UK Hoops Ranked in Top 15 of Preseason Magazines

Sept. 23, 2010


LEXINGTON, Ky. – On the heels of a record-breaking season, the Kentucky women’s basketball team has earned top-15 preseason rankings by Sporting News Magazine, Athlon Sports Magazine and Lindy’s Basketball Annual, which were released recently.

The Wildcats, whose remarkable season included an NCAA Elite Eight appearance, the most wins (28) in program history, a school-record 11 Southeastern Conference victories and the highest conference finish (second) in 28 years, are ranked No. 9 by Lindy's, No. 11 by Athlon Sports and No. 12 by Sporting News.

Kentucky finished 28-8 overall, 11-5 in SEC play in 2009-10, and advanced to the regional finals of the NCAA Tournament after defeating Liberty, No. 24/25 Michigan State and No. 4/4 Nebraska. The Cats’ run to the Final Four ended with a loss to No. 12/12 Oklahoma.

One of the main cogs last season was senior Victoria Dunlap (Nashville, Tenn.). The 6-foot-1 forward was named a State Farm/WBCA and first-team Associated Press All-American while earning the school’s first SEC Player of the Year honor. She averaged a career-best 18.1 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.1 steals and 1.9 blocks per game and was the only player to rank among the league’s top three in scoring and rebounding. She also set UK records for blocks (66), blocks per game (1.90) and steals (107) in a single season. Because of her stellar play, Dunlap was named a first-team preseason All-America choice this season by Sporting News while Athlon and Lindy’s chose Dunlap as a second-team selection.

UK head coach Matthew Mitchell, named the 2010 AP and SEC Coach of the Year, welcomes back seven letterwinners, including the top three scorers in Dunlap, sophomore guard and last year’s SEC Freshman of the Year A’dia Mathies (Louisville, Ky.), and junior sharp-shooting guard Keyla Snowden (Lexington, Ky.). Senior point guard Amber Smith (Winter Haven, Fla.) is out indefinitely after suffering a knee injury during a pickup game in late July. Additional returning letterwinners are Crystal Riley (Memphis, Tenn.), Carly Morrow (Chattanooga, Tenn.) and Brittany Henderson (Pasadena, Calif.). Adding depth to the backcourt is redshirt freshman Bernisha Pinkett (Washington, D.C.), who will see her first action in 2010-11 after enrolling at UK last January.

UK welcomes five incoming freshmen to the squad this year. Kentucky's top-10 recruiting class of Sarah Beth Barnette (Lexington, Ky.), Maegan Conwright (Arlington, Texas), Samantha Drake (Bardstown, Ky.), Kastine Evans (Salem, Conn.) and Jennifer O’Neill (Bronx, N.Y.) featured the Wildcats’ first McDonald’s All-America selection (O’Neill) and three state players of the year from Connecticut (Evans), Kentucky (Barnette) and Texas (Conwright).

The first opportunity to see the 2010-11 UK Hoops team is Oct. 15 at Big Blue Madness in Rupp Arena at 7 p.m. ET. After an exhibition game vs. Kentucky Wesleyan on Nov. 7, the Cats will begin regular-season play at home on Nov. 12 against Morehead State. The game will tip off at 11 a.m. ET in Memorial Coliseum as the nation’s first women’s basketball game of the season.

1.   Connecticut
2.   Baylor
3.   Stanford
4.   Tennessee
5.   Xavier
6.   Duke
7.   Oklahoma
8.   Ohio State
10.  Texas A&M
11.  Notre Dame
12.  Georgetown
13.  St. John’s
14.  North Carolina
15.  Texas
16.  UCLA
17.  West Virginia
18.  Georgia
19.  Iowa
20.  N.C. State
21.  Florida State
22.  Dayton
23.  Michigan State
24.  TCU
25.  California
1.   Connecticut
2.   Stanford
3.   Tennessee
4.   Baylor
5.   Ohio State
6.   Xavier
7.   Texas A&M
8.   Duke
9.   West Virginia
10.  Maryland
12.  Georgetown
13.  UCLA
14.  Notre Dame
15.  St. John’s
16.  Oklahoma
17.  Bowling Green
18.  Iowa State
19.  Florida State
20.  Georgia
21.  Texas
22.  Virginia
23.  Vanderbilt
24.  LSU
25.  Nebraska
1.   Connecticut
2.   Baylor
3.   Stanford     
4.   Xavier
5.   Tennessee
6.   Duke
7.   Ohio State
8.   Notre Dame
9.   West Virginia
10.  Oklahoma
11.  North Carolina
13.  Georgetown
14.  St. John’s
15.  Texas A&M
16.  Georgia Tech
17.  Iowa State
18.  Georgia
19.  Texas
20.  UCLA
21.  Florida State
22.  Temple
23.  TCU
24.  Michigan State
25.  Rutgers