LEXINGTON, Ky. – Fresh off an exciting 60-58 win over Florida in the Southeastern Conference opener on Thursday, the Kentucky women’s basketball teams looks to ride that momentum down to Starkville, Miss., when the Wildcats take on Mississippi State Sunday, Jan. 13 in Humphrey Coliseum. The game will be aired live on the Big Blue Sports Radio Network with Neil Price. Tip off is set for 3 p.m. EST.
Kentucky (7-8, 1-0 SEC) also looks to chart its third straight win and avenge an 83-75 double-overtime loss to the Lady Bulldogs last season in Rupp Arena. The two teams were nearly even in every statistical category and were tied after every period until the Lady Bulldogs outscored the Wildcats 8-0 in the second overtime.
“Playing on the road in the SEC is always tough and Mississippi State is very good at home,” UK Coach Matthew Mitchell, a Louisville, Miss., native and 1995 graduate of MSU said. “They are 8-1 right now in Starkville and we have to play solid and not turn the ball over 20 times like we did against Florida in order to win down there. Offensively, we are not where we want to be and hopefully our shooting will improve this weekend.”
The Lady Bulldogs are 12-4 overall, 0-1 in the SEC after falling to Vanderbilt in their SEC opener on Thursday in Nashville. Sophomore Alexis Rack and freshman Mary Kathryn Govero led MSU in scoring with 17 and 12 points, respectively. MSU’s leading scorer and rebounder, sophomore Tysheka Grimes, was limited to just three points in the contest. She averages a team-high 12.9 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.
MSU also received a huge blow against Vanderbilt as junior guard Marneshia Richard broke her nose in three places and is out for Sunday’s game. Richard will meet with another doctor on Monday to determine if surgery is needed. Richard was averaging 9.3 points, 3.1 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 2.5 steals per game. She scored 10 points and grabbed five rebounds last season against Kentucky.
Former Kentucky coach Sharon Fanning is in her 13th season at MSU. Fanning coached at Kentucky for eight seasons (1987-1995), compiling a 134-97 overall record.
Senior guard Samantha Mahoney (Detroit), who moved up to No. 10 on UK’s all-time scoring list, leads Kentucky and ranks seventh in the SEC in scoring with 14.9 points per game. Senior Sarah Elliott (McKee, Ky.) follows with 11.6 ppg and pulls down a team-high 6.8 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game.
Mahoney led UK to the two-point win over the visiting Gators by scoring a team-best 22 points, including 11 in the first half. Freshman point guard Amber Smith (Winter Haven, Fla.) followed with career-high 13 points, also scoring 11 of those in the opening stanza. Senior reserve guard/forward Chelsea Chowning (Berea, Ky.) was a key factor in the win, as she came off the bench to nail 2-of-3 three-pointers, chart seven points, three rebounds, two blocks, two steals and a take a game-saving charge with :02 seconds remaining in the game. She is averaging 5.5 points and 3.4 rebounds this season.
This is the 32nd meeting between Mississippi State and Kentucky. MSU holds a slight 16-15 lead in the all-time series, including an 8-5 advantage when the game is played in Starkville, Miss. UK’s last win against the Lady Bulldogs on the road was a 51-46 decision in 2006.