UK Hoops Prepares for SEC Tournament
Feb. 28, 2011
LEXINGTON, Ky. – With a school-record tying 11 league wins, the Kentucky women's basketball team earned a No. 2 seed and a first-round bye in the Southeastern Conference Tournament for the second consecutive season and is preparing to square off with the winner of LSU (No. 7 seed) and Alabama (No. 10 seed) in the quarterfinals. The Cats will play Friday, March 4 at 3:30 p.m. EST at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. The game will be carried live on FSN and the Big Blue Sports Network (radio) with Neil Price.
LSU (18-12, 8-8 SEC) earned the seventh seed in the SEC standings after falling to Tennessee on Sunday, 80-60. Alabama, which defeated Arkansas on Sunday in one of its finest offensive performances of the season, 92-79, is the 10th seed after finishing 16-13 overall record, 5-11 in the SEC.
During the regular season, UK defeated both of its possible opponents. The Wildcats handed the Tide an 82-69 loss on Jan. 13 in their final game in Coleman Coliseum and defeated LSU 49-47 on Feb. 13 in Lexington on a thrilling last-second shot by Brittany Henderson (Pasadena, Calif).
The Wildcats, who were picked to finished second in the SEC standings by the league coaches and media, had another remarkable season under the direction of head coach and 2010 SEC Coach of the Year Matthew Mitchell. Mitchell led the Cats to their second straight 20-win season with a 22-7 overall record, including an 11-5 mark in SEC play. The 11 league wins ties the school record for SEC wins in a season (11 set a year ago) and UK’s five league road wins ties the school record set in 2005-06. UK's second-place finish also ties last year’s squad for the highest regular-season finish since the SEC moved to its current 12-team format in 1992 and since the 1982-83 squad finished second in the East when the SEC had a 10-team, divisional format.
Pacing the Wildcats statistically is UK’s Miss Everything, senior forward Victoria Dunlap. The Nashville, Tenn., native is the only player in the SEC to rank in the top four in every major statistical category. The SEC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year candidate leads the league in scoring (16.7 ppg) and steals (3.3 spg), ranks second in field goal percentage (.462) and fourth in rebounding (8.8 rpg) and blocks (1.5 bpg). She has scored in double figures in 26 games this season, including 17 in a row.
Following Dunlap in almost every statistical category is All-SEC candidate and super sophomore, A’dia Mathies. The 5-foot-9 guard, who hails from Louisville, Ky., ranks second on the team in scoring (13.3 ppg), rebounding (5.0 rpg) and steals (65) and leads the team in assists (82) after moving from her natural two-guard spot to the starting point guard position in the second half of the Georgia game on Jan. 9.
UK is 22-31 all-time in the SEC Tournament and holds an 8-12 mark in quarterfinal games. The Cats have earned a first-round bye in four of the last six tournaments, including two in a row. Last season, UK advanced to SEC Tournament finals for the first time since winning the tournament in 1982.
Public tickets for this year’s event can be purchased through the SEC website or by calling 1-800-732-
4849. Prices are: reserved tournament book, $90; general admission Dr Pepper Six-Pack tournament book, $60; reserved single-session (six sessions total), $17; and general admission single-session, $12 (can only be purchased day of event at arena box office). For more information visit www.secsports.com.