UK Hoops Faces Oklahoma Friday in Paradise Jam
ST. THOMAS, V.I. – The University of Kentucky women’s basketball team looks to get back on the winning track when it faces Oklahoma Friday, Nov. 28 at 6 pm ET at the UVI Sport and Fitness Center in the second of three games in the Paradise Jam in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. The game will be streamed live and be broadcast live on the UK Radio Network with Neil Price.
Paradise Jam Island Tournament
Kentucky vs. Oklahoma
Friday, Nov. 28 - 6:00 p.m. ET
St. Thomas, Virgin Islands
Game Notes: UK | OU
|Radio: UK Sports Network
Live Video via Paradise Jam
The Wildcats (4-1) dropped their first game of the season to Illinois (5-0) on Thursday, 77-71, despite a career night from sophomore Makayla Epps (Lebanon, Ky.). The 5-foot-10 guard came off the bench for 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting and 6-of-9 from the free throw line, while also grabbing five rebounds, two assists and two steals. Senior guard Jennifer O’Neill (Bronx, N.Y), who played just seven minutes in the first half due to foul trouble, added 17 points, 14 coming in the second half and senior center Azia Bishop (Toledo, Ohio) followed with 13 points and a team-high seven rebounds.
Illinois (5-0) shot 53.2 percent from the floor and snapped UK’s 367-game streak with a 3-pointer, holding the Wildcats to 43.1 percent shooting, including 0-of-6 from beyond the arc. It marked UK’s first meeting against the team since 1988 but fourth straight loss in the all-time series.
“We were just not locked in defensively tonight, and that was really what ended up deciding the outcome of the game,” UK Hoops head coach Matthew Mitchell said. “I thought that Illinois came out fired up and ready to play, and you have to credit them for that. Illinois had some size inside and that bothered us some. They also run a very unorthodox offense that is tough to prepare for. When you don’t have the practice time before the tournament, that makes it difficult. But, what the game really came down to was our lack of Kentucky defense tonight. The problem for us is that we don’t really have a default to go to after our defense. We are not a zone team. We are not a shooting team. We revolve around our defense, and we didn’t have that with us tonight. With Bria (Goss) and Jennifer (O’Neill) not being very smart early and picking up early fouls, that hurt us. We have to have better defensive leadership from those two. It’s certainly a disappointing outcome tonight, but we have to come back and get better for tomorrow night’s game against Oklahoma.”
Oklahoma (3-1) also suffered its first loss of the season, falling to South Florida Thursday night, 83-68. The Sooners were outrebounded 51-29 and shot just 38.6 percent from the field. They were led in scoring by Sharane Campbell with 16 points.
Prior to their game against South Florida, the Sooners led the nation in field goal percentage at 54.7 percent. They ranked second in scoring offense with 98 points per game.
Friday is just the second all-time meeting between Kentucky and Oklahoma. The lone matchup came in the 2010 NCAA Tournament Regional Finals in Kansas City on March 30. The Sooners defeated the Wildcats, 88-68, to advance to the Final Four. UK is 6-8 all-time vs. teams from the current alignment of the Big 12 conference, including 1-0 this season. The Cats defeated No. 8/9 Baylor on Nov. 17 in Rupp Arena, 74-64.
This marks UK’s second all-time appearance in the Paradise Jam. The Wildcats participated 10 years ago in 2004, defeating Duquesne (73-70) and falling to South Dakota State (57-55) and No. 17/18 Rutgers (75-60). Sara Potts was named to the All-Tournament team.