Cats Meet Lady Vols In Memorial on "Pink Zone" Night

Feb. 18, 2009

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LEXINGTON, Ky. – After a week off from game action, the Kentucky women's basketball team returns to the hardwood Thursday, Feb. 19 to face No. 13/19 Tennessee at 7 p.m. EST in Memorial Coliseum. The game will be broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Radio Network and FSN South.

The game will have special significance as both teams proudly join the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and over 1,250 schools nationally in the organization's The WBCA Pink Zone™ initiative. The WBCA Pink Zone™ initiative is a global, unified effort for the WBCA nation of coaches to assist in raising breast cancer awareness on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond.

Fans wearing pink can purchase general admission tickets for only $1, while supplies last. Advance tickets can be purchased through the ticket office. Also as a special promotion, game sponsor World Class Subaru and UK Athletics' benchmark sponsor UK Health Care have teamed up to provide pink t-shirts for the first 1,000 fans in attendance. The t-shirts will be distributed at each entrance to the coliseum, beginning at 6 p.m. EST.

All reserved seats are $5, and general admission seats are $5 for adults and $2 for youth and seniors. Ages five and under admitted free. UK students, faculty and staff also are admitted free with valid identification based on availability. For ticket information, log on to ukathletics.com or call the UK ticket office at 859-257-1818 or 1-800-928-CATS (2287).

“It is our turn to participate in a week long initiative set up by the WBCA,” UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell said. “Their Pink Zone has been a tremendous success and I think that over 1,200 schools are participating in it this year. We have already seen a lot of activity this week about it and if we could encourage our fans to come out and participate and help us raise funds for breast cancer and breast cancer research that would be tremendous. They can also come out and help us beat a very good Tennessee team and a big crowd tomorrow would make a big difference for us.”

After falling to No. 5/4 Auburn last week, the Wildcats (13-12, 3-7 Southeastern Conference) are looking to get back on the winning track and capture their first win over Tennessee in Memorial Coliseum since 1986.

Kentucky is led on both ends of the floor by sophomore All-SEC candidate Victoria Dunlap (Nashville, Tenn.). The 6-1 forward averages a team-high 12.4 points and SEC-high 8.7 rebounds per game. She also is the team's leader in steals (40), blocks (31) and minutes per game (31.6). Senior center and All-SEC candidate Eleia Roddy (Columbus, Ohio) is second on the squad in scoring and rebounding, averaging 12.4 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, respectively. Roddy leads the SEC and is tied for 11th nationally in double-doubles with 11.

No. 13 Tennessee (18-7 overall, 7-3 in the SEC) is coming off a 62-53 loss to No. 4/10 Duke on Monday in Knoxville. Prior to that non-conference matchup, the Lady Vols defeated Alabama at home, 80-61, paced by Alex Fuller's 18 points.

The Lady Vols are young. Seven of Coach Pat Summitt's 12-players are freshmen, including two of Tennessee's top three scorers. Freshmen Shekinna Stricklen and Glory Johnson top the scoring and rebounding categories for the Lady Vols this season. Stricklen averages a team-best 12.9 ppg, while Johnson grabs a squad-high 7.5 rpg. Summitt reached her 1,000th career victory with a 73-43 victory over Georgia on Feb. 5. She became the first Division I coach - man or woman - to reach the milestone.

“Tennessee is obliviously, one of the great programs in the country,” Mitchell said. “They are a team that possesses a lot of great challenges for us and we will need to be at the top of our game tomorrow to win. We are going to work hard in practice today to try and get our players to play at the maximum level of their ability in order to beat a good Tennessee team tomorrow.”

Thursday will mark the 51st meeting between the border rivals, the 25th in Lexington. UK has met UT more times than any other UK rival. UK trails in the all-time series against Tennessee 44-6, including a 20-4 deficit when playing in Lexington. UK's last win in over the Lady Vols in Lexington was on Jan. 26, 2006 in Rupp Arena. However, UK's last win over Tennessee in Memorial Coliseum was Jan. 24, 1986.

