No. 18 Kentucky Travels to No. 2 South Carolina Thursday
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Looking to get back in the win column following two close losses in league action, the No. 18 University of Kentucky women’s basketball team travels to Columbia, S.C. for a rematch with No. 2 South Carolina on Thursday at 7 p.m. ET inside Colonial Life Arena.
The game will be televised nationally on SEC Network with Paul Sunderland, Carolyn Peck and Steffi Sorensen calling the action. The game can also be seen through WatchESPN on computers, smartphones or tablets. For the 11th consecutive season, Neil Price will have the call on the UK Sports Network. Fans in Lexington can hear Price’s call on 630AM WLAP. Live stats and free audio will be available online at ukathletics.com.
Kentucky (15-5, 4-5 Southeastern Conference) is in the middle of a difficult stretch of its schedule, playing four of five games on the road, including three of those games against teams currently ranked in both national polls. The stretch started Sunday at Florida, who is currently ranked No. 22 in both national polls. The Wildcats held a lead in the second quarter and had the ball at the end in a one-possession game before Florida pulled away for the 85-79 victory.
#18 Kentucky at #2 South Carolina
The stretch continues Thursday at highly ranked South Carolina, before UK comes home to face LSU on Sunday in Memorial Coliseum. After a midweek bye next week, Kentucky will travel to face Vanderbilt next Sunday before a midweek matchup with No. 11/12 Mississippi State in Starkville to complete the stretch.
Kentucky starts the week ranked No. 18 in both nationally polls, continuing the streak of 127 consecutive weeks ranked in the polls. The Wildcats are averaging 74.3 points per game this season behind a .460 clip from the field. Defensively, Kentucky is limiting opponents to .360 from the field and just a .285 slip from 3.
Junior Makayla Epps leads Kentucky in scoring this season at 17.6 points per game. The guard has scored 20+ points in four straight games to become the first UK player to accomplish that task since Sara Potts in 2004. Epps needs just four points to become the 31st member of UK’s 1,000 point club.
Senior guard Janee Thompson is averaging 12.7 points per game this season and leads the team with 104 assists. Junior post player Evelyn Akhator is the third UK player averaging double figures this season with 12.1 points per game and 9.5 rebounds per game.
South Carolina enters Thursday’s game as one of just two undefeated teams in college basketball, sitting at 21-0. The Gamecocks are ranked No. 2 nationally by both national polls. USC is 10-0 at home and 9-0 in conference play.
A’ja Wilson leads the team with 16.6 points per game, while Tiffany Mitchell is averaging 15.2 points per game and Alaina Coates is averaging 12.2 points per game. USC has 10 players that are averaging 10+ minutes a game this season.
The Gamecocks get to the foul line in bunches, sitting fifth nationally in free throw attempts and 19th nationally in free throws made. USC is hitting 46.4% from the field this season, limiting opponents to 34.6% - both statistics that rank top 20 nationally. The Gamecocks are hitting 31.9% from 3, limiting opponents to 27.9% from behind the arc.
Thursday’s meeting between Kentucky and South Carolina in women’s basketball will be the 57th meeting between the two teams. UK holds a 33-23 advantage with South Carolina leading the series in games played in Columbia, 16-9.
Kentucky’s last win at South Carolina was Jan. 15, 2012, when it secured a 66-58 victory over the Gamecocks. Eight of the last 11 meetings between the two teams have been decided by 10 points or fewer.
South Carolina defeated Kentucky 73-62 earlier this season in Memorial Coliseum. A’ja Wilson led the way with 26 points, while Janee Thompson and Makayla Epps each had 16 for the Wildcats. Matthew Mitchell is 10-8 all-time against South Carolina.
For more information on the Kentucky women’s basketball team, visit UKathletics.com or follow @UKHoopCats on Twitter and Instagram, or Kentucky Women’s Basketball on Facebook.