UK Hoops Meets Dayton in NCAA Tournament Second Round

March 21, 2015

LEXINGTON, Ky. - After a commanding 97-52 win over Tennessee State on Friday afternoon to open the 2015 NCAA Tournament, the 11th-ranked University of Kentucky women's basketball team looks to carry that impressive play into Sunday's matchup against seventh-seeded Dayton in the second round.

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Kentucky vs. Dayton
Sunday, March 22 - 2:30 p.m. ET
Lexington, Ky.
Game Notes: UK Get Acrobat Reader | UD Get Acrobat Reader
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Radio: UK Sports Network
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Tipoff in Memorial Coliseum is set for approximately 2:30 p.m. ET and will be shown live on ESPN2 with Brenda VanLengen and Carol Ross calling the action. The game can also be heard live on the UK Sports Network with Neil Price.

Fans can follow updates on Twitter at @ukhoopcats and use the hashtag #ncaaw to talk about the game.

Tickets may be purchased:

  • By calling the UK Athletics ticket office at 800-928-2287 or 859-257-1818
  • On the Internet
  • In-person at the Joe Craft Center Ticket Office
  • UK students may show their Wildcard Student ID at the Joe Craft Center ticket windows on Sunday, March 22, beginning at 9 a.m. ET to receive a complimentary Second Round ticket paid for by UK Athletics Marketing. Single session tickets for college students from other universities are $5.00 (one ticket per student with college ID)

Against Tennessee State, sophomore guard Linnae Harper(Chicago) came off the bench to lead six Wildcats in double figures with 16 points. She also grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds for her seventh double-double of the season.Freshman forward Alexis Jennings(Madison, Ala.) followed with 15 points, whilesenior guard Jennifer O'Neill (Bronx, N.Y.,senior guard Bria Goss(Indianapolis) andsophomore guard Makayla Epps(Lebanon, Ky.) had 13 points each. Freshman guard Jaycee Coe (Gainesboro, Tenn.) added a career-high 10 points in just 14 minutes of action. It marked the first time since Dec. 29, 2013 vs. Grambling State six or more players have been in double figures.

Kentucky's signature "40 minutes of dread" defense proved to be too much for the 15-seeded Lady Tigers as the Wildcats forced them into 26 turnovers and limited them to just 26.1 percent shooting. The Wildcats swiped a season- and UK NCAA Tournament-high 18 steals in the game, a career-high five steals coming from senior forward Jelleah Sidney (Queens Village, N.Y.). UK's defense turned into points for the Wildcats as they used 16-0 run in the first 10 minutes of the game to turn a 3-3 tie into a 19-3 advantage.

Kentucky (24-9) will look to advance to the Sweet 16 for a school-record fourth straight season, and fifth in the last six seasons under head coach Matthew Mitchell. Standing in the way is a tough Dayton squad who is 26-9 over and finished Atlantic-10 play at 14-2 for second place. The Flyers, led by head coach Jim Jabir, advanced to the Lexington Sub-Regional final with a 78-66 win over 10th-seeded Iowa State on Friday in Memorial. Andrea Hoover leads the Flyers in scoring, averaging 17.7 points per game this season, and is one of three Flyers in double figures. Senior Ally Malott follows with 15.3 ppg and Amber Deane has 10.2 ppg.

UK is 13-3 all-time vs. Dayton, the last meeting coming in the second round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament in Queens, N.Y. UK defeated the Flyers, 80-74. The Wildcats have won five of the last six matchups with Dayton, including two in a row.

Media Opportunity - March 21, 2015

Kentucky Head Coach, Matthew Mitchell

On what was going on during the three-game losing streak ...
"We just had a distracted group. We were distracted with different things going on, and I think it was just a bit of immaturity with our team. And so talking about it, we just talked about things I haven't had to stress with prior teams - about having to stay focused - and it's little things, but just trying to eliminate the distractions. Instead of everyone getting on the bus and putting their heads in their phones and kind of going in their own spot, let's put the phones away and talk to each other and things like that. Nothing more dramatic than that, but it did have a dramatic effect on how the team connects. It's just the way now. It's not anything negative in the world except when you're really trying to come together. When your team depends on being cohesive, and having to play together, and outhustling people, you have to work even harder to raise your level. Your ability to be connected is much more important than if you were just the most talented team in the country and you didn't have to worry about that connection that you might have. It's really what might on the outside seem small, like putting their phones away and talking to each other, spending time together in a team room with no distractions and no outside distractions has really had a powerful effect, (such as) taking the floor and running the warmups and putting them through where they can really stay focused and it's more practice-like and you can warm up game speed. It's just been more things where you can zero in and change their mindset, so it's very simple, but pretty powerful."

On what the biggest change was in the locker room after the three-game losing streak ...
"I think what happened with us and our locker room was when Janee Thompson got hurt, she had that confrontational edge that could keep everybody (focused). The seniors have been great and they've done a great job, but they lead a little bit differently, maybe not so confrontational. That's the good thing about Janee. Now she's rehabbing off the court, and I think it was just a gradual - it kind of hit us before we knew it. We had a three-game slide and you saw how distracted everyone was and so we didn't look like we had much to do in the NCAA Tournament when we left Oxford, Mississippi, but I would say we have a lot of ability to play well tomorrow and see if we can advance on a good Dayton team. A lot of things go into building a team and having a good team, and sometimes things happen all of the sudden we find ourselves in a spot like we did in the Ole Miss game kind of searching for what's going on. That's why I'm grateful for the seniors. They really confronted an issue that helped us have a chance to have some success in the tournament."

On having former Dayton assistant coach Adeniyi Amadou as an assistant coach and its advantages ...
"It might be more helpful if it was a game on the schedule and you had multiple days to really prepare and you had a team that is able to take in a lot of information and is really a veteran team that can kind of make changes on the fly. It might be more beneficial to a team like that. For our team, we just need to stay focused on what they need to do. I've said this many times, we can't get overly focused on the opponent, especially in a tournament setting. Dayton does a great job, and they just execute so well, and they are very explosive offensively. So we will need to do the things that Kentucky does well to try and take them out of being able to execute. The advantage, I think, is negligible. It's certainly not anything that we mention with our team. Does it give Dayton a little bit of an added motivation? You'd have to ask them. All I can do is get our team as prepared as possible and as we relay the information to the team. It's not like we have some secret switch and knowledge that will turn the trip for us tomorrow. We've got to really focus in on playing well, so in this kind of setting, it's really not much of a factor, I don't believe."

Kentucky Student-Athlete Jen O'Neill

On how they change defense into offense ...
"Our defense creates our offense because when we play with a lot of energy and we play real intense and we get a lot of deflections because that's how we get into transition and get easy buckets."

On what makes Linnae Harper hard to guard ...
"She's probably our most talented player we have on the team. She's a strong guard who can grab rebounds and she uses her body really well to score."

On the high level of play in recent games ...
"We've changed our mindset. After having our meeting with Matthew (Mitchell), everything has changed. But probably the whole highlight of the SEC Tournament was the meeting prior to."

Kentucky Student-Athlete Bria Goss

On her defense ...
"There are games where shots just don't fall, but you can bring your defense to every game and you can really count on that. We count on our defense to get our offense started."

On what makes Linnae Harper hard to guard ...
"Linnae has a great first step and she rebounds the ball really well. Linnae is a very competitive individual and she is a lot of fun to play against."

On what stands out to her about Dayton ...
"Just watching them yesterday in the Iowa State game the thing that really stuck out to me was how fundamental they were and how well they execute and push the ball, and how well-coached they are. They're a great team and it's going to be a lot of fun to play against them."