UK Women Face No. 14 Florida On Valentine's Day

Feb. 13, 2002

Lexington, Ky. - After a near upset of visiting No. 9 South Carolina in Lexington last Sunday, the University of Kentucky women's basketball team now faces the tall task of battling No. 14 Florida on Valentine's Day in Gainesville. Tip-off is slated for 8 p.m. ET and will be televised live on Florida's Sunshine Network. WLGX-AM Sports Radio 1300 in Lexington also will broadcast the game live.

The Cats (8-15, 1-10 Southeastern Conference) shot a season-high 54.7 percent against the Lady Gamecocks, falling just shy of the upset, 74-73. Florida defeated Ole Miss on Sunday by the same score, 74-73.

"Last week, this team saw what it is capable of doing - beating a top-ranked opponent," UK Coach Bernadette Mattox said. "We came out and executed our offense, we played intense defense and we took care of the basketball. I expect the same intensity when we travel to Florida.They have lost two of their last three games but are tough to play at home."

The Lady Gators (16-7, 6-4 SEC) are led by sophomore center Vanessa Hayden. She averages 17.5 ppg, ranking her fifth in the SEC in scoring. She also averages double-figure rebounds with a team-high 11.8 rpg and leads the league in double-doubles with 12.

Valentine's Day marks the 31st meeting between Kentucky and Florida. The Sunshine State has been kind to the Cats after having won the previous two meetings at Florida. UK won 80-70 in 1999 and 72-58 in 2000. The Cats fell at home last season to the Lady Gators, 85-48. UF leads the all-time series 16-14, but the series is even, 6-6, when playing in Gainesville.

All-SEC candidate SeSe Helm continues to lead the Cats in scoring and rebounding this season, averaging 16.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. Also pouring in points for Kentucky this season is "diaper-dandy" Sara Potts. The 6-0 freshman returned to the starting lineup last week and has since become UK's third-leading scorer with 9.3 ppg. She scored a career-high 21 points on Sunday against South Carolina.

"I knew when Sara became healthy again that we would really start to see her come into her game," Mattox said. "She is a definite threat from the outside and we just look for her to become more consistent."

The Cats are 4-5 all-time on Valentine's Day, 1-0 against the Lady Gators. UK defeated UF, 83-76, on Feb. 14, 1987.