UK Hoops Faces Florida A&M Sunday in Memorial
Dec. 11, 2009
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky women's basketball team returns to Memorial Coliseum Sunday, Dec. 13 looking for its ninth straight win when it plays host to Florida A&M at 1 p.m. EST. The game will be televised live on the Big Blue Sports Network (TV) and FSN South and also broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Radio Network with Neil Price.
General admission tickets for the game are available for just $5 adults/$2 senior citizens and children 6-18. Ages five and under are admitted free. UK students, faculty and staff also are admitted free with valid identification based on availability. Season tickets cost just $45.
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 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 Wildcats (8-0) won its eighth straight game over a week ago at Cincinnati, equaling the best start since the 2005-06 team also began at 8-0. The school record is a 9-0 start by the 1980-81 squad. UK, which ranks eighth nationally and second in the Southeastern Conference in scoring margin, has defeated all eight opponents by at least 10 points.
“It will be good to get back on the court and play again,” UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell said. “It has been a good break for us. We've had a good chance for us to practice and get better in some areas that we needed to get better in.”
Kentucky ranks among the top 25 in six different team categories in the NCAA statistical rankings released on Dec. 9. The Wildcats rank fourth in turnover margin (+9.0), 11 th in scoring offense (80.5 points per game), 12th in blocked shots (5.9 bpg) and 17 th in turnovers per game (14.8). Kentucky also is one of 17 teams, including one of four SEC teams, currently undefeated.
Junior forward Victoria Dunlap (Nashville, Tenn.) continues to dominate on both ends of the court as she leads UK in scoring (18.5), rebounding (10.5), blocks (2.4) and steals (3.0) per game. She also is the league's leader in blocks and steals. Following Dunlap in the scoring column is the reigning SEC Freshman of the Week, A'dia Mathies (Louisville, Ky.) The freshman guard ranks second on the team in scoring, averaging 12.1 ppg and has netted double figures in six of the eight games this season.
Florida A&M, located in Tallahassee, Fla., is 5-2 overall, 1-0 in the Mid-eastern Athletic Conference after wins over Florida (72-71) and Bethune-Cookman (65-62) last week. The Lady Rattlers also won their first three games of the season, highlighted by a season-opening upset at South Florida, 73-68 in overtime. Their two losses came against Missouri and Auburn.
“Florida A&M is a tremendous team, off to a great start with a 5-2 record,” Mitchell said. “They have gone into Tampa and beat South Florida and gone into Gainesville and beaten Florida. They have certainly been impressive to watch on film.”
Four players are averaging in double-digit scoring led by senior guard Deidra Jones with 15.3 ppg. The reigning MEAC Player of the Week, Tameka McKelton, follows with 13.3 ppg. FAMU's leading rebounder is Qiana Donald with 10.9 caroms per game.
“It's a big test. It's a good game for us to have to go and play hard, assert ourselves and play well to win,” Mitchell said. “We're at that stage in the season where we need to start making certain that we know who we are and what we're about. This game will give us an opportunity to check that.”
This is just the second meeting between the squads in school history. UK leads 1-0 after defeating the Lady Rattlers 84-55 on Nov. 21, 2005 in Lexington. UK is 5-0 all-time vs. teams from the MEAC.
Coach Matthew Mitchell Quotes
“It will be good to get back on the court and play again. It has been a good break for us. We've had a good chance for us to practice and get better in some areas that we needed to get better in. “
On Florida A&M…
“Florida A&M is a tremendous team, off to a great start with a 5-2 record. They have gone into Tampa and beat South Florida and gone into Gainesville and beaten Florida. They have certainly been impressive to watch on film. It will be a very difficult test for us, but I'm excited about the opportunity.”
“They play with a lot of confidence. They are very athletic. They have good size at every position. They are extremely aggressive. It's a team that, if they get into a rhythm offensively, they can really cause a lot of trouble and beat you. It's a big challenge for our defense to play a good group of athletes that have proven they can go into a tough environment and play well.
“It's a big test. It's a good game for us to have to go and play hard, assert ourselves and play well to win. We're at that stage in the season where we need to start making certain that we know who we are and what we're about. This game will give us an opportunity to check that.”
On if he saw this start coming heading into the season…
“I certainly have a lot of confidence in our players. We didn't try to look too far down the road because we had a lot of questions we needed to answer (before the season). After watching how they have prepared and practiced it is not as surprising. I am really pleased with the record so far.”
On what he learned about his team in the Cincinnati game…
“I thought they showed some ability to bounce back from what was really a difficult situation. We were struggling to get anything positive going. We had stopped defending. We were not really executing offensively. For the first time we really had to get ourselves together on the road in a tough situation. I thought some people showed some leadership. That's continuing to develop. I think people like Amber Smith and Victoria Dunlap really asserted themselves in a tight situation and kept a positive attitude.”
On A'dia Mathies and if she has exceeded expectations…
“When we recruited her I told her that we needed her to come in and produce right away. That's just where we were as a basketball program. We needed to sign someone to come in and do what she has been doing. I'm not surprised as much as I'm pleased that she has actually been able to do what we needed her to do. She still has some things she can get better doing to progress as a player. But she is -- from a talent and ability standpoint – what we thought when we signed her.”