LEXINGTON, Ky. – No. 6/6 Kentucky, off to the second-best start in school history, looks to continue its six-game winning streak when it plays host to Florida on Sunday in Memorial Coliseum at 2 p.m. ET. The game will be televised live on the SEC Network with Cara Capuano and Abby Waner calling the action.
Sunday is the second matchup between the squads this season as UK defeated the Gators in Gainesville, Fla., on Jan. 1, 59-56.
“We have a tough, tough matchup here Sunday afternoon with Florida,” UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell said. “The first one was probably the most physical game we’ve had yet in the conference. It was just a really tough, tough, physical test for us. It was great that we were able to win that game in Gainesville, (Fla.,) by a very slim margin. (It’s a) tough team we’re playing, they have some really good players, and (they are) well coached so we’ll have to do everything we can to get ready for our second meeting with Florida and we need to see if we can get another win.”
Kentucky is off to its second-best start in school history. At 17-2, it’s the best start since the 1982-83 team began 19-2. The Wildcats have won 15 straight games at home which ranks as the fourth-longest streak in school history and ties for ninth nationally.
The Wildcats (17-2, 6-0 Southeastern Conference) are coming off their second straight come-from-behind victory and third consecutive win over a ranked opponent with a gritty 69-64 decision over No. 15/14 Georgia in Stegeman Coliseum on Thursday. Trailing by 10 (46-36) with 15:42 to go in the game, UK went on a 24-7 run paced by 13 points from freshman Bria Goss (Indianapolis), to capture its first win in Athens, Ga., since 2008. The rookie guard ended the game with a career-high 22 points, netting 17 of those in the decisive second half. Sophomore Samarie Walker (West Carrollton, Ohio) also gave the Cats a boost off the bench as she recorded a career-best 18 points and nine rebounds in just 20 minutes of play. Overall, UK’s bench outscored Georgia’s 34-0 and the Cats won the battle of the boards, 47-36.
Leading the way this season is junior guard and Naismith Award Watch List member A’dia Mathies (Louisville, Ky.). She continues to dominate in almost every statistical category as she averages 16.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.2 steals per game. She has netted double figures in 14 of 18 games she has played this season, including seven games with 20 or more points. She ranks second in the SEC and 25th nationally in steals per game, having swiped at least one steal in 19 consecutive games dating back to last season.
Goss also continues to impress as she ranks second on the team in scoring behind Mathies and is the SEC’s top freshman scorer with 12.0 points per game. She has scored in double figures in all but four games this season, including a career-high 22 points at Georgia.
Florida (13-6, 3-3 SEC) enters Sunday’s contest coming off a 61-37 home win over Alabama on Thursday. Junior forward Jennifer George led Florida to the victory with team-highs in points (15) and rebounds (12) en route to recording her fourth double-double in Southeastern Conference play.
George leads the Gators in scoring and rebounding, averaging nearly a double-double with 13.7 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. George has 11 double-doubles on the season, including four in conference play. Senior guard Lanita Bartley facilitates the Gators’ offense, passing out a team-high 3.37 assists per game.
UK and Florida meet for the 45th time in school history. The series is tied at 22 apiece but UK leads 11-9 when the game is played in Lexington, including 10-9 in Memorial Coliseum. The Cats are looking for their fourth-straight win over the Gators, including fourth in a row in Lexington.
Tickets are sold out. If not able to attend the game, it will be televised live on the SEC Network and a live video stream is available via ESPN3.com. It also can be heard on the UK IMG Sports Radio Network with Neil Price. Fans can also follow the UK Hoops team on Twitter at @UKHoopCats and use #UKHoops to comment on the game.
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