LEXINGTON, Ky. – No. 7/8 Kentucky looks to get back on the winning track and hold on to first place in the Southeastern Conference when it travels to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to face the Crimson Tide on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. ET in Foster Auditorium.
The Wildcats (21-4, 10-2 SEC) 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, and their four SEC road wins are two shy of tying the school record of six set in 2005-06. Kentucky has won each of its past seven games against the Crimson Tide, including an 82-68 victory on Jan. 29 at Memorial Coliseum. UK Hoops has won its past three games in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
“We are headed to a tough, tough game against Alabama,” UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell said. “The first game we played against them we played a very good first 16 minutes or so, and then they took it to us pretty good for the remainder of the game. We have many examples of how tough they can be just with our own experience with them. They’ve been playing much better in the last few games. It’s a big test for us on the road, it’ll be an important game and a big game for us and we will be working hard this afternoon and this morning to finish our preparations and be as prepared as possible for a tough Alabama team. We’re looking forward to getting back on the court and playing what we know will be a tough game.”
Leading the way for the Wildcats this season 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 (15.0), steals (2.7) and 3-point field goal percentage (.368). She is also second on the team in rebounding (5.3), assists (2.5), blocks (0.7) and 3-point field goals made (39). 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 three of the last four games, and she leads the team in charges taken with 16. Sophomore forward Samarie Walker (West Carrollton, Ohio) is UK’s leading rebounder with 6.1 rebounds per game.
UK ranks in the top 10 of four national statistical categories, including leading the nation in turnover margin (+11.9). The Cats have forced at least 20 turnovers in 20 games this season, including 36 at Ole Miss.
Alabama (11-15, 1-11 Southeastern Conference) enters Thursday’s contest coming off a 46-51 loss to LSU at home. Junior guard Meghan Perkins and sophomore guard Shafontaye Myers led Alabama in scoring with 10 points each. Freshman forward Aneesah Daniels led the Crimson Tide on the glass with a team-high seven rebounds, including four offensive boards.
Sophomore guard Jasmine Robinson has led Alabama in scoring this season with 11.1 points per game. Perkins is the Crimson Tide’s top rebounder, pulling down 5.4 boards per game to go along with her 9.4 points per game average, the second highest on the team. Sophomore guard Khristin Lee runs the Alabama offense, dishing out 2.72 assists per game, 15th best in the conference.
Thursday will be the 38th meeting in the series between Kentucky and Alabama. The Wildcats lead the overall series 22-15, including a 9-7 advantage when the game is played in Tuscaloosa. This is UK’s first game in Foster Auditorium. UK has won seven straight over Alabama after defeating the Tide earlier this season in Lexington, 82-68. The Cats have won the last three matchups in Tuscaloosa.