Cats Look for First Win Over Vanderbilt in 10 Years

Feb. 7, 2009

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LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky women's basketball returns to Memorial Coliseum Sunday, Feb. 8 to play host to No. 20/22 Vanderbilt for National Girls and Women in Sports Day and Alumni Day. The game will be broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio and TV) and FSN South, beginning at 1 p.m. EST.

The Wildcats welcome four former outstanding student-athletes from across the country in Ukari Figgs (Purdue women's basketball), Jenny Dalton Hill (Arizona softball), Passion Richardson (UK track & field), and Ashley Robinson (Tennessee women's basketball) who will join current student-athletes from each of UK's female varsity sports teams for a pregame autograph session at noon on the concourse in Memorial. A special limited edition poster will be available for the first 1,000 fans.

Single-game general admission tickets are available for $5 adults/$2 senior citizens and children 6-18. Ages five and under are admitted free. UK students, faculty and staff also are admitted free with valid identification based on availability. For ticket information, log on to or call the UK ticket office at 859-257-1818 or 1-800-928-CATS (2287).

“It is an important day with it being National Girls and Women  in Sports Day and Alumni Day, which are two important events surrounding the game,” UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell said. “We are excited about both events and are particularly happy to have some really special guests coming in that are good role models for young girls here in the community. Our alumni are very important too, and there are a lot of players coming back and it will be good to see them.

“The game also is of tremendous important to us. We need to build on our win from last night and a win over a really good Vanderbilt team would mean a lot to us. We are going to have to work hard in the next few days and see what we can do to beat Vanderbilt.”

Surrounding the festivities, the Wildcats are looking to continue their winning ways after a resounding 61-47 win over South Carolina on Thursday. The win marked Mitchell's 30th win at Kentucky. He earned it in only 56 games, becoming the second-fastest coach to reach 30 wins behind Terry Hall who earned it in only 38 games during her first two seasons in 1980 and 1981.

It will be a battle between two of the SEC's best offensive and defensive teams. Once again Vandy is one of the top offensive teams in the SEC. In league games only, Vanderbilt ranks third in scoring offense, averaging 72.0 points per game while UK is third in scoring defense, limiting the opponent to 61.2 ppg. The ‘Dores are third in FG percentage with a .442 percent clip while the Cats rank second in FG percentage defense, allowing their opponents just .359 percent shooting.

Overall, sophomore Victoria Dunlap (Nashville, Tenn.) and senior center Eleia Roddy (Columbus, Ohio) are UK's main weapons in both scoring and rebounding. Dunlap averages a team-high 12.3 points and a SEC-high 8.9 rebounds per game while Roddy, who charted her league-leading 10 th season double-double Thursday, follows close behind with 11.9 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. Dunlap and Roddy are the SEC's top two leading rebounders.

The No. 20/22 Commodores are coming off a tough road loss to Mississippi State (66-61) on Thursday. Prior to that loss, Vanderbilt had won three in a row vs. South Carolina, Arkansas and Alabama. VU returns all five starters from last year's team that advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16. Leading Vanderbilt in scoring is senior forward Christina Wirth with a team-high 14.4 points per game. She also leads the team and ranks second in the league in three-point field goal percentage, shooting .381 percent. Sophomore forward Hannah Tuomi tops the Commodores in rebounding with 6.0 rpg to compliment 11.8 ppg.

“Vanderbilt plays extremely hard and it looks like it is all five of them playing hard the entire possession,” Mitchell said. “I really admire that in a basketball team and I am so impressed in just the effort that they give. They seem to communicate with each other very well and carry out their assignments very well.”

This is the 38th meeting in the all-time series with Vanderbilt. UK trails 25-12 in the series, including 9-7 when the game is played at home. UK looks to snap a 12-game losing streak to the Commodores. The Wildcats' last win over Vanderbilt was seven years ago (Jan. 7, 1999), a thrilling 70-69 win in Lexington.

Fans are encouraged to park in Parking Structure 5 located next to Kennedy's Bookstore on Limestone Avenue. Parking within Parking Structure 5 will be available free of charge. A shuttle bus service also will be provided and begins one hour prior to game time until one hour after the game. Additional game day parking is available in the E lots surrounding Memorial Coliseum including the Martin Luther King Parking Lot and the Student Center Parking Lot.