UK Hoops Accepts Bid to WNIT
March 16, 2009
Lexington, Ky. - The Kentucky women's basketball team will be a part of postseason play for the fifth consecutive season as it was selected to participate in the Women's National Invitation Tournament announced Monday night. The Wildcats will play host to Chattanooga of the Southern Conference Thursday, March 19 in the first round in Memorial Coliseum. Game time is 7 p.m. EST.
The appearance marks Kentucky's sixth all-time in the WNIT and its fourth in the last five years. The Wildcats have a 12-4 record all-time in the postseason event and claimed the title in 1990. The Cats competed in the WNIT last season and advanced to the quarterfinal round by defeating Middle Tennessee and James Madison before falling to the eventual champion Marquette, 69-64.
"We are excited to have an opportunity to continue playing basketball," UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell said. "To be able to host the game in Memorial Coliseum is a great credit to our fans. They have always been so supportive and we would love to have a big, big crowd come out and help us win."
Mitchell, in his second season at the helm, led his team to a 15-15 overall record, including a 5-9 mark in conference play. UK earned three wins over NCAA-bound teams, including a 10-point win over No. 13/19 Tennessee. Twelve of UK's 15 losses were against NCAA-bound teams and the Cats went 2-2 against the four squads that were their conference tournament champions (East Tennessee State, UC Santa Barbara, North Carolina A&T, and Vanderbilt).
UK is 6-0 all-time vs. Chattanooga, 2-0 in postseason tournaments. UK met the Lady Mocs in the second round of the WNIT in 2005 and in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 2006.
"The bracket looks like an extremely strong field," Mitchell said. "We will have to play very well to advance in this tournament. Chattanooga has a great program and I have a lot of respect for their team. They will be a very tough opponent for us to play."
The Cats are led by the interior duo of All-SEC second team selections Victoria Dunlap (Nashville, Tenn.) and Eleia Roddy (Columbus, Ohio). Dunlap, a 6-1 sophomore, leads the SEC in rebounding (9.0 rpg) and is tops on the team in scoring (12.6 ppg), steals (53) and blocks (34). Roddy, a 6-3 senior, has endured four knee surgeries in her career but has finally been able to show her full potential in this, her final season as a Wildcat. She averages 12.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game and leads the SEC in double-doubles with 11.
The Lady Mocs (22-9, 17-3 SoCon) defeated Samford to claim a 10th consecutive regular season conference title. That win earned Chattanooga an automatic bid to the WNIT. UTC received a first-round bye in the SoCon tournament then downed Appalachian State in the quarters before falling to the College of Charleston 53-51 in the semis.
Ticket and parking information for Thursday's game will follow later.
Should Kentucky advance, it would play at Wisconsin with a time and date to be determined.