Cats Look to Get Back On Winning Track at Florida
Jan. 28, 2009
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- After dropping its last two games at home, the Kentucky women's basketball team looks to getting back on the winning track with a road game against No. 12/16 Florida Thursday, Jan. 29. The game will be broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Radio Network with Neil Price and on SEC-TV Regional (FSN South, FSN Southwest and Sun Sports). Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. EST in the Stephen C. O'Connell Center.
UK (12-8, 2-3 SEC) has won three of the last four meetings against the Gators, including a 60-58 win last season in Memorial Coliseum. The Gators are 11-0 at home this season, including a 3-0 mark in conference play. UK's last win in the Stephen C. O'Connell Center was an 80-65 decision in 2006.
"Florida is a team that's having an outstanding season," UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell said. "They have a very impressive record. "They're one of the best teams I've seen play this year. They play really well together. It seems like everyone knows their role and they do a great job great of executing their offensive and defensive systems. They're a very good team and we'll have our hands full tomorrow night."
The Gators (18-2, 4-1 SEC) will have their hands full with the interior play of senior Eleia Roddy (Columbus, Ohio) and sophomore Victoria Dunlap (Nashville, Tenn.). The duo have combined for 16 double-doubles this season and are two of the top rebounders in the SEC. Dunlap averages a team-high 12.3 points per game while Roddy follows close behind with 12.2 ppg. Roddy is tops in rebounding (all games) with 8.9 rpg while Dunlap trails with 8.8 rpg. In conference games only, Dunlap leads the SEC in rebounding (10.0) while Roddy is eighth (7.8).
"We need Victoria to give us some more on the offensive end," Mitchell said. "She's been a tough rebounder but we need her production to increase on the offensive end for us to really be a factor in the SEC. That's one thing that I was disappointed in last Sunday was her lack of production on the offensive end. She needs to do a little bit better because both of those players, Eleia and Victoria, can be top-level players in our league."
After falling to Auburn on Jan. 11, Florida has won three straight games. In their three SEC wins, the Gators are winning by an average margin of victory of 17.0 points per game. The Gators' only other loss this year came in the season opener to Florida Gulf Coast (88-86).
Senior guard Sha Brooks leads Florida and ranks second in the SEC with 14.7 points per game. Senior forward Marshae Dotson follows with 12.8 ppg. The team's leading rebounder is junior forward Sharielle Smith with 7.0 rpg.
"They're just veteran players, seniors that are leading their team," Mitchell said. "More times than not you see teams in our league, that have strong senior players, generally have very good teams. Brooks is doing a great job for them on the perimeter and Dotson is doing a great job inside. When you have that kind of combination working together - they're both playing at a high level - it makes them a dangerous team."
Amanda Butler is in her second season as the head coach at Florida. The former four-year starter and two-year assistant coach at UF was named the Gator's ninth head women's basketball coach on April 13, 2007.
Florida owns a 21-19 lead in the all-time series, including a slight 9-7 advantage when the game is played in Gainesville. UK is 2-7 against Florida when the Gators have been ranked.