LEXINGTON, Ky. - No. 7/8 Kentucky women's basketball returns to the friendly confines of Memorial Coliseum for its Play 4Kay game vs. No. 24 Vanderbilt on Monday night. Game time is 9 p.m. ET as it will be televised live on ESPN2 with Pam Ward and Rebecca Lobo calling the action.
Fans are encouraged to wear pink and $1 from every single-game ticket purchased will be donated to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. Fans wishing to make a contribution in person can do so at the marketing gazebos located on each concourse prior to the game.
The 2012 Play 4Kay initiative, Feb. 10-20, is an opportunity for a nation of coaches to raise breast cancer awareness and funds for research on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond. The official charity is the Kay Yow Cancer Fund in partnership with The V Foundation and Women's
Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA).
After falling at Alabama on Thursday, the Wildcats (21-5, 10-3 Southeastern Conference) currently sit in a tie with Tennessee for first place with three games remaining in the regular season. UK had one of its best starts in program history, winning 21 of its first 23 games and each of its first 10 games in league play.
"We have a huge game coming up Monday night with Vanderbilt," UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell said. "We have obviously been through a tough spot here - a tough patch of basketball. Our team really needs our fans to come out Monday night. I know it's a late tip, but this team has been terrific at home and we've had a great season up to this point at home in Memorial and we need a big crowd for a very, very important game against Vanderbilt. They are a tough opponent, a very good opponent, and we'll have to prepare very hard over the next couple days to get ready for it. I just want everybody to know what a big game it is and I hope everybody will come out and watch us play and we'll be working hard to get ready for it."
The Wildcats have their sights set on winning their first SEC regular season championship since 1982. The Cats are just one win away from tying the most SEC wins in school history at 11. Kentucky has won the last three meetings against Vanderbilt, including a 78-68 win last season in Lexington.
Leading the way for the Wildcats is junior All-America and SEC Player of the Year candidate A'dia Mathies (Louisville, Ky.). Mathies leads the team in almost every statistical category, including scoring (15.4), steals (2.8), 3-point field goals made (41) and 3-point field goal percentage (.380). She is also second on the team in rebounding (5.2), assists (2.6) and blocks (0.7). SEC Freshman of the Year contender Bria Goss (Indianapolis) follows in the scoring column with 11.6 points per game. She has scored in double digits in four of the last five games, and she leads the team in charges taken with 18. Sophomore forward Samarie Walker (West Carrollton, Ohio) is UK's leading rebounder with 6.1 rebounds per game.
Vanderbilt enters Monday night's game coming off a 75-69 overtime victory against Florida at home on Thursday. The Commodores were led by junior forward Tiffany Clarke's 18-point, 17-rebound double-double. Sophomores Jasmine Lister (16 points), Christina Foggie (15 points) and Stephanie Holzer (14 points) also reached double figures in scoring.
Vanderbilt has been led this season by Foggie, who is averaging 18.0 points per game, the most in the SEC. Foggie has done much of her damage from beyond the arc, shooting an SEC-best 43.7 percent from 3-point range and knocking down an SEC-best 2.8 3-pointers per game. Clarke leads the Commodores on the glass with 7.6 rebounds per game, the fifth best average in the league. Holzer isn't far behind, averaging 7.4 boards per game, the sixth best mark in the SEC.
The Commodores have won six of their last seven games and are tied for fourth in the SEC standings with an 8-5 mark.