LEXINGTON, Ky. – No. 10/11 Kentucky travels to undefeated and third-ranked Duke on Tuesday, Jan. 4 to open 2011 and conclude its nonconference portion of the schedule. The game will be televised live on ESPNU at 7 p.m. EST with Beth Mowins and LaChina Robinson calling the action. It also will be broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Radio Network with Neil Price and online at UKathletics.com.
The Wildcats (11-1) enter Tuesday’s contest riding a six-game winning streak after defeating UT-Martin on Thursday in Memorial Coliseum, 68-47. The Cats are 3-1 on the road this season with their only loss coming at intrastate rival Louisville on Dec. 5.
“Well, our game with Duke has arrived and it’s a game that I know everybody that follows women’s basketball has been excited about all season,” UK Coach Matthew Mitchell said. “I don’t know who all is playing tomorrow night but I would have to say it’s one of the top basketball games in the country. That’s great that Kentucky can play in a game like that and we are excited about the opportunity. It’s going to be a very, very difficult challenge ahead of us and we will have to prepare well and go and execute well to have a chance to beat Duke.”
Reigning Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and UK’s Miss Everything, Victoria Dunlap (Nashville, Tenn.), hopes to return to action after suffering a bruise to her left knee vs. the Skyhawks. She charted seven points and seven rebounds before leaving the game with 9:49 remaining. Dunlap is the team’s leader in scoring (17.1 ppg) and rebounding (9.4 rpg) and is listed in the top five of eight SEC statistical categories, including leading the league in blocks (2.2) and steals (3.9). She also ranks second nationally in the steals per game category.
“She’ll practice today and she’ll try to go tomorrow night full speed,” Mitchell said. “We’ll limit her activity today but we expect, unless we have a real severe setback today, we expect her to be in the starting lineup tomorrow night.”
Junior guard Keyla Snowden (Lexington, Ky.) has been making headlines the past few games for her hot shooting. The 5-foot-7 guard has been on fire from beyond the arc, hitting at least four treys in four consecutive games. Since Dec. 5, Snowden has hit 24-of-41 attempts (.585) and now leads the SEC and ranks fourth nationally in 3-point field goal percentage (.486). She also leads the league and ranks 11th nationally in 3-point field goals made per game (3.2).
No. 11 Duke is 13-0 and off to the best start for a Joanne P. McCallie team over her 19 years as a head coach. Duke is one of only four teams in the nation that is still undefeated -- West Virginia (13-0), North Carolina (13-0), and Florida Gulf Coast (9-0). Duke is currently riding a 15-game winning streak in Cameron Indoor Stadium and has won 38 out of the last 39 games at home. Duke has totaled a 7-0 record at home this season and has won those games by a 16.1 per game margin.
Seniors Jasmine Thomas and Karima Christmas lead the Blue Devils in scoring this season, averaging 14.2 and 10.7 points per game, respectively. Another veteran, senior Krystal Thomas, is the team’s leading rebounder with 8.2 boards per game.
“Duke has a very experienced point guard and a very steady leader in Jasmine Thomas,” Mitchell said. “They’re on their home court with a really, really veteran, outstanding point guard, an all-American type player. They have strength there compared to us and just their overall talent is very good. They are third in the country for a reason. They just have a lot of big, strong, athletic players and they are talented and well coached.”
UK is 0-2 all-time vs. Duke. This will mark the Cats’ first trip to Cameron Indoor Stadium and the first meeting between the squads since 1995. The previous two meetings were at neutral sites. The Cats fell to the Blue Devils in the championship game of the St. John’s Christmas Tournament in Jamaica, N.Y., on Dec. 30, 1986 (68-63) and then lost in the opening game of the Big Four Classic in Greensboro, N.C., on Dec. 29, 1995 (73-54). UK is 10-14 all-time against teams from the current alignment of the Atlantic Coast Conference.