UK Hoops Plays Host to Ole Miss in SEC Home Opener
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Just a day removed from winning their conference lid lifter at Alabama on Friday, the 11th-ranked Kentucky women’s basketball team returns action to face Ole Miss in its Southeastern Conference home opener Sunday, Jan. 4 at 2 p.m. ET in Memorial Coliseum. The game will be televised live on the SEC Network with Cara Capuano and former Auburn head coach Nell Fortner calling the action. The game also can be heard live on the UK Radio Network with Neil Price. Sophomore Linnae Harper (Chicago) will be signing autographs after the game.
|Kentucky vs. Ole Miss
Sunday, Jan. 4 - 2:00 p.m. ET
Game Notes: UK | UM
|Radio: UK Sports Network
Live Video via SEC Network+
Single-game reserved tickets are available at a cost of $9 for all ages. General admission tickets for adults are $8 while single-game general admission tickets for seniors and children (ages 6-18, 65 and over) are only $5.
Children ages 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 interested in UK Hoops tickets can visit the Joe Craft Center ticket office, go to UKathletics.com, or call the UK ticket office at 1-800-928-CATS. Tickets are also available at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000.
UK (12-2, 1-0) opened the 36th season of SEC play with a hard-fought come-from-behind victory over Alabama. Trailing by 10 (42-32) with 16:54 to go in the game, the Wildcats clamped down defensively and outscored the Tide 36-14 to take a 56-54 lead with 9:00 to play. With the help of seven straight points from junior point guard Janee Thompson (Chicago), UK used an 18-0 spurt and led by as many as 19 points in the final four minutes. The 78-66 win marked UK’s fourth straight win in an SEC opener and third straight win over Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
Four players scored in double figures with freshman forward/center Alexis Jennings (Madison, Ala.) leading the way for the second straight game as she poured in 21 points, including 14 in the first half. After scoring a career-high 27 points vs. Tennessee State last Sunday, Jennings becomes the first UK freshman to post back-to-back 20-point games since A’dia Mathies in 2010. Following Jennings in the scoring column was sophomore Makayla Epps (Lebanon, Ky.) with 14 points and Jennifer O’Neill (Bronx, N.Y.) with 12. Thompson also scored 12 points, while dishing out a career-high 10 assists. She is the first player to chart a points/assists double-double since Carly Ormerod had 13 points and 11 assists vs. Ball State on March 19, 2007.
The Wildcats are still without senior leader Bria Goss (Indianapolis) who will miss at least two more weeks with a broken left thumb. Goss, who played in 117 straight games before missing the last three, is one of the team’s best defenders and she averages 7.4 points and 3.1 rebounds per game.
Overall, Kentucky has benefited from a balanced scoring attack this season as seven players are averaging 7.4 points per game or better. O’Neill leads the way with 14.9 ppg (fifth in the SEC). Epps and fellow sophomore Linnae Harper (Chicago) follow with 13.4 and 10.4 ppg, respectively, while Thompson adds 10.1 ppg. Senior Azia Bishop (Toledo, Ohio) and Jennings follow with 7.9 ppg each.
Bishop is the team’s leader on the boards with 6.5 but Harper, at just 5-foot-10, follows close behind with 6.4 rpg. Bishop has also swatted a team-high 25 blocks and currently ranks tied for second in the SEC in blocks per game (1.8).
Ole Miss is 11-3 overall, 1-0 in SEC play after defeating Arkansas on Friday night, 71-57.
Senior forward Tia Faleru leads Ole Miss with 16.0 points (second in the SEC) and 10.6rebounds per game (leads the SEC). Faleru is the lone player in double figures but Erika Sisk nears the double-figure mark with 9.7 ppg. Danielle McCray and Toree Thompson follow with 7.1 and 6.8 ppg, respectively. The rest of the scoresheet is balanced with 11 players averaging at least 3.9 ppg.
The Rebels, coached by former UK assistant coach Matt Insell, are looking for their first win over a ranked opponent since the 2010-11 season. They rank sixth nationally in steals with 13.4 steals per game, which also leads the SEC and are 18th nationally in offensive rebounds per game (17.6) and 12th in turnover margin (+7.1).
Sunday will mark the 36th meeting between the teams. The Wildcats have won the last five meetings against Ole Miss but trail 20-15 in the all-time series. The series is tied at eight games apiece in Lexington. Head coach Matthew Mitchell is 6-1 all-time vs. Ole Miss.
The Cats own a 392-144 (73.1) mark in Memorial Coliseum, including a 102-16 (86.4) record under Mitchell. UK is 7-0 at home this season, 6-0 in Memorial and have won 10 consecutive games at home, dating back to last season. The 10-game winning streak currently ties for the ninth longest in program history.
For more information on parking around Memorial Coliseum and other game-day questions visit www.ukathletics.com/wbbgameday.