LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky women’s basketball senior A’dia Mathies and former Wildcat and current student coach Crystal Riley are set to participate in commencement exercises Sunday, May 5 in Rupp Arena.
Mathies, a 5-foot-11 guard from Louisville, Ky., will graduate with a bachelor of arts degree with a major in psychology. Drafted as the 10th pick in the first round by the Los Angeles Sparks in the 2013 WNBA Draft, she will head to training camp in Los Angeles following graduation.
On the hardwood, the two-time Southeastern Conference Player of the Year by The Associated Press ended her illustrious Wildcat career ranking in the top 10 on 13 career lists, including No. 1 in games played (140), games started (139) and steals (320). She moved ahead of former Wildcat great Victoria Dunlap in career scoring at No. 2 with 2,014 points, becoming just the fifth player in UK basketball history, men or women, to chart 2,000 or more career points. She joins Valerie Still (2,763, 1979-83), Dan Issel (2,138, 1967-70), Kenny Walker (2,080, 1982-86), Jack Givens (2,038, 1974-78) on that elite list.
Mathies and fellow senior Brittany Henderson make up the winningest class in school history with a 111-30 (.787) overall record, including a 64-3 (95.5) mark at home. In Mathies’ career, the Wildcats advanced to a school-record four straight NCAA Tournaments, including three Elite Eight appearances.
“This weekend is so special for me and my family,” Mathies said. “I can’t wait to walk across that stage, shake Dr. (Eli) Capilouto’s hand, and get my degree. I’m thankful I came to Kentucky because it has all the resources available to help you succeed and become anything you want. I want to thank the coaching staff, the two academic counselors I’ve had in Jon Ross and Tiffany Hayden and all the other staff in CATS (Center for Academic and Tutorial Services) for everything they’ve done to help me reach this goal.”
Riley, who served as a student coach in the 2012-13 season after completing her eligibility, will earn a bachelor of science degree in education with a major in kinesiology. She aspires remain in the collegiate coaching ranks after graduation. As a player, the Memphis, Tenn., native saw action in 71 games as a point guard after transferring to UK from LSU after one semester. She helped guide the Wildcats to three consecutive NCAA Tournaments for the first time in school history, including two Elite Eight appearances. As a sophomore, she earned the “Stephanie Stumbo Award,” which honors a player who makes outstanding and unselfish contributions to the team. Riley was chosen to participate in the 11th annual Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s “So You Want To Be A Coach” program at this year’s Final Four in New Orleans.
“Sunday will be one of the memorable nights of my life,” Riley said. “It’s been a long time coming but Sunday I get to cash in on all that hard work I put in for my academics. I want to thank Dr. Capilouto, Mitch Barnhart, all the coaches, Ukari Figgs and everyone in CATS for helping me graduate.”
Under head coach Matthew Mitchell, 100 percent of the UK Hoops players completing their eligibility also left with their degree.
“I’m very proud of A’dia and Crystal,” Mitchell said. “They both have been instrumental in our success over the last few years and I want to thank them for their effort and hard work on the court and in the classroom. There are many people behind the scenes that support our players in their pursuit of a college degree so I also want to thank their parents, the assistant coaches and everyone in CATS for helping them achieve their goals. Kentucky is a very special place and I’m looking forward to watching A’dia and Crystal walk across that stage on Sunday.”