Kentucky Plays Host to Georgia in SEC Home Opener
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The 10th-ranked Kentucky women's basketball team looks to get back on the winning track and extend its 25-game home winning streak when it plays host to the Georgia Lady Bulldogs in its Southeastern Conference home opener Sunday, Jan. 9 at 2 p.m. EST in Memorial Coliseum. The game will be televised live on ESPNU with Same Gore and LaChina Robinson calling the action and broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Radio Network with Neil Price.
Season and single-game tickets are on sale now. Season tickets in the upper level chair backs, lower level bleachers and general admission season ticket areas are only $45. Lower level chair backs are $60 for the season. Single-game reserved seats are $7 (regardless of age) while general admission tickets are $7 for adults and $4 for youth/seniors. UK students, faculty and staff are admitted free with valid identification. To purchase tickets, visit the Joe Craft Center in person, call 1-800-928-2287 or go online at UKathletics.com.
The Wildcats (11-3, 0-1 SEC) are in the midst of one of its toughest stretches of the season with three games in six days, including two on the road against nationally-ranked opponents. The Cats, who fell at No. 3 Duke on Tuesday (54-38) and at No. 25 Arkansas on Thursday (78-67) in the SEC opener, look to get back on the winning track against Georgia.
"It's a big game and we've started conference play now," UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell said. "Georgia is a very good team, very talented and well coached. It will be good to get back into Memorial and see if we can compete and earn a victory. It will be a really good game, a tough game and if we play hard and play well we should have a chance."
All-American Victoria Dunlap (Nashville, Tenn.) continues to move up on several UK career lists. After a game-high 26 points and 13 rebounds at Arkansas, the 6-foot-2 senior forward jumped to No. 6 in all-time scoring (1,508), No. 3 in career double-doubles (25) and free throws made (368) and needs only three blocks to climb to No. 2 on the all-time blocks (153) list.
Overall this season, three players average in double-figure scoring for UK. Dunlap leads with 17.2 points per game followed by reigning SEC Freshman of the Year A'dia Mathies (Louisville, Ky.) and junior sharpshooter Keyla Snowden (Lexington, Ky.) with 14.0 and 12.2 ppg, respectively.
Kentucky owns a 25-game home winning streak and has won eight in a row against SEC opponents in Memorial. The home winning streak is the school's second-longest and ranks seventh nationally. The school record is 30 consecutive wins from Feb. 12, 1980 through Jan. 31, 1982.
Georgia enters Sunday's contest at 11-3 overall, 1-0 in league play after defeating South Carolina in its conference opener last Sunday, 61-51. The Lady Bulldogs are coming off a bye-week and did not play Thursday.
Sophomore Jasmine James leads the Lady Bulldogs in scoring with 12.8 ppg while senior Porsha Phillips averaged 11.7 ppg and sophomore Jasmine Hassell rounds out the double-digit scoring with 10.4 ppg. Phillips is the team's leading rebounder with 10.7 rebounds per game.
UGA leads the all-time series 32-12, including an 11-8 advantage in Lexington. However, UK won last year's meeting in Memorial Coliseum (64-48), snapping a four-game losing streak at home to the Lady Bulldogs.
Women's basketball parking is available in the following surface lots and parking structures:
- Student Center Lot - off Euclid Ave
- MLK Lot - the entire MLK lot from Euclid to the Wildcat Lodge. Please note, this will be the last game the North MLK lot will be available for WBB parking prior to students returning.
- Joe Craft Center North E-Lot - large lot located north of the Joe Craft Center and accessible via Lexington Avenue or Rose Street.
- Good Samaritan surface Lot - accessible off Martin Luther King Boulevard
- Parking Structure #5 - entrances off Limestone and S. Upper.
- Doors to the Coliseum will open one hour prior to tipoff.
- UK Athletics encourages women's basketball fans to arrive early to ease traffic and parking congestion around the Coliseum.
- Surface event lots (i.e. Student Center, Hardymon, MLK and Good Samaritan) typically reach capacity approximately 30-45 minutes prior to tipoff, at which point, vehicles should proceed to Parking Structure #5.
- The parking structure shuttle will begin one hour prior to tip and end one hour postgame. The shuttle picks up on Administration Drive, accessible via the sky bridge located on the third floor of Parking Structure #5.
- Handicapped parking (first come, first served until full) is located in the northeast corner of the MLK South Lot; must have valid state-issued hang tag
Pregame Press Conference: Head Coach Matthew Mitchell
Opening statement on Sunday's game vs. Georgia ...
"Well, it's a big game and we've started conference play now. Georgia is a very good team, very talented and well coached, always really tough. It will be good to get back into Memorial and see if we can compete and earn a victory."
On the past week being so difficult ...
"Yeah, it was a tough week. Clearly we wanted to get some wins and win both of them but we didn't. Last night was a real disappointing effort and the first half of Duke was disappointing so we played one half out of four and you have to do better against top competition."
On if the team was so down after the Duke loss that it affected them against Arkansas ...
"I think with where our team is right now that was just a difficult game for them last night. I think in their mind it was a more difficult game than it actually was because the mistakes we made were all mental and we were really fighting hard at the end and making plays and rebounding the ball. We were making plays we didn't make earlier in the game so it wasn't a physical condition. I do think just mentally we aren't strong enough to go in and take care of that game last night. I don't know if exactly Tuesday beat us on Thursday. I do know our mindset, along with a really good Arkansas team that is top-25 and started 12-0 and on their home court, was a part of it too. Don't mistake that Arkansas is a tough team, but mentally I was not happy with the way we performed last night so hopefully we can press forward and learn from that."
On how he will use those two games as a teaching point moving forward ...
"I think right now we just need to get on with Georgia and we can't spend a lot of time (on the losses). There were some defensive rotations that weren't executed last night and I think that was all because of a lack of mental focus. So whatever I can do as a coach to try to get them prepared for Georgia but ultimately the players will have to decide if they are going to get locked in for Georgia. It will be a really good game, a tough game and if we play hard and play well we should have a chance. I think what you learn from it is two tough back-to-back road games was a little too tough for this team and maybe we'll learn something going forward but right now it's coming up on us so quickly. I really have to get my mind on Georgia."
On how he approaches this game now having three games so close together ...
"We won't be going two-a-days and all of those kinds of things and it will be more of a mental exercise. We really tried to pay attention to their legs in between their two games and a lot of kids didn't play a whole lot of minutes. So you have to approach it today that were going to focus on Georgia and try to get on Georgia and not go back to last night and have more of a mental preparation today. We will have a more normal day before the game practice tomorrow and hopefully after Sunday we'll be able to settle into our routine and have a good conference routine there with games Thursday and Sunday."