LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky women's basketball team was picked to finish third in the Southeastern Conference this season in a voting of a select panel of both SEC and national media members.
The Wildcats finished 25-9 overall last year, 11-5 in SEC play, and advanced to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments for the first time since the 1981-82 and 1982-83 seasons. Despite losing one of the most talented players in UK Hoops’ history in Victoria Dunlap, Kentucky enters the 2011-12 season with high expectations. The Wildcats, led by head coach Matthew Mitchell, who is entering his fifth year at UK, return 10 letter winners, including four starters from last year.
Along with All-SEC first team selection A’dia Mathies (Louisville, Ky.), senior point guard Amber Smith (Winter Haven, Fla.) returns to the hardwood after sitting out the 2010-11 season with a knee injury. One of the nation’s top recruiting classes, Kentucky will welcome three freshmen in Bria Goss (Indianapolis, Ind.), Azia Bishop (Toledo, Ohio) and Bra’Shey Ali (Plainfield, N.J.). Also joining the Wildcats will be sophomore forward Samarie Walker (West Carrollton, Ohio), who will be eligible following the 2011 fall semester after transferring from Connecticut in December of 2010.
Tennessee tops the order of finish with 264 points, with Georgia (228), Kentucky (212), LSU (189), Vanderbilt (172) and Florida (151) rounding out the top half of the league. Arkansas (142), South Carolina (107), Auburn (94), Alabama (55), Mississippi State (54) and Ole Miss (48) round out the bottom half.
Joining Mathies on the All-SEC First Team are Tennessee’s Shekinna Stricklen, Georgia’s Jasmine James, LSU’s LaSondra Barrett and Tennessee’s Glory Johnson. All-SEC Second Team includes Arkansas’ C’eria Ricketts, Ole Miss’ Valencia McFarland, Tennessee’s Meighan Simmons and Vanderbilt’s Stephanie Holzer.
Points were compiled on a 12-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. Each media member also voted for one team as an overall conference champion and a five-player All-SEC Team.
The 2011-12 SEC Media Preseason Poll tips off SEC Basketball Media Days, Oct. 27 at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Ala. The SEC Women’s Basketball Coaches Poll will be released on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
Season tickets for UK’s entire 18-game home schedule are on sale now for $45 except lower-level chair back seating, which are $60 and sold out.
Single-game tickets may be purchased online or by calling the UK Ticket Office at (800) 928-2287 or (859) 257-1818 beginning Monday, Oct. 31 or on Ticketmaster.com beginning Thursday, Nov. 3.
Tickets may be available in the reserved seating areas and in the general admission upper-level bleachers. Prices are as follows: $7 reserved seats (all ages), $7 adult general admission, $4 youth/senior general admission (18 and under, 65 and over). Children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge in the general admission seating area.
Fans interested in season tickets can go to UKathletics.com or call the UK ticket office at 1-800-928-CATS.
The Wildcats' lone exhibition game of the season is free, and scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 6 against Coker College at 2 p.m. ET. Coker College is coached by former Wildcat Jenny Pfeiffer (2003-04, 2006-07). The season opener is Friday, Nov. 11 at Morehead State at 7 p.m. ET while the home opener is Tuesday, Nov. 15 vs. Jacksonville State at 11 a.m. ET.
SEC Media Predicted Order of Finish
1. Tennessee (264)
2. Georgia (228)
3. Kentucky (212)
4. LSU (189)
5. Vanderbilt (172)
6. Florida (151)
7. Arkansas (142)
8. South Carolina (107)
9. Auburn (94)
10. Alabama (55)
11. Mississippi State (54)
12. Ole Miss (48)
All-SEC Preseason First Team (Media)
Jasmine James, Georgia
A’dia Mathies, Kentucky
LaSondra Barrett, LSU
Shekinna Stricklen, Tennessee (Voted preseason Player of the Year)
Glory Johnson, Tennessee
All-SEC Media Preseason Second Team (Media)
C’eria Ricketts, Arkansas
Sarah Watkins, Arkansas
Valencia McFarland, Ole Miss
Meighan Simmons, Tennessee
Stephanie Holzer, Vanderbilt