UK Hoops Meets Vanderbilt in SEC Tournament Semifinals
March 5, 2011
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - With a thrilling 60-58 win over LSU on Friday, the No. 16 Kentucky women's basketball team advances to the semifinals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament for the fourth time in the last six seasons. The Wildcats will meet Vanderbilt on Saturday, March 5 at 6:30 p.m. EST on ESPNU with Cara Capuano and Carolyn Peck calling the action. It also will be carried live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio) and UKathletics.com with Neil Price.
Against the Lady Tigers, sophomore A'dia Mathies (Louisville, Ky.) converted an old-fashioned three-point play with 38.8 seconds left to put the Wildcats ahead for good, and give No. 16 Kentucky a 60-58 win over LSU in the quarterfinals. Mathies, who also hit the game-winner vs. Arkansas on Feb. 24 and dished the eventual game-winning shot to teammate Brittany Henderson in the regular-season matchup vs. LSU in Lexington, has helped the Wildcats chart a 5-2 record in games decided by five points or less this season.
SEC Defensive Player of the Year and All-America candidate Victoria Dunlap (Nashville, Tenn.), who assisted Mathies' go-ahead layup, was the only player in double digits for the Wildcats. She recorded a game-high 21 points, including 13 in the second half while grabbing a team-high tying seven rebounds.
Overall this season, Dunlap has been the key catalyst for the Cats' second straight 20-win season. The 6-foot-1 forward ranks in the top half of eight different SEC statistical categories and is the only player in the league to rank in the top four in scoring (16.9), rebounding (8.7), blocks (1.5) and steals (3.1).
Mathies, a 5-9 guard, follows Dunlap in almost every statistical category, averaging a career-high 13.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.2 steals per game. She ranks sixth overall in scoring and fifth overall in steals in the SEC.
Vanderbilt, the No. 3 seed, finished the regular season 18-10 overall, 10-6 in SEC play. The Commodores defeated Mississippi State in the quarterfinals, 69-55, to advance to semifinal action.
This will mark the 43rd meeting in the all-time series with Vanderbilt but just the fifth matchup in the SEC Tournament. The Commodores hold a 27-15 overall advantage, including a 3-1 lead in tournament play. UK's only win over Vanderbilt in the SEC Tournament was a 75-67 decision in 1988.
UK (23-7 overall, 11-5 SEC) won both regular-season matchups against the Commodores this season. The Cats defeated VU in Lexington (78-68) on Jan. 23 and charted their first win in Memorial Gym since 1986 on Feb. 20 (80-71).
UK is 23-31 all-time in the SEC Tournament, including a 2-6 (35.0) mark in semifinal games. UK's championship appearance last season vs. Tennessee was the highest for the Cats since winning the tournament in 1982.