UK Hoops Practice Report: Thompson Taking Leadership Role
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The University of Kentucky women's basketball team wrapped up its fifth practice of the 2014 preseason on Tuesday morning at the Joe Craft Center in Lexington, Ky. Head coach Matthew Mitchell enters his eighth season at the helm of the Wildcats who has collected 200 career wins.
Mitchell praised the work ethic of junior Janee Thompson after practice on Tuesday.
"Janee is evaluating herself and building on things that she's doing successfully and working on things she is struggling with," Mitchell said. "Her work ethic is a key principle for this team."
Thompson, who averaged 8.6 points per game and 2.1 rebounds per game, is one of two returning starters for the Wildcats. Thompson joins senior Bria Goss, as the only two returning starters who advanced to the 2014 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 for the third time in the last four seasons for UK.
"As a starting point guard, it is important for me to step up and fill the leadership role for the team." Thompson said after practice on her filling the leadership role as she enters her junior year in the Blue and White.
Sixteen of UK's 30 games (exhibition included) have been selected for national or regional TV. Six matchups will be featured on the ESPN family of networks, including a key contest on ESPN2 vs. Baylor on Nov. 17 in Rupp Arena. The Wildcats, who will face the Lady Bears in the first game of ESPN's seventh annual College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon, will look to sell out Rupp Arena for the second straight season. Last year, UK played host to Duke in the downtown venue and set a new single-season attendance record with 23,706 fans. The attendance marked the largest crowd ever to see a college women's hoops game in the Commonwealth.
Also on ESPN2 are road trips at Duke (Dec. 21), at South Carolina (Jan. 11) and at Tennessee (Feb. 15). ESPNU will feature the Wildcats in Baton Rouge, La., on Jan. 18 vs. LSU and either ESPN2 or ESPNU will carry UK's final regular-season home matchup vs. South Carolina for Senior Day on March 1. That game will be determined 7-10 days out.
The SEC Network will carry nonconference matchups in Memorial Coliseum vs. Middle Tennessee State (Dec. 12) and Belmont (Dec. 14) and televise eight league games, including Ole Miss (Jan. 4), Florida (Jan. 15), Tennessee (Jan. 29), Georgia on UK's Alumni Day on Feb. 1 and Mississippi State (Feb. 12) at home. SEC road games on the Network are at Missouri (Jan. 25), at Vanderbilt (Feb. 8) and at Ole Miss (Feb. 23).
The remaining 14 contests will be streamed live on the internet. Nine of the 13 will be carried on SEC Network +, starting with UK's exhibition game vs. Pikeville on Nov. 6. SEC Network + events are exclusively available on SECNetwork.com and on WatchESPN via computers, smartphones and tablets.
"Pack The House Tickets"
UK Hoops single-game tickets vs. Baylor went on sale to the general public through Ticketmaster on Wednesday morning. The Wildcats are looking to "Pack The House"' on Monday, Nov. 17 against the Lady Bears at 7 p.m. ET in Rupp Arena. The game will be televised live on ESPN2, and will mark the tip-off to the ESPN 24-hour college basketball marathon to kick-off the 2014-15 season.
UK sold out Rupp Arena a season ago, as a school-record crowd of 23,706 turned up to watch the Wildcats face No. 2 Duke on Dec. 22, 2013. Last season, UK hoops set a new program record, finishing ninth in the nation, averaging 6,727 fans per home game, and a season total of 121,089 for all 18 home games. UK has finished in the top 25 for national attendance 11 straight seasons, a program-best streak.
Tickets for the "Pack The House" game are available in two locations, including the Ticketmaster link above. Fans can also call the UK Ticket Office at (859) 257-1818 to book their seat for the game.
UK Hoops had a 9-4 record last year when playing in crowds of 6,000+, including 14-4 record in games played at Memorial Coliseum.
Lower level reserved tickets are $9, upper level general admission adults are $8, upper level GA youth (ages 6-18)/seniors (ages 65+) at $5. Groups of 10 or more are just $2 each in reserved or general admission areas and can be purchased by calling the UK ticket office directly.
Season tickets are available for purchase for $65 online at UKAthletics.com/tickets or by calling the UK Ticket Office at 859-257-1818 or 1-800-928-2287. Lower level chairbacks are sold out.
SEC Tournament Tickets On Sale
Tickets for the 2015 Southeastern Conference Women's Basketball Tournament, held at Verizon Arena in Little Rock, Arkansas, are now on sale. The 35th edition of the tournament will be played March 4-8.
Tickets for the tournament are $100 for a reserved book. A ticket book contains seven tickets, one for each session, which allows one person to attend all 13 games. Tickets can be purchased at www.SECSports.com.
All games will be televised and also available through WatchESPN, accessible online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app, and streamed on televisions through Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox 360 or Xbox One to fans who receive their video subscription from an affiliated provider.
This is the fourth trip to Verizon Arena for the SEC Women's Basketball Tournament. The tournament was played there previously in 2003, 2006 and 2009. The Verizon Arena seats 16,000 for the SEC Tournament. It is located across the river from downtown Little Rock.
The Wildcats, who were ranked No. 6 in an early preseason poll by ESPN.com columnist Charlie Crème, returns seven letter winners from last season, including key players in Bria Goss (Chicago) and Jennifer O'Neill (Bronx, N.Y.), returning starting point guard junior Janee Thompson (Chicago) and sophomore guards Linnae Harper (Chicago) and Makayla Epps (Lebanon, Ky.). Adding depth to the post position are seniors Azia Bishop (Toledo, Ohio) and Jelléah Sidney (Queens Village, N.Y.) New additions to the roster this season include junior-college transfer and 6-foot-6 center Ivana Jakubcova (Bratislava, Slovakia), freshman shooting guard Jaycee Coe (Gainesboro, Tenn.), freshman forward/center Alexis Jennings (Madison, Ala.) and freshman center Alyssa Rice (Reynoldsburg, Ohio). Sophomore forward Kyvin Goodin-Rogers (Lebanon, Ky.) also will be available for action after sitting out last season with a pulmonary embolism.
For continuing coverage of UK Hoops, log on to UKathletics.com.