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UK women host Ole Miss on Thursday

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 6/5 Kentucky women’s basketball team looks to continue its record-breaking season when they meet Ole Miss on Thursday in Memorial Coliseum. It will mark the final home game for the Cats until Feb. 20. Game time is 7 p.m. ET.

This marks the first time in program history UK has started conference play 9-0, and UK’s 20-2 start ties its best start in program history through the first 22 games. Kentucky’s best start to a season was in 1982-83 (21-2). The Wildcats have also won a school-record 12 straight SEC games dating back to last season, and their current 17-game home winning streak is the fourth longest in program history.

“We are looking forward to playing tomorrow night,” UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell said. “We have another tough opponent coming into Memorial. We’re happy to have a chance to play at home and Ole Miss has a good team and we’ll have to be ready to earn a victory. We’re looking for a good practice today and we’re excited to have another chance to play.”

UK earned its third consecutive 20-win season Sunday with an 82-68 win over Alabama. The balanced scoring effort was led by senior Keyla Snowden (Lexington, Ky.) with 14 points, while junior A’dia Mathies (Louisville, Ky.) and freshman Bria Goss (Indianapolis) added 13 and 11 points, respectively. UK forced the Tide into 25 turnovers resulting in 29 points for the Wildcats.

Overall this season, Mathies, who was named to the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top-20 list, leads the team in almost every statistical category, including scoring (15.4), steals (2.9), 3-point field goals made (38) and 3-point field goal percentage (.388). She is also second on the team in rebounding (5.4) and assists (2.4). Goss follows in the scoring column with 11.4, while sophomore forward Samarie Walker (West Carrollton, Ohio) is the team’s leading rebounder with 6.3 rebounds per game.

UK ranks in the top 10 of five national statistical categories. The Cats lead the nation in turnover margin (+11.4), are sixth in won-lost percentage (90.9), seventh in scoring offense (78.1), eighth in scoring margin (21.0) and ninth in steals per game (13.1).

Ole Miss (12-10, 2-7 Southeastern Conference) enters Thursday’s contest coming off a 54-67 loss at home to Auburn on Sunday afternoon. Sophomore point guard Valencia McFarland led the Rebels with team highs in points (15) and assists (four), and a team-high tying five rebounds and three steals.

McFarland leads the Rebels in scoring and assists. The 5-foot-4 Edwards, Miss., native is sixth in the conference in scoring, averaging 13.6 points per game, and is second in the SEC in assists, passing out 5.3 per game. Senior forward Nikki Byrd cleans the glass for Ole Miss, grabbing 9.5 rebounds per game, second in the conference, to go with her 13.1 points per game.

Thursday will mark the 33rd meeting between Ole Miss and Kentucky. The Rebels lead the series 20-12, including an 8-6 advantage when the game is played in Lexington. However, UK has won two in a row vs. the Rebels and two in a row in Lexington. UK won last year’s meeting 74-68 in Oxford on Jan. 27, 2011.

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