No. 13 Kentucky Hosts Colorado Sunday in Memorial

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Following a historic Wednesday night in Memorial Coliseum, where junior guard Makayla Epps recorded a triple-double and three UK players scored 20 or more points in the same game for the first time in 26 years, No. 13 Kentucky looks to continue its success Sunday when it plays host to the Colorado Buffaloes at 2 p.m. ET inside Memorial Coliseum. 

“We were happy to get back in Memorial on Wednesday and get a good win and now we have to turn our sights to Colorado,” UK head coach Matthew Mitchell said. “They were explosive in their first game, scoring 92 points. They had a lot of players involved and they have some new people in the mix this year that they are getting familiar with. They run a triangle offense and play really, really hard and are good at executing what they run. The one thing that I know that will occur on Sunday is that they will play very, very hard. We need to get to that spot as well. We need to play harder on the defensive end and make some good things happen with our intensity and we are just not there yet, but we will keep practicing and keep working. Then our offensive execution has a lot of room for improvement right now. We have a lot of things going on that we need to improve and we just have to really fight for improvement over the next month or so. There will be a lot of challenges coming our way and Colorado will pose a big challenge for us on Sunday. So we will just stay at it and keep working.” 

Gameday Central
Colorado at Kentucky
Sunday, Nov. 22 - 2 p.m. ET
Lexington, Ky. - Memorial Coliseum
Game Notes: UK Get Acrobat Reader | Colorado Get Acrobat Reader
Coverage

TV: SEC Network+
Radio: UK Sports Radio Network (630AM WLAP in Lexington)
Game Center (free audio, live stats)
Twitter
Text Updates

Season tickets and single-game tickets for the 2015-16 season are on sale now through Ticketmaster. Season tickets (including Rupp Arena games) are available for $65 online at UKathletics.com/tickets or by calling the UK Ticket Office at (859) 257-1818 or (800) 928-2287. Single-game reserved tickets are $9 for all ages, while adult general admission single-game tickets are $8.  For those aged 6-18 or 65-and-over, general admission costs are $5 per ticket.  Children age five-and-under are admitted free in the general admission seating area, and UK students, faculty and staff are admitted free with valid identification.

Fans who donate a canned food item on Sunday will receive a $2 general admission ticket as part of the Thanks for Giving promotion. Free 2015-16 women’s basketball posters and schedule cards will also be available and junior forward Evelyn Akhator will sign autographs following the game. 

The game will be live streamed on the SEC Network+ with Jeff Piecoro and Christi Thomas calling the action. SEC Network+ is available through WatchESPN. The game can also be heard live on the UK Sports Radio Network with Neil Price calling the action for the 11th consecutive season. Fans in Lexington can hear Price’s call on 630AM WLAP. 

Complete parking information is listed below and available online at www.ukathleticsgameday.com/hoops along with answers to many other game-day questions for fans. 

Kentucky is coming off a strong performance last time out vs. Morehead State on Wednesday when it defeated MSU 112-57. Epps headlined the effort with only the second triple-double in program history with 21 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists. The only other triple-double was on Feb. 14, 1986 when Leslie Nichols scored 18 points with 13 rebounds and 11 steals. 

In all, three UK players had double-doubles against the Eagles with sophomore forward Alexis Jennings posting a career-high 28 points and 13 rebounds, while junior forward Evelyn Akhator had 12 points and 16 rebounds. Senior guard Janee Thompson had 22 points and nine assists. Three UK players had 20 or more points in the game for the first time since 1989. 

As a team, the Wildcats secured 67 rebounds in the game, which tied the most rebounds in a single game in program history, while Kentucky’s 32 assists were one off the career record for most assists in a single game. 

Three games into the season, Kentucky is averaging 84.0 points per game, while limiting opponents to 53.3 points per game. UK is shooting 46.7% from the field and 34.8% from 3-point land, while limiting opponents to just 30.3% from the field. The Wildcats are forcing 23 turnovers a game behind 10 steals per game. 

