UK Hoops Looks for First Win at Vanderbilt in 25 Years
Feb. 19, 2011
LEXINGTON, Ky. - After a tough road loss at Georgia on Thursday, the 19th-ranked Kentucky women's basketball team travels to the Music City Sunday, Feb. 20 looking to chart its first win over Vanderbilt in Memorial Gym since 1986. Game time is 2 p.m. EST as it will be televised on the SEC Network with Cara Capuano and Abby Waner calling the action. It also will be broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Network with Neil Price and will available nationally on the ESPN Full Court package and ESPN3.com. All fans are encouraged to wear pink Sunday for Vanderbilt's WBCA Pink Zone game.
Sunday's game will prove to be pivotal in seeding for the upcoming Southeastern Conference tournament in Nashville's Bridgestone Arena on March 3-6. With three regular-season games remaining, UK (19-7 overall, 8-5 SEC) currently ranks fourth, a game behind third-place Vanderbilt (18-8 overall, 9-4 SEC). The top four teams receive a first-round bye.
UK just could not find its shooting touch in Athens as it netted only 28.1 percent from the floor, including a season-low 8.7 percent (2-of-23) from behind the arc. Senior and SEC Player of the Year candidate Victoria Dunlap (Nashville, Tenn.) is coming off her 29th career and seventh double-double of the season with a team-high 14 points and 11 rebounds. The only other player in double digits was SEC All-Freshman team nominee Bernisha Pinkett (Washington, D.C.) with 12. UK is 4-6 overall, 3-5 in league play when just two players score in double digits compared to a 15-1 record and 5-0 mark in the SEC when three or more players score 10-plus points.
"The challenge I think for me as a coach is to not figure out why it (the Georgia loss) happened but focus on what happened and where we are breaking down to show the players what we need to do against Vanderbilt," UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell said. "I think right now we need to try and take the emotion out of it. I know for me as coach I need to try to do that and focus on what we can do to try and help our players execute better at Vanderbilt on Sunday."
Overall, Dunlap continues to prove why she was the overwhelming choice for preseason SEC Player of the Year as she ranks in the top five of eight statistical league categories, including leading the conference in scoring (17.1) and steals (3.2). Mathies follows in the scoring and rebounding column with 13.2 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.
Vanderbilt is coming off a 74-62 win over Mississippi State on Thursday. Sophomore forward Tiffany Clarke led all scorers and rebounders with 22 points and 14 rebounds while freshmen guards Jasmine Lister and Christina Foggie followed with 16 and 11 points, respectively.
VU is one the best offensive teams in the league this season as five players average in double figures and the Commodores rank second in the SEC scoring offense with 72.3 points per game. Lister leads with 12.6 points per game while seniors Jence Rhoads and Hannah Tuomi follow close behind with 12.5 and 12.3 ppg, respectively. Freshman center Stephanie Holzer and Foggie round out the double-digit scoring, averaging 11.8 and 10.7 ppg, respectively. Tuomi and Holzer are the team's leading rebounders with 6.5 and 6.3 rebounds per game.
Vanderbilt has won five of its last six games since losing 78-68 at Kentucky in Lexington on Jan. 23.
Sunday will mark the 42nd meeting in the all-time series with Vanderbilt. The Commodores lead the series 27-14 overall, including a 14-4 advantage in Nashville. Although the Cats have won two in a row over the Commodores at home, the road hasn't been as kind. UK looks to snap a 13-game losing streak to the Commodores in Memorial Gym as the last win on the road was 25 years ago on Feb. 5, 1986. UK won 79-70.