UK Hoops Meets Bellarmine in Lone Exhibition Game

Nov. 8, 2009

Lexington, KY – With the first regular-season game less than a week away, the Kentucky women's basketball team looks to iron out any kinks when it takes on Division II foe Bellarmine University Monday, Nov. 9 in its lone exhibition game of the season. Game time is 7 p.m. EST in Memorial Coliseum and admission is free of charge.

Fans are encouraged to park in Parking Structure 5 located next to Kennedy's Bookstore on Limestone Avenue. Parking within Parking Structure 5 will be available free of charge. A shuttle bus service also will be provided and begins one hour prior to game time until one hour after the game. Additional game day parking is available in the E lots surrounding Memorial Coliseum including the Martin Luther King Parking Lot and the Student Center Parking Lot. The R lot (residential), directly north of the Joe Craft Center is not available for event parking and vehicles will be subject to ticket/tow.

This is the second consecutive season the squads have met in exhibition play. Last year, the Wildcats defeated the Knights 72-69 despite a poor shooting performance. The Wildcats were lead by then-senior Eleia Roddy with 21 points. Current juniors Victoria Dunlap (Nashville, Tenn.) and Carly Morrow (Chattanooga, Tenn.) scored 13 and 11 points, respectively.

UK struggled to find its shooting touch against the Knights last year, hitting just 39.7 percent (29-73) from the floor and a mere 6.7 percent (1-15) from three-point land. However, the Wildcats dominated around the glass, scoring 46 points in the paint and outrebounding Bellarmine, 45-36.

“We are so excited to get this season underway,” UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell said. “I think we are a much better shooting team and it will be good for us to get up and down against a quality opponent. We will be an exciting team to watch and it's going to be a different style of play because the last six or seven seasons we had a low post presence. Our experienced front court players aren't as tall but a lot more athletic and dynamic so it is going to be a different look. We can't wait to get started.”  

Five returning veterans join six highly touted newcomers as Mitchell, who enters his third season at Kentucky, looks to lead his Wildcats to a school-record sixth consecutive postseason tournament.

With only two seniors in Amani Franklin (Stone Mountain, Ga.) and Lydia Watkins (Hopkinsville, Ky.), the Cats will depend on three juniors for additional leadership. Heading that list is All-Southeastern Conference selection Dunlap. The 6-1 forward led the Wildcats in nearly every statistical category last season and has started in all 65 games of her career. Point guard Amber Smith (Winter Haven, Fla.), who dished out a team-high 114 assists in 2008-09, is back to direct the UK offense and Morrow looks to again be a threat from three-point range after nailing a team-best 48 three-pointers last season.

Along with three impressive freshmen in A'dia Mathies (Louisville, Ky.), Anna Cole (Mondovi, Wis.) and Brittany Henderson (Altadena, Calif.), three transfers also will join the Wildcats' arsenal. Former Miss Kentucky Basketball Rebecca Gray (Georgetown, Ky.) is eligible after transferring from North Carolina while Keyla Snowden (Lexington, Ky.), the nation's sixth-ranked three-point shooter in 2007-08, returns to the court after one year at Akron. Crystal Riley (Memphis, Tenn.), a transfer after one semester at LSU, will be available for action following the 2009 fall semester.

This will be the second exhibition on the season for Bellarmine located in Louisville, Ky. Earlier this month, head coach David Smith's team lost an exhibition game to Indiana State 84-52 in Terre Haute, Ind. Bellarmine returns only three letter winners from last year's team.

Kentucky will open its 36 th season of varsity women's basketball on Friday, Nov. 13 against first-time foe Boston University in Memorial Coliseum at 11 a.m. EST.