Ten Home Games Highlight 2016-17 Non-Conference Schedule


LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky women’s basketball head coach Matthew Mitchell has announced a rigorous non-conference schedule for the 2016-17 season that features six games against 2016 NCAA Tournament teams, including five teams that were ranked or receiving votes in the final 2015-16 USA Today/Coaches Top 25. 

“Every year we look to put together a challenging non-conference schedule to prepare us for the always tough SEC slate. This year will be no different as we start our season with two NCAA Tournament teams from last year in Miami (Fla.) and Albany and end non-conference play at Duke, which is always a huge challenge. In between, we play some of the very toughest programs in the country,” Mitchell said. “The best part of our non-conference schedule is getting to play 10 games at home in front of our fans, including a multi-team event to start the season. I’m excited for the players to get back on campus next week as we get another season started.” 

The demanding slate includes games against 2016 NCAA Tournament participants Miami (Fla.), Albany, Oklahoma, Louisville, Middle Tennessee and Arizona State. Five of those teams were either ranked or receiving votes in last year’s final rankings with Miami finishing 24th, while Oklahoma was 23rd, Arizona State was 16th, Louisville was 14th and Albany was receiving votes. In all, eight non-conference opponents won 20 or more games last season. 

After beginning the season with their lone exhibition contest on Nov. 3 against Union University at 7 p.m. ET inside Memorial Coliseum, the Wildcats will host the Kentucky Classic from Nov. 11-13 with Miami (Fla.) and Albany. Kentucky will play Miami, who went 24-9 last season, Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. ET inside Memorial Coliseum before hosting Albany on Nov. 12 also at 7 p.m. ET. The event will conclude with Miami and Albany squaring off at 7 p.m. ET on Nov. 13 inside the Coliseum. 

The annual Winning Tools Education Day, where local elementary school students attend a game and learn the importance of a college education, will be Nov. 17 at 11 a.m. ET against New Hampshire before the Wildcats hit the road for the first time all season to play at Colorado on Nov. 19. Kentucky and Colorado met last season in Lexington with UK earning an 86-61 victory. November will wrap up with two home games, starting Nov. 23 against Morehead State at 7 p.m. ET before a Nov. 27 contest against Samford, who won 20 games in 2015-16, at 2 p.m. ET. 

December will begin with the annual SEC-Big 12 Challenge as Oklahoma heads to Memorial Coliseum to face Kentucky at 7 p.m. ET on Dec. 1. The game will be rematch of last year’s NCAA Tournament second-round contest when the Wildcats took down the Sooners, 79-58 in Lexington to advance to the Sweet 16. UK will have a quick turnaround as it will travel to in-state rival Louisville on Dec. 4. Kentucky has won five straight games in the series, including a 72-54 victory last year in Rupp Arena. 

Following the in-state showdown, UK has a four-game home stretch starting with Middle Tennessee on Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. ET, before its lone game inside historic Rupp Arena on Dec. 11 against Arizona State at 2 p.m. ET. The Sun Devils won a share of the Pac-12 regular-season title a year ago and made the NCAA Tournament with 26 wins. The Wildcats conclude the home stretch against Radford, who went 18-13 last season, on Sunday, Dec. 18 at 2 p.m., before facing its third Pac-12 opponent, Washington State on Dec. 21 at Noon ET inside Memorial Coliseum. 

The non-conference schedule concludes Dec. 29 at 7 p.m. ET as Kentucky travels to Cameron Indoor Stadium to face Duke. Last year, the Wildcats defeated the Blue Devils in Rupp Arena, 71-61 in front of a season-high 17,150 fans. The game will mark the third straight year the two teams have faced. 

A complete breakdown of all 13 non-conference opponents is below. Game times are subject to change and TV selections are still to be determined. The Southeastern Conference schedule is set to be released at a later date.

Kentucky, which is entering its 43rd season of varsity women’s basketball and 10th under Mitchell, is coming off its school-record seventh consecutive NCAA Tournament berth. Last season, the Wildcats advanced to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 for the fifth time in seven seasons – one of only seven schools nationally to claim that honor. The Wildcats ended the season with a 25-8 record and a No. 15 final ranking. 

The Wildcats return several key players from last year’s squad, including two seniors in leading scorer and All-America candidate Makayla Epps and last year’s top post player in Evelyn Akhator. Epps averaged a team-best 17.1 points per game, hitting .473 from the field with 4.5 assists per game and 4.8 rebounds per game. Akhator finished third on the team in scoring with 11.5 points per game and first in rebounds with 9.3 boards per game. 

Season tickets are available for purchase for $65 online at ukathletics.com/tickets or by calling the UK Ticket Office at (859) 257-1818 or (800) 928-2287. Seats will be assigned in September after the season ticket renewal deadline. All single-game tickets will go on sale in late October.
 
For more information on the Kentucky women’s basketball team, visit UKathletics.com or follow @KentuckyWBB on Twitter and Instagram, or Kentucky Women’s Basketball on Facebook.

