Wildcats Open New Year With North Carolina A&T

Dec. 31, 2008

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Fresh off a resounding 82-60 win over IUPUI on Tuesday, the Kentucky women’s basketball team looks to continue their winning ways in 2009 when they play host to North Carolina A&T Thursday, Jan. 1 at 7 p.m. EST in Memorial Coliseum. The game will be broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio) with Neil Price.

Single-game general admission tickets are available for $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. For ticket information, log on to ukathletics.com or call the UK ticket office at 859-257-1818 or 1-800-928-CATS (2287).

The Wildcats (8-5) are riding a three-game winning streak after wins over Alabama A&M, UC Santa Barbara and IUPUI. Thursday’s game marks the final non-conference home game for the Cats this season. The Wildcats finished the 2008 portion of their schedule with an 8-5 record, including a 6-2 mark at home. That’s an improvement from last year’s 5-7 start and 3-3 home record. After Thursday’s meeting with North Carolina A&T, the Cats travel to Miami Ohio Saturday, Jan. 3 for their final regular-season game of the year. SEC play begins Jan. 8 at No. 8 Tennessee.

“We face another team that is athletic, well-coached and one that has been playing well this season,” UK Coach Matthew Mitchell said. “I was pleased with how we performed Tuesday night and we need that same intensity in practice and in our game on Thursday. We have another tough stretch where we are playing three games in five days but if we continue playing with confidence and poise we will head into conference play on a high note.”

Three players are averaging in double-figures for the Wildcats this season. Sophomore forward Victoria Dunlap (Nashville, Tenn.) leads the way with 11.9 points per game while senior center Eleia Roddy (Columbus, Ohio) follows close behind with 11.5 ppg. Junior guard Amani Franklin (Stone Mountain, Ga.) averages 10.8 ppg and leads the team with 19 three-pointers.

Roddy is UK’s leader on the glass, pulling down 9.1 rebounds per game. She currently ranks second in the Southeastern Conference in rebounding and leads the league in double-doubles with six, including five in a row. She is one of just four players in school history to chart four or more double-doubles and her five consecutive double-doubles are the most since former UK All-American Valerie Still grabbed a school-record 11 in a row during the 1982-83 season.

North Carolina A&T, located in Greensboro, N.C, is 6-4 after falling to Liberty in the first round of the Virginia Tech Tournament (72-58) and defeating Lafayette in the consolation game on Tuesday, 65-63.

Three players are averaging double-figure scoring for the Aggies as well led by senior Brittanie Taylor-James’ 17.2 points per game. Senior guard Amber Bland and junior guard Ta’Wuana Cook follow with 14.6 and 13.6 ppg, respectively. Junior forward Lamona Smalley is the team’s leading rebounder with 7.6 rebounds per game.

This is the second overall matchup between the teams. UK is 1-0 all-time vs. the Aggies with the lone meeting coming on Dec. 6, 2005. UK won 71-40 in Memorial Coliseum.

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 north of Memorial Coliseum and the Joe Crafter center also will be open until Jan. 12. Due to the holiday break, Parking Structure 5 will be closed during women’s basketball games and there will there be no shuttle bus service.