UK Hoops heading to Georgia

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 13/12 Kentucky women’s basketball team looks continue its winning ways when it travels to Athens, Ga. Thursday, Jan. 30 to take on the Georgia Lady Bulldogs at 9 p.m. ET in Stegeman Coliseum. The game will be broadcast live on Fox Sports South.

Kentucky (16-4, 4-3 Southeastern Conference) is coming off a hard-fought win over a tough Arkansas squad on Sunday. The Wildcats trailed by 10 points, 44-34, with 17:30 left in the second half before outscoring the Hogs 34-14 to chart their fourth consecutive win over Arkansas, 68-58.

“We have a tough task and game ahead of us going on the road to play a really tough Georgia team,” UK Hoops head coach Matthew Mitchell said. “They are really athletic, really difficult to score on. They have some great athletes and they are really tough to score on. We will have to really prepare well, work really hard, and try to do as best as we can in practice today to get ready for that. They cause you a lot of problems with their offense. They have a lot of good scorers that can get to the bucket. It will be a big test for us. We will try and put everything we can into it today and go get a victory on the road.”

Junior point guard Jennifer O’Neill (Bronx, N.Y.), who netted a team-high 21 points vs. the Razorbacks, leads a very balanced scoring attack this season as five Wildcats average in double digits. O’Neill averages 12.7 ppg, while senior forwards DeNesha Stallworth (Richmond, Calif.) and Samarie Walker (West Carrollton, Ohio) follow with 11.2 and 10.6 points per game, respectively. Senior guard Kastine Evans (Salem, Conn.) and junior guard Bria Goss (Indianapolis) add 10.2 and 10.0 points per game, respectively. In 20 games, UK has had nine different leading scorers and only twice has a player led the team in scoring in consecutive games: Goss vs. Lipscomb and Middle Tennessee and O’Neill vs. Alabama and Florida.

Walker ranks second overall in SEC rebounding with 9.4 rebounds per game and leads the league in SEC games only with 9.4 boards per game. She ranks third in the SEC in double-doubles with seven, including four in the last seven games.

Goss ranks fifth nationally and leads the SEC in free-throw shooting percentage, hitting 91.8 percent clip (56-of-61). She has currently hit 15 consecutive free throws, spanning six games.

The Lady Dawgs enter Thursday’s game at 14-6 on the season, 2-5 in SEC play. Georgia’s two SEC wins came over Arkansas (60-58) and Florida (68-62).
Georgia ranks in the top five in the SEC in scoring defense (55.9), field goal percentage defense (.359) and rebounding margin (+6.6).

Sophomore guard/forward Shacobia Barbee leads the Lady Bulldogs in scoring and rebounding at 12.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per game, while leading the SEC in steals per game with 2.7. Senior guard Khaalidah Miller and sophomore guard Tiaria Griffin round out the double-digit scorers with 11.3 and 10.5 points per game, respectively. Miller also leads the team in assists with 3.5 assists per game.

Head coach Andy Landers owns a career coaching record of 919-302 in 39 seasons. He is in his 35th season at Georgia.

UGA leads the all-time series with Kentucky 35-14, including 16-4 in Athens. UK’s last win on the road vs. Georgia was in its last trip to Stegeman Coliseum on Jan. 19, 2012. The sixth-ranked Wildcats defeated the 15th-ranked Lady Dawgs, 69-64. Only twice the all-time series has UK won two in a row vs. Georgia. The Cats have never won back-to-back games on the road vs. UGA. Four of the last seven meetings against UGA have been decided by five points or less. UK went 1-3 in those games.

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