LEXINGTON, Ky. – The sixth-ranked Kentucky women's basketball team will help celebrate Alumni Day and the 26th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day on Sunday when the Wildcats play host to Alabama in Memorial Coliseum. Game time is set for 2 p.m. ET as it will be broadcast live on CSS with Matt Stewart and Joe Ciampi calling the action.
Sunday is one of more than 1,000 events taking place across the country for National Girls and Women in Sports Day. Congress has proclaimed this national day each year since 1987. It recognizes the progress of girls and women in sports and the benefits that sports and fitness activities can bring the lives of all girls and women. The day is organized nationally by the Girl Scouts of the USA, Girls Incorporated, National Association for Girls and Women in Sport, the National Women's Law Center and the Women's Sports Foundation. There will be an autograph session with female student-athletes from each of UK's varsity sports beginning at 1 p.m. and the first 1,000 fans will receive a free commemorative poster.
Sunday also is Alumni Day. Over 40 former players will be recognized at halftime and the second annual Alumni Game will be played in Memorial Coliseum at 11 a.m. ET. Admission is free but the arena will be cleared following the game.
“We are setting our sights on Alabama for Sunday afternoon,” UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell said. “It’s a big game for us, we’re glad to be back home in Memorial (Coliseum). It’s our Alumni Day and we will be happy to welcome back a bunch of alumni who have helped us build this program. So that will make it special. Alabama is a team, like many teams in the Southeastern Conference, with a lot of athletes, lot of speed, lot of quickness. We will have to be ready to play well Sunday afternoon and I’m looking forward to getting back to practice and seeing if we can continue to improve.”
UK also will recognize the 1981-82 team at halftime. Thirty years ago, this Wildcat squad posted a 24-8 record en route to UK’s first Southeastern Conference championship and first appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
Led by Coach Terry Hall, the Lady Kats as they were known then, defeated Alabama, LSU and Tennessee to win the SEC Tournament which was held in Memorial Coliseum. UK then advanced all the way to the Midwest Regional Championship before falling to No. 1-ranked and eventual national champion Louisiana Tech on the Lady Techsters’ home floor.
The Lady Kats were led by junior Valerie Still who was named the SEC Tournament Most Valuable Player and finished the season ranked fifth nationally in rebounding (14.3), sixth in scoring (24.8) and 13th in field goal percentage (58.2).
Still will be selling and signing copies of her new book,” Still Alive on the Underground Railroad,” on the WEST concourse of Memorial Coliseum prior to Sunday’s game.
Surrounding the festivities, the Wildcats (19-2, 8-0 Southeastern Conference) look to continue their winning ways after a school-record 8-0 start to begin league play. Kentucky’s 19-2 start ties its best start in program history through the first 21 games. Kentucky’s best start to a season was in 1982-83 (21-2).
Kentucky has won 16 straight at home, the fourth-longest streak in school history, and the Cats are an impressive 44-2 at home over the last three seasons.
Junior guard A’dia Mathies (Louisville, Ky.) continues to dominant in almost every statistical category for the Wildcats this season as she averages 15.9 points per game, 3.0 steals per game and shoots a team-high .384 percent from the 3-point line. Freshman guard Bria Goss (Indianapolis) follows Mathies in the scoring column with 11.3 points per game, while sophomore forward Samarie Walker (West Carrollton, Ohio) pulls down a team-high 6.2 rebounds per game.
UK ranks in the top 10 of five national statistical categories. The Cats lead the nation in turnover margin (+11.5), are sixth in steals per game (13.4), seventh in won-lost percentage (90.5) and eighth in scoring offense (78.6) and scoring margin (21.5).
This is the 37th meeting in the series between Kentucky and Alabama. The Wildcats lead the overall series 21-15, including an 11-5 advantage when the game is played in Lexington. UK has won six straight over Alabama after defeating the Tide last season in Tuscaloosa, 82-69. UK won the last meeting in Lexington, 88-63 (Jan. 17, 2010).
Tickets are sold out. If not able to attend the game, it also will be broadcast nationally on 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.