Colorado enters Sunday’s game with a 2-0 record after starting the season with a 92-81 victory over Loyola Marymount before a 63-41 triumph over Northern Colorado on Thursday. Three players scored in double figures against UNC led by forward Jamee Swan, who had a double-double with 10 rebounds and 13 points. Guard Haley Smith had 15 points and seven rebounds, while Zoe Beard-Fails had 12 points and nine rebounds. Defensively, the Buffaloes were impressive against UNC, limiting them to just 22.6% shooting from the field. 

Swan leads the team in scoring this year, averaging 13.5 points per game, while Kennedy Leonard is averaging 13 points per game and Haley Smith 12.5 points per game. Swan and Beaerd-Fails are each averaging 7.0 rebounds per game. As a team, CU is averaging 77.5 points per game and limiting opponents to 61.0 points per game, while shooting 47.4% from the field, including 40% from 3-point land. The Buffs are outrebounding their opponents by 10 and are averaging 16.5 assists per game.

Sunday marks the first-ever meeting between Kentucky and Colorado, including the first time that Mitchell has faced the Buffaloes in his head coaching career. Kentucky is 4-6 all-time against teams that make up the current alignment of the Pac-12 Conference, including a 1-0 mark this season after taking down No. 15/15 Arizona State in Tempe, Ariz., last Sunday.  

For more information on the Kentucky women’s basketball team, follow @UKHoopCats on Twitter and Instagram, or like Kentucky Women’s Basketball on Facebook. 

Spectator parking is located in the following areas:
  • All E-lots surrounding Memorial Coliseum are off control beginning 3 hours prior to tip.  This includes the College of Education E-lots, located off Scott Street.
  • The South Limestone Garage (PS#5, adjacent to Kennedy's Bookstore) and the Rose Street Garage (PS#2) are available 2 hours prior to tip-off. 
  • Lexington Authority Transit Center Parking Garage is available after 5 p.m. ET on weekdays and all day on weekends.
  • When parking in the Transit Center, pull a yellow token from the dispenser and keep in your vehicle.  See the event staff attendant at the entrance near Lexington Avenue/High Street to receive a free parking voucher before the game.  When exiting the garage after the game, place your yellow token in the machine, then scan the barcode on your free parking voucher to exit. 
  • Disabled parking is available in the E-Lot (Employee Lot) north of the Joe Craft Center, adjacent to the metered spaces running along the front of the Craft Center with a valid, state issued disabled hang tag.  These spaces are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis until full.

Please note: parking is prohibited in any R-lots (Residential). Vehicles parked in Residential lots without a proper permit, along yellow curbs, grass spaces, or other non-specified and unapproved areas may be subject to ticket and/or tow.


Shuttle Information:
  • Free shuttle services are available beginning 2 hours prior to tip off from the South Limestone Garage located off Limestone and Upper Street and the Transit Center Parking Garage located off High Street and Vine Street.
  • The Parking Structure #5 shuttle (blue route) picks up/drops off on Administration Drive, at the end of the pedestrian sky bridge accessed from the 3rd floor of the parking garage.  The pickup/drop off point near Memorial Coliseum is at the Euclid entrance.  
  • Transit Center Parking Garage (green route) picks up/drops off near the corner of High Street and Martin Luther King.  The pickup/drop off point near Memorial Coliseum is near the Ticket Office at the Lexington Avenue entrance. 
  • Shuttles will start back up at halftime and continue until 1 hour post-game to return guests to their parking areas.
Game day Information:
  • Doors to Memorial Coliseum will open one (1) hour prior to tip-off.
  • UK Athletics encourages women's basketball fans to arrive early to ease traffic and parking congestion around the Coliseum.
  • Surface lots (i.e. Joe Craft Center North, Rose Street lot and the Alumni Center lot) reach capacity approximately 1.5 hours prior to tip-off, at which point vehicles should proceed directly to the South Limestone Garage (PS#5), Rose Street Garage (PS#2), the E-lots near the College of Education or the Lexington Authority Transit Center Parking Garage near High Street and Lexington Avenue.
For more information on parking around Memorial Coliseum and other game-day questions visit ukathleticsgameday.com/hoops

