WNIT Central: UK Hoops Meets Chattanooga in WNIT
March 18, 2009
UK Hoops Meets Chattanooga in WNIT
Lexington, Ky. - The Kentucky women's basketball team will meet the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in the first round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament Thursday, March 19 at 7 p.m. EST in Memorial Coliseum. The game will be broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Radio Network with Neil Price and streamed live on UKathletics.com.
Reserved tickets will be $10, and general admission tickets will be $10 (adult) and $4 (youth/senior/UK student). Everyone must have ticket, regardless of age. Tickets will be sold first-come, first-serve.
Tickets will be available by:
- ordering online at Ticketmaster.com
- calling Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000
- calling the UK Ticket Office at (800) 928-2287 or (859) 257-1818
- ordering in person at the UK Ticket Office in the Joe Craft Center
In order to avoid lines Thursday at the ticket office, local fans are encouraged to pick up any pre-ordered tickets in advance. On game-night, Will Call will open at 5:30 p.m. EST at the front windows of Memorial Coliseum on Euclid/Avenue of Champions. You must have a photo ID to pick up your tickets . They will only be released to the proper name on the ticket account.
Game day parking is available in the Martin Luther King Parking Lot, the R-1 lot behind the Joe Craft Center, and on the streets surrounding Memorial Coliseum. Limited parking is also available in the Coliseum Parking Lot. Additional parking, when necessary, is available at the Student Center Parking Lot, across Avenue of Champions from Memorial Coliseum, as well as Parking Structure 5 located near Kennedy's Bookstore on Limestone Avenue. There will be NO shuttle service from Parking Structure #5 for Thursday's game but parking is free of charge for all UK Hoops fans.
The appearance marks Kentucky's sixth all-time in the WNIT and its fourth in the last five years. The Wildcats, who received an at-large bid to the WNIT, have a 12-4 record all-time in the postseason event and claimed the title in 1990.
"We are looking forward to playing tomorrow night, especially at home in front of our fans," UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell said. "It was an electric atmosphere in here last night for the men's NIT and I think that all Kentucky fans can see how special Memorial Coliseum can be with a raucous crowd. If we can have one for our game tomorrow night it can definitely help us play well. A big crowd would mean a lot to us."
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, ranks second in 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 8.2 rebounds per game and leads the SEC in double-doubles with 11. Also averaging in double-figure points is junior Amani Franklin (Stone Mountain, Ga.) with 11.4 ppg. She has posted double digits in seven of the last nine games, including a career-high 28 vs. South Carolina.
The Lady Mocs (22-9, 17-3 SoCon) enter the WNIT after falling to the College of Charleston in their conference tournament. Despite claiming their 10th consecutive regular season conference title, UTC fell 53-51 in a heartbreaker to the College of Charleston in the semifinals of the SoCon Tournament.
UTC is led by Southern Conference Player of the Year, Shanara Hollinquest. She led the SoCon in scoring (16.2) and field goal percentage and ranks second in the league in rebounding with 7.9 boards per game. Junior guard Jenaya Wade-Fray is ranked sixth in the league in scoring and leads the Lady Mocs with 61 three-pointers on the year while senior forward Erin Ogan, averaging 11.7 points per game, is third in the SoCon in rebounding (7.7) and ninth in 3-point field goal percentage making 39.1 percent of her attempts.
"We are playing a very tough opponent and Chattanooga has a great program," Mitchell said. "They have been widely successful in their conference and have had one of the winningest programs in women's basketball over the last 10 or 12 years. They have some players that can cause us problems so we will have to be ready to play tomorrow night."
Should UK advance it will face Wisconsin of the Big Ten Conference in Madison, Wis., Sunday, March 22 at 2 p.m. EST.
Head Coach Matthew Mitchell
Opening Statement ...
"We are looking forward to playing tomorrow night, especially at home in front of our fans. It was an electric atmosphere in here last night for the men's NIT and I think that all Kentucky fans can see how special Memorial Coliseum can be with a raucous crowd. If we can have one for our game tomorrow night it can definitely help us play well. A big crowd would mean a lot to us.
We are playing a very tough opponent and Chattanooga has a great program. They have been widely successful in their conference and have had one of the winningest programs in women's basketball over the last 10 or 12 years. They have some players that can cause us problems so we will have to be ready to play tomorrow night."
On what type of problems Chattanooga can pose ...
"They shoot the ball extremely well, which gives them the ability to spread the floor. They do a great job of driving the basketball so you have to be good one-on-one defenders. They spread you out and if they can get any type of dribble penetration they will cause you problems with the drive and kick game because they can get open threes. That is what causes a problem for us is just their ability to shoot the basketball and score points."
On what he hopes to get out of the WNIT tournament ...
"We are looking at it right now that this is our opportunity and a chance to play more basketball. There are a lot of teams right now that wish they could be playing more basketball, and we are fortunate in that regard. This is our final opportunity to do something special this year and every year we set out a goal to be as special as we can be and going deep and winning this tournament would certainly be something special. Any extra benefit you get from additional practice time or game situations is a bonus."
On not playing in almost two weeks ...
"That is one thing that I am happy about playing in the opening round. We need to get back out on the court and play and if we would have got a bye that would have extended the break even longer. It is important for us to go play and be ready to play. You are always worried about being rusty coming back from an extended break, but this team handled the Christmas break well and came back and got going then. I look for us to do well, but you are always concerned about being rusty."
On if having time off after the SEC Tournament ...
"They had several days off and we needed it because we were a little banged up. We were a pretty banged up group and a taxed group from a stand point of having to play a lot of people a lot of minutes. The days off were good for us and it rejuvenated us mentally and physically. I have been pleased with the way we have come back and practiced so far since the break."
On the seniors getting to play in Memorial Coliseum again and if that gives Kentucky more motivation ...
"All three of our seniors have done a great job practicing and preparing and that has been great to see. That is what you want to see out of your seniors and if they play well our team plays well. I have talked to them about how important it is for them to come ready to go tomorrow night and how our success in this tournament all hinges on how we perform tomorrow night. You really have to get that mentality, that it is win or go home and we really want to continue playing and our seniors know that."
On what he has expressed to the team about this being a new season ...
"We have tried to talk about how everything up to this point prepares us now to compete for a championship. I don't know anyone who has felt that winning a WNIT Championship is anything but positive. We have only done it once here at Kentucky and it has been a few years since that has happened. It would be significant for us to advance deep in the tournament and win it. We have talked about how we have worked hard for this opportunity and that is where the team's mentality is now. I really think they will play well."
On the close losses they have suffered this season ...
"We have talked about how important execution is and there have been reasons why we have won close games and lost close games, and those are all tied to execution. If we can come out with great energy and enthusiasm, coupled with great execution, things will go well for us."