LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Southeastern Conference announced its 14-team, 16-game women’s basketball schedule for the 2012-13 season on Friday and Kentucky’s slate is highlighted by home matchups with first-time foe Texas A&M and border rival Tennessee, as well as a road matchup with the Aggies as part of ESPN2’s Big Monday.
This marks the fourth year of the 16-game schedule for women’s basketball and the first with 14 teams. The University of Missouri and Texas A&M University officially joined the league on July 1 and will compete in all sports for the first time this upcoming season. The schedule is a single round-robin with one permanent opponent and two random opponents. Kentucky’s permanent partner is South Carolina, and for this season, UK will face LSU and Texas A&M in home-and-away matchups.
“We are excited to receive the SEC schedule,” UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell said. “As always it’s going to be extremely challenging. The addition of Missouri and Texas A&M brings a lot of value to the SEC and that certainly is reflected in women’s basketball and makes our schedule ever tougher. There are new coaches in the league which pose new challenges and I think it’s shaping up to be one of the most exciting SEC seasons that I can remember.”
Kentucky opens league play at home vs. Florida on Jan. 3 before hitting the road to Alabama on Jan. 6. The Wildcats will welcome first-time opponent Texas A&M to Memorial Coliseum on Jan. 10 and travel to Columbia, Mo., to meet new SEC opponent Missouri on Jan. 13.
Four of UK’s next five games will be played in Memorial as Mississippi State and Auburn visit on Jan. 17 and Jan. 20, respectively. LSU travels to Lexington on Jan. 27 and the Wildcats play host to Georgia on Feb. 3. An always tough road game at South Carolina on Jan. 24 breaks up the four home contests.
To close out the conference slate, UK will play five of its final seven games on the road, including a matchup at Texas A&M on Monday, Feb. 18 as part of ESPN2’s Big Monday schedule. The Wildcats and Aggies will be featured in the first game of a doubleheader followed by Baylor at Connecticut in the annual Play 4Kay campaign.
“We have tremendous respect for Texas A&M and their program,” Mitchell said. “Coach (Gary) Blair has been a good friend to me and I’ve learned a lot from him so it’s exciting to have the opportunity to compete against such a quality opponent on a national stage. I know that will be a tough game.”
The Wildcats’ two seniors – A’dia Mathies (Louisville, Ky.) and Brittany Henderson (Pasadena, Calif.) – will be honored prior to Kentucky’s home finale vs. Tennessee on Sunday, March 3.
Following the regular season, Kentucky will head to Duluth, Ga., for the 2013 SEC Tournament in the Gwinnett Center. The tournament will include all 14 teams and begins Wednesday, March 6 and concludes with the championship game on Sunday, March 10.