Head Coach Matthew Mitchell 


Opening statement …
“We were happy to get back in Memorial last night and get a good win and now we have to turn our sights to Colorado, who has played one game and will play again (Thursday). They were explosive in their first game, scoring 92 points. They had a lot of players involved and they have some new people in the mix this year that they are getting familiar. But they run a triangle offense and play really, really hard and are good at executing what they run. The one thing that I know that will occur on Sunday is that they will play very, very hard. We need to get to that spot as well. We need to play harder on the defensive end and make some good things happen with our intensity and we are just not there yet, but we will keep practicing and keep working. Then our offensive execution has a lot of room for improvement right now. We have a lot of things going on that we need to improve and we just have to really fight for improvement over the next month or so. There will be a lot of challenges coming our way and Colorado will pose a big challenge for us on Sunday. So we will just stay at it and keep working.” 

On Kyvin Goodin-Rogers and Evelyn Akhator’s injury status …
“Evelyn is going to go today (Thursday). Kyvin is still not cleared. I don’t know what her prospects are for Sunday. She will have to improve over the next day or so. There is a process that you have to go through. First off you have to be symptom free, so the headache has to be gone. Then you can do light cardio then a non-contact practice and then a contact practice. So today being Thursday it would be a long shot if we could get her going for Sunday. It has been tough on Kyvin this week. Evelyn is going to go today.” 

On Janee Thompson, Makayla Epps and Taylor Murray on the floor at the same time and how they decide who is going to run the point … 
“It is good for us and I think it can be really good if we start making some better decisions. We are forcing a little bit at that position. Two different things are happening, in the Arizona State game we got so stagnant that Janee thought she had to take it on her shoulders and make something happen. So she and I have talked about that and she is forcing too much just out of a pure desire to win. It is not coming from a bad place but just trying to play hard. And Taylor is forcing just through inexperience. We just need to even out those two right there and get more settled. Makayla did a good job last night of distributing the ball. What we have been doing is if Taylor is on the floor we have not saddled her with running two positions, so if Taylor is on the floor usually she is on the point in the half-court sets because Janee and Makayla have been in the system so long they know what the wings are doing. That is how we have done it when the three of them are playing together. But I think as Taylor gets more experience we will be able to interchange. All three of them have certain gifts that they bring to the point guard position. It is a real luxury to have. They are all three really good players and will have really good seasons.” 

On the three of them liking to play other positions because they see things differently …
“Yeah, I thought that we got into a rhythm there in the fourth period where Janee really found that open spot in their defense and Makayla was collapsing the defense and kicking it out and Janee made three in a row on the 3-point shot. I think Janee really felt like she was in a rhythm last night on the wing. Out of those three, Janee is really the best 3-point shooter and her shot looks great and she is making shots. So I did feel like they found a bit of a rhythm last night.” 

On Alexis Jennings …
“She has improved her attitude and that is really powerful and the first thing that I wanted her to do this summer and she really worked hard at that. I am proud of her for taking on that challenge and she continues to strength herself in that area and that is going to be the key. Offensively, she is very gifted and does a good job. We really have to work on her understanding for how hard she has to work on defense. She has a lot of room for improvements as a basketball player and I think that is going to happen because of the work she is doing on herself as a person. She did a really good job last night of putting the ball in the basket and getting some deep post touches and our guards did a good job getting the ball to her. She can be very good. But this team, we have some talent on the team and are a talented team but we really have to become just a really hard-nosed uncommon work ethic type team because we really don’t have the kind of talent where we just show up and beat people because we walked out on the court. Alexis is sort of in that mode, she has great talent, but she needs to couple that with incredible work ethic and understand what she needs to do to get better. If she can do that then she and the rest of our team will become a really good team.”