LEXINGTON, Ky. – No. 8/7 Kentucky women’s basketball puts its four-game winning streak on the line when it travels to Baton Rouge, La., for a Sunday afternoon matinee with LSU at 2 p.m. CST/3 p.m. EST in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. The game will not be televised but broadcast live on the UK IMG Sports Radio Network with Neil Price.
Fans can also follow the UK Hoops team on Twitter at @UKHoopCats. Use the hashtag #UKHoops to comment on the game.
The Wildcats (23-3, 11-2), who currently sit in a tie for second place in the Southeastern Conference standings with No. 10/13 Texas A&M, travel to Baton Rouge, La., for the second of three straight road trips after defeating the Aggies on Monday 70-66 in College Station, Texas.
“This is a very important game for us Sunday in Baton Rouge,” UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell said. “LSU has an outstanding team. We will have to prepare well to beat them. We had a tough game with them here in Lexington. The final margin was not indicative of how difficult the game was. We will have our hands full, another real tough road test for us and we will have to respond to get a victory.”
In the Jan. 27 matchup in Lexington, Ky., sophomore reserve center Azia Bishop (Toledo, Ohio) was crucial to the 73-60 win as she came off the bench for a career-high 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting in just 20 minutes of action. Junior forward Samarie Walker (West Carrollton, Ohio) also shined as she captured her ninth career double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds, while senior guard A’dia Mathies added 15 points.
“They are very, very talented and they have some explosive scorers at really three positions with Theresa Plaisance, and two of their guards, (Adrienne Webb) and (Danielle Ballard) are really, really just difficult players to deal with,” Mitchell added. “They are three of the better offensive players in the league, they can put it on the floor and so I thought the first game they did a great job in trying to find some weak links in us and we had some struggles that day, so it will be imperative that we have great defensive preparation. Another thing is they are really battling for the NCAA Tournament and trying to get that berth. I know that’s important for them with them hosting there in Baton Rouge. I just think it’s going to be a real motivated group and a very talented group so it will be a tough game for us.”
This game could also be significant in the UK record books as Mitchell, who has 137 wins in just six seasons as the head coach of the Wildcats, needs just one more to tie Terry Hall’s record of 138 wins set from 1980-87. His winning percentage of 69.9 percent (137-59) already ranks first. Mitchell was just the third coach in UK Hoops history to record 100 wins and he earned that milestone in just 151 games, becoming the second-fastest coach to reach 100 victories.
The Wildcats look to carry the positive momentum from their last game vs. No. 10/13 Texas A&M into Sunday’s matchup at LSU. Against the Aggies, junior DeNesha Stallworth (Richmond, Calif.) came up big as she flirted with a triple-double. The 6-foot-3 center charted her 20th career double-double, including eighth at UK with 12 points and 12 rebounds, while also swatting a school-record seven blocks. Mathies scored all 13 of her points in the decisive second half, and junior guard Kastine Evans (Salem, Conn.) scored a season-high tying 12 points in her fourth consecutive starting assignment. Walker had nine points and 11 rebounds as UK swept the series with A&M and charted its fourth win over a ranked opponent of the season.
Sunday will mark the 42nd meeting between the teams. LSU leads the all-time series 30-11, including a 12-3 advantage when playing in Baton Rouge. The Wildcats fell last season in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, 61-51. UK’s last win in Baton Rouge was Jan. 28, 2010 (71-62).
Overall this season, Mathies leads UK and ranks second in the league (conference games only) in scoring, averaging 18.1 points per game. The preseason SEC Player of the Year currently ranks in the top 15 of six SEC statistical categories, including second in scoring (18.1) and 3-point field goal percentage (.448). She also ranks in the top 10 of 13 career lists at UK, including third in scoring (1,843) and steals (295). She needs just three points to move up to No. 2 on UK’s all-time scoring list. Mathies is the only player in UK history to accumulate over 1,800 points, 500 rebounds, 300 assists and 250 steals in her career.
In the front court, Stallworth and Walker are giving Kentucky a dynamic inside presence this season. The duo combines to average 22.2 points, 14.8 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game.
LSU (16-10, 7-6), tied for fifth in the SEC standing with Vanderbilt, is coming off a short turnaround after defeating Missouri in overtime on Friday afternoon, 78-74. The Lady Tigers’ Thursday night matchup against Mizzou was scheduled for a 9 p.m. EST tip but was postponed until Friday at 2 p.m. EST due to a massive snow storm and a declared state of emergency in the state of Missouri. Close to 10 inches of snow fell in the Columbia area. Junior Theresa Plaisance scored a game-high 21 points and LSU hit 10-of-12 free throws in overtime to escape with the win.
Overall, Plaisance, a 6-foot-5 center, leads the Tigers in almost every statistical category, including scoring (17.7 ppg), rebounding (7.9 rpg), field goal percentage (.460) and blocks (2.8 bpg). She ranks second in the SEC in scoring and leads the league and ranks 13th nationally in blocks per game.
Two other players average in double-figure scoring in senior guard Adrienne Webb (14.1) and freshman guard Danielle Ballard (12.5). Senior guard Bianca Lutley follows close behind with 9.8 ppg.