UK Hoops Opens 37th Season with Morehead State
Nov. 11, 2010
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Kentucky opens year four of the Matthew Mitchell era and its 37th season of varsity women's basketball when it plays host to intrastate rival Morehead State Friday, Nov. 12 in Memorial Coliseum. Tip-off is scheduled for an unusual 11 a.m. EST start as it will mark the nation's first Division I women's basketball game of the 2010-11 season. The game will be carried live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio) with Neil Price.
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. When you enter the structure, you will receive a white voucher. Upon arrival at Memorial Coliseum, please exchange your white voucher with a pink payment voucher with any UK Event Staff working the entrances to Memorial Coliseum or at the Guest Services desk, located inside the Lexington Avenue Lobby. Insert the pink payment voucher to exit Parking Structure #5.
There also will be a shuttle from Parking Structure #5 to Memorial Coliseum, which will begin at 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. To access the shuttle, walk across/above Limestone, via the skybridge (accessible on Floor 3 of the parking structure). Shuttle picks up at the end of the sidewalk on Administration Drive.
Please do not park in designated University lots as vehicles will be subject to ticket/tow.
"We kick off our season tomorrow and I'm anxious to get it going and see how much progress we have been making in the offseason," UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell said. "It's a game that if we are not paying attention to personnel it could be very difficult. (Ashar) Harris, their post player, is averaging 19.0 rebounds per game so if that doesn't get your attention, I don't know what will. It will be a big challenge to get the proper amount of energy and to get the season going the right way."
The Wildcats are coming off a 99-55 win over Kentucky Wesleyan in their only exhibition game of the season. Kentucky's chaos-causing defense helped spur the Wildcat offense, frustrating the visiting Panthers into 40 turnovers that led to 58 UK points. The Wildcats took control of a 47-42 game two minutes into the second half, sprinting on a 32-0 run while holding the Panthers scoreless for more than nine minutes.
Reigning Southeastern Conference Player of the Year Victoria Dunlap (Nashville, Tenn.) picked up right where she left off last season, posting a game-high 20 points and 10 rebounds. Four other Wildcats scored in double figures, including 15 points from freshman Kastine Evans (Salem, Conn.), 12 points from reigning SEC Freshman of the Year, sophomore A'dia Mathies (Louisville, Ky.) and 10 points each from sophomore Brittany Henderson (Pasadena, Calif.) and freshman Samantha Drake (Bardstown, Ky.).
The Eagles, under the direction of first-year head coach Tom Hodges, return just four players who saw playing time last year, but headlining that group is reigning OVC Player of the Year Chynna Bozeman. Bozeman averaged 19.6 points and 4.9 rebounds in leading MSU to a 22-11 overall record last season.
The Eagles won both of their exhibition games, defeating Kentucky Wesleyan (66-56) and Lincoln Memorial (59-55).
This marks the 28th meeting between the programs since UK became a varsity sport in 1974-75 and the first in Lexington since 1995. Kentucky leads the all-time series with Morehead 23-4, including a 16-1 advantage when playing in Lexington. The Cats defeated the Eagles last season in Morehead, 72-55.
The Cats have won 18 consecutive games in Memorial Coliseum, the third-longest home winning streak in school history and the nation's 10th-longest streak. UK also has won 12 consecutive games at home against Morehead with the only loss coming on Dec. 11, 1978 (83-76).
UK is 28-8 all-time in season openers and 32-4 all-time in home openers. The Cats have won 11 of their 12 season openers, dating back to the 1998-99 season. UK is 2-1 under Coach Mitchell in season openers.
Season and single-game tickets are on sale now. Season tickets in the upper level chair backs, lower level bleachers and general admission season ticket areas are only $45. Lower level chair backs are $60 for the season. Single-game reserved seats are $7 (regardless of age) while general admission tickets are $7 for adults and $4 for youth/seniors. UK students, faculty and staff are admitted free with valid identification.
To purchase tickets, visit the Joe Craft Center in person, call 1-800-928-2287 or go online at UKathletics.com.
Pregame Press Conference: Head Coach Matthew Mitchell
Opening comments ...
"Tomorrow, we are kicking off our season. I'm anxious to get it going and see how much progress we have been making in the offseason. It's a game that if we are not paying attention to personnel could be very difficult. (Ashar) Harris, their post player, is averaging 19 rebounds per game so if that doesn't get your attention, I don't know what will. It will be a big challenge to get the proper amount of energy and to get the season going the right way."
His overall thoughts on pre-season games ...
"I think we have had some good moments. We have had some things that we can build on. I don't know anyone who would tell you that they are satisfied where they are right now. I am just very anxious to find out if we are going to come out with the right kind of energy. I think if we do that, and continue to get better throughout the season, than we can succeed. Energy is going to be an important factor tomorrow and I think as we progress throughout the season."
On his recruiting class ...
"We signed two really good players. Bria Goss from Indianapolis has lost two games her entire high school career and has won 58 straight. She is familiar with winning and what it takes to be a winner. She is a guard that can score, but the thing that impresses me is that every time I have seen her play for her high school team, or her club team, the level of players around her is great and she is able to raise her level of play to match that. We are very excited about Bria. They are great people; they have a great family. I really enjoyed meeting them and getting to know them. Azia Bishop is a very dynamic post player at about 6-foot-4. Azia was one of the more athletic players in the class. She is able to fit our style. She plays up-tempo, she can make the three from the high-post and I think she has a lot of potential with her back-to-the-basket game. They are two players that really fit great with us. We are still plugging away with the recruiting class, so we will keep you up to date on that."
On the play of freshman Samantha Drake...
"She has a lot of talent. She has a lot of gifts. She is a quick learner. What we have been working with her is this week in practice is her mental focus. Making sure that she gets herself prepared for tomorrow. There are some things that she is not comfortable with. There are some things defensively that she is still not comfortable with. I see her a little discouraged, so we are just trying to work with her on her mental toughness. I'm not saying she is not mentally tough; we are just trying to say that is an area defensively where she can make some strides. She is very, very talented offensively. We are just looking for defensive intensity and rebounding intensity tomorrow from her."
On the play of the freshmen ...
"They are very important. They out-number every other class of all the active players. There are six of them and three of everyone else. Obviously their sheer numbers tell you that they are a big part of the team. We are looking for them to make progress. I am also expecting all of them having an opportunity to play tomorrow depending on how practice goes today. I think our season will be determined by how much progress we can make as a team, and the freshmen are a big part of that."
On the similarities between Azia Bishop and Victoria Dunlap...
"(Azia) is a lot taller than Victoria. (Azia) is a very similar athlete. They remind me, as far as intensity goes, of each other. Azia is not a finished product and Victoria certainly wasn't. They both also have very similar personalities. So, I think you could draw some comparisons."
His concerns over an 11 a.m. start time...
"I'm interested to see. Today is going to be a long day for us. We are going to have to be mentally tough. We will come in and have our normal practice. Then, we will come in and do our game-day practice tonight because the schedule is just the way it is tomorrow morning. We have talked about it this week. We have talked about how important mental focus is going to be and preparation. I'm concerned about a number of things tomorrow and so I guess you could throw that one in there."