Parking thumbnail
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Free parking will be available beginning at 4 p.m. in the following lots:

  • Hardymon Employee Lot – located at Rose St. and College View.
  • MLK Employee Lot – located on Lexington Ave., west of Memorial Coliseum
  • Good Samaritan Employee Lot – located off Martin Luther King Blvd, west of Memorial Coliseum
  • Student Center Employee Lot – located on south side of Avenue of Champions, southwest of Memorial Coliseum
  • Alumni Center & Career Center Employee Lot – located in the rear (east) of the Alumni House at the corner of Rose/Avenue of Champions.
  • Parking Structure #5 (Open at 5:30 p.m.) – located on South Limestone. Shuttle will operate beginning at 6 p.m. and run one hour post-game. Shuttle will drop-off pre-game and pick up post-game at the Avenue of Champions bus turnaround.
  • Parking Structure #2 (Open at 5:30 p.m.) – vehicle entrance located on Hilltop Ave., adjacent to the William T. Young library.

Please note that event parking is prohibited in all residential lots and vehicles will be subject to ticket/tow. To further parking information, visit the women's basketball page on UKathletics.com.

Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

Opening statement …
“It is our turn to participate in a week long initiative set up by the WBCA. Their Pink Zone has been a tremendous success and I think that over 1,200 schools are participating in it this year. We have already seen a lot of activity this week about it and if we could encourage our fans to come out and participate and help us raise funds for breast cancer and breast cancer research that would be tremendous. They can also come out and help us beat a very good Tennessee team and a big crowd tomorrow would make a big difference for us.

“Tennessee is obliviously, one of the great programs in the country. They are a team that possesses a lot of great challenges for us and we will need to be at the top of our game tomorrow to win. That is what we are going to work hard on practice today is to try to get our players to play at the maximum level of their ability in order to beat a good Tennessee team tomorrow.”

On what you do as a coach when you have been struggling recently like Kentucky has …
“It is really difficult. You enter the season with very high expectations for your team and when you don't perform up to that level it is disappointing. My job as the leader of the program and the coach is to keep the facts squarely in front of them and that is what we try to deal in is the facts. There are certain reasons why we are losing games and we are identifying those and we go to work on them in practice. We need to show our players that we have a lot to play for and a win over Tennessee tomorrow night would be tremendous for us. We had a chance down in Knoxville to beat them and there were certain things that we did in that game that kept us from winning. So we just need to correct those things. We have to really believe in what we are doing and stay the course and stay focused on what are principles are and stay honest with our players. We have to work really hard in practice and try to get a higher level of discipline. That is one thing that I am disappointed in our team right now is that I don't think that we are as disciplined as we should be at this point in the season.”

On what he means by staying disciplined …
“Carrying out assignments, staying with the game plan, not having mental breakdowns and it seems like there is a three- to four-minute period in every game where we just mentally break down and don't do the things that we need to do. In the Auburn game we obviously got down to a big margin and it happened in the Florida game as well. Against two ranked teams on the road we had mental lapses that put us in a spot where it was very difficult to come back. In both games we cut the lead to five or six points but those mental errors are what I would like to correct and I think that we can correct them with a little more discipline in our team.”

On if they are a better team now than they earlier in the season when they almost beat Tennessee …
“Well, during that period we certainly had more people contributing offensively. As of late, say in the last four or five games, we haven't really had that. Were we a little more confident offensively going into the Tennessee game? It is hard for me to say, maybe so. Brittany Edelen had three of four games where she had double figures and she hasn't approached that recently. Carly Morrow also had a stretch through there and she hasn't scored for us recently. I think that it comes down to tomorrow night.”

On coaching against one of his coaching mentors in Pat Summit …
“As far as her being a coaching mentor, one thing that I always try to do is always appreciate the people that helped me get here and that gave me a chance to be able to coach at Tennessee and there are a lot of people. She certainly is one of the big, big factors in my career. Professionally, what I learned from her and the support she has given me throughout my career I will always be very appreciative for what she has done for me.

“As far as it goes into the game, this will be the fourth time that we have coached against each other. So really my focus has to be on my players here at Kentucky and the players that she has at Tennessee. From that standpoint, it is another really tough game and a really tough opponent that we will need to play well against to win. The coaching matchups, for me, are never really significant because it takes away from us coaching our players.”