LEXINGTON, Ky. – No. 10 Kentucky women’s basketball looks to get back on the winning track when it travels to Oxford, Miss., on Thursday, Feb. 28 to take on Ole Miss in its final regular season road game. The game will tip off at 7 p.m. CST/8 p.m. EST in the Tad Smith Coliseum and be carried 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 (23-4, 11-3) currently sit in a three-way tie for second place in the Southeastern Conference standings with Georgia and Texas A&M. If Tennessee (13-1), which has already clinched at least a share of the SEC regular-season championship, defeats the Aggies on Thursday in Knoxville, Tenn., the Lady Vols, would win the title outright. If UK and A&M win on Thursday, Sunday’s matchups would decide the SEC champion.
“This is an important game for us as this is our last conference game on the road and we need to try to bounce back from our disappointment of Sunday and losing that game,” UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell said. “We reviewed the video of that game and there were some areas where we can improve and do better and Ole Miss I know will be motivated. It’s their last home game so that’s always a night where people are really motivated to do well, last night in their gym. So we will have a big test ahead of us and play well and I know the team wants to bounce back and get a victory tomorrow night.”
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 69.5 percent (137-60) 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.
Senior guard A’dia Mathies (Louisville, Ky.) continues to lead UK and she ranks second in the league (conference games only) in scoring, averaging 18.2 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 (18.2) and third in 3-point field goal percentage (.434). She also ranks in the top 10 of 13 career lists at UK, including No. 2 in scoring and No. 3 in steals. Mathies is the first player in UK history (men or women) to accumulate over 1,800 points, 500 rebounds, 300 assists and 250 steals in her career. She needs just three steals to hit the 300 mark and 12 to tie the school record of 309 set by Stacey Reed from 1991-95.
Following Mathies in the scoring column is junior center DeNesha Stallworth (Richmond, Calif.) and redshirt sophomore point guard Jennifer O’Neill (Bronx, N.Y.) with 12. 6 and 10.3 points per game, respectively. Junior forward Samarie Walker (West Carrollton, Ohio) is UK’s leader in rebounding (8.6), steals (54) and blocks (44).
Ole Miss is 9-18 overall and 2-12 in SEC play after falling to two nationally-ranked teams last week. The Rebels fell at No. 10 Texas A&M 82-53 and at home to No. 12 Georgia 73-54. This marks the final week of play for the Rebels as they will not participate in the SEC Tournament due to a one-year self-imposed postseason ban on its women’s basketball program in response to recruiting and academic violations which occurred last October.
Overall, Tia Faleru leads the team in scoring, averaging 11.7 points per game followed by Valencia McFarland (11.4 ppg) and Diara Moore (10.6 ppg). Courtney Marbra leads the team in rebounding, averaging 5.4 rebounds per game. Two Ole Miss seniors, Courtney Marbra and Maggie McFerrin, will be honored before the game during its Senior Night ceremony.
Brett Frank was named the acting head coach for Ole Miss for the 2012-13 season. Prior to Ole Miss, Frank spent nine years at Fresno State, serving as the associate head coach during the 2011-12 and 2010-11 seasons.
UK trails 20-13 in the all-time series against Ole Miss, including 11-5 in Tad Smith Coliseum. However, UK has won five of the last six meetings, including three in a row. Last season, the Wildcats took an 82-41 win over the Rebels in Lexington.