell said. “So we’d love for a big crowd to come out and support us in that endeavor.
“It’s going to be a tough game. Ole Miss is certainly a team that has some explosive athletes, one of the best point guards that I’ve seen in the conference in (Valencia) McFarland, and (Tia) Faleru is a very explosive post player that can drive the basketball and just plays with great, great energy and can make an impact on the boards. And then the entire supporting cast is really playing hard. So obviously with Coach (Matt) Insell coming back we’re proud of him but certainly aware that he knows our team very well and I just anticipate them coming in with a lot of energy, a lot of effort and working really hard to get the victory. So we have to prepare well and play well so we can earn a victory tomorrow night.”
UK (17-6, 5-5 SEC) currently ranks seventh in the league standings, while Ole Miss (10-15, 1-10 SEC) is in last place. The Wildcats are looking to get back on the winning track after falling to Florida on Sunday in Gainesville, Fla., 86-80.
Four Wildcats are averaging in double digits this season, led by junior point guard Jennifer O’Neill (Bronx, N.Y.). She is putting up 12.4 points per game, while senior forwards DeNesha Stallworth (Richmond, Calif.) and Samarie Walker (West Carrollton, Ohio) follow with 11.0 and 10.4 points per game, respectively. Junior guard Bria Goss (Indianapolis), who adds 10.0 points per game, ranks fourth nationally and leads the SEC in free-throw shooting percentage, hitting an impressive 92.8 percent clip (64-of-69). She has now made 23 consecutive free throws which ties for fourth all-time on UK’s all-time list for consecutive free-throws made.
Walker ranks second overall in SEC rebounding with 9.1 rebounds per game, and is second in SEC games only with 8.9 boards per game. She posted her 19th career double-double vs. Florida and now has eight this season which ranks third in the SEC. Stallworth also posted a double-double against the Gators with 14 points and a career-high tying 13 rebounds. She now has 24 career double-doubles, including three this season.
Prior to becoming a first-time head coach on March 28, 2013 for the Rebels, Insell spent five seasons as an assistant coach under Mitchell. His Ole Miss squad enters the matchup at 10-15 on the season, 1-10 in SEC play. Its lone SEC win came over intrastate rival Mississippi State in overtime, 87-85.
Junior forward Tia Faleru leads the Rebels with 16.2 points and an SEC-leading 9.5 rebounds per game and 12 double-doubles. Her 16.2 points per game rank fifth in the SEC. Senior point guard Valencia McFarland and senior guard Diara Moore round out the double-figure scorers for Ole Miss with 16.0 and 10.6 points per game, respectively. McFarland averages 6.5 assists per game, which ranks second in the SEC.
The Cats have won the last four meetings vs. Ole Miss but the Rebels still maintain a 20-14 lead in the all-time series, including an 8-7 advantage in Lexington.
UK won last season’s matchup in Oxford, Miss., 90-65, on Feb. 28, 2013.