Miami (Fla.)
Head Coach: Katie Meier (12th season)
Record at Miami (Fla.): 207-143 (.591)
2015-16 Record: 24-9 (NCAA Tournament First Round)
Top Returner: Adrienne Motley, G, Sr. – 15.7 ppg, 2.5 apg, 1.6 spg, 3.6 rpg
Notes: Miami returns its top four scorers from last season’s squad that earned a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament before falling to South Dakota State in the opening round … The Hurricanes ranked 61st nationally in scoring offense and 103rd in scoring defense … Lost to Notre Dame in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament.
Series History: UK leads series 5-1, including 2-0 in games played in Lexington
Last Meeting: W, 60-57, Dec. 1, 2001 (H)

Albany
Head Coach: Joanna Bernabei-McNamee (First season)
Record at Albany: First season
2015-16 Record: 28-5 (NCAA Tournament Second Round)
Top Returner: Imani Tate, G. Sr. – 18.3 ppg, 4.0 apg, 3.1 spg, 5.6 rpg
Notes: Had the most successful season in program history last year, defeating fifth-seeded Florida in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to Final Four participant Syracuse in the second round … The NCAA Tournament win over Florida was the first in program history in the event … Won its fifth consecutive America East Tournament title … Program record 28 victories last season … Returns three of it’s top-four scorers from last season who were responsible for more than 50 percent of the team’s scoring … Ranked 13th nationally in scoring defense, eighth nationally in scoring margin, fourth nationally in field-goal percentage and 10th nationally in rebound margin last season.
Series History: 2016 will be first meeting

New Hampshire
Head Coach: Maureen Magarity (Seventh season) 
Record at New Hampshire: 85-94 (.474)
2015-16 Record: 12-18
Top Returner: Carlie Pogue, C, Jr. – 11.0ppg, 5.4rpg, 0.7bpg, .432FG%
Notes: Lost senior Elizabeth Belanger to graduation as the guard led the team in scoring last season and ended her career fifth on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,453 points … Returns three players who averaged five or more points per game last season … Averaged 57.5 points per game, allowing 59.9 points per game last season … Returns experienced squad for 2016-17 with seven seniors or juniors. 
Series History: 2016 will be first meeting

Colorado 
Head Coach: JR Payne (First season) 
Record at Colorado: First season
2015-16 Record: 7-23
Top Returner: Kennedy Leonard, G, Soph. – 12.1ppg, 4.6apg, 1.4spg, 3.6rpg
Notes: Lost leading scorer Jamee Swan to graduation after she averaged 13.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game last season … Return guard Leonard Kennedy and guard/forward Haley Smith, who each averaged 10+ points per game last season … Shot 33.6% from 3 last season to rank 64th nationally in that category … Return a strong sophomore class, including Ashland, Ky., native Alexis Robinson, who averaged 7.6 points per game with 2.5 assists per game last season.
Series History: UK leads 1-0
Last Meeting: W, 86-61, Nov. 22, 2015 (H)

Morehead State
Head Coach: Greg Todd (Third season) 
Record at Morehead State: 22-38 (.366)
2015-16 Record: 10-20
Top Returner: Brianna McQueen, G, Sr. – 15.7ppg, 6.0rpg, 4.3apg 
Notes: The Eagles return their top four scorers from last season who accounted for nearly 1,500 of the team’s points … Guard Miranda Crockett and forwards Eriel McKee and Shay Steele return after averaging more than 13 points per game last season … The Eagles were one of the best offensive teams in the nation, scoring 79.4 points per game to rank 10th nationally in that category.  
Series History: UK leads 28-4, including 18-1 in games played in Lexington 
Last Meeting: W, 112-57, Nov. 18, 2015 (H)

Samford
Head Coach: Mike Morris (14th season)
Record at Samford: 242-183 (.569)
2015-16 Record: 20-11
Top Returner: Kassidy Blevins, G, Jr. – 7.3ppg, 1.1apg, 2.2rpg 
Notes: One of the best defensive teams in the country last season only allowing 50.2 points per game, which ranked third best in the nation … Lost the top three scorers from last season, including its top rebounder … Last year’s 20-win season was the first for the program since 2012. 
Series History: UK leads 1-0, including 1-0 in games played in Lexington 
Last Meeting: W, 90-61, Dec. 21, 2011 (H)

Oklahoma
Head Coach: Sherri Coale (21st season)
Record at Oklahoma: 442-217 (.671)
2015-16 Record: 22-11 (NCAA Tournament Second Round) 
Top Returner: Peyton Little, G. Sr. – 10.9ppg, 2.0apg, 1.4spg, 2.8rpg 
Notes: Faced Kentucky in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season in Memorial Coliseum with the Wildcats earning a 79-58 victory … Veteran squad returning, including four starters and 12 letterwinners … Sooners have 82.1% of their scoring, 81.7% of their rebounding and 93.8% of their assists returning from last season. 
Series History: UK leads 2-1, including 1-0 in games played in Lexington 
Last Meeting: W, 79-58, March 21, 2016 (H)

Louisville
Head Coach: Jeff Walz (10th season)
Record at Louisville: 234-85 (.734)
2015-16 Record: 26-8 (NCAA Tournament Second Round) 
Top Returner: Myisha Hines-Allen, F, Jr. – 17.6ppg, 8.4rpg, 1.1apg 
Notes: Return a veteran squad after having a young team last season that won 26 games and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament … Top returners are ACC Player of the Year Myisha Hines-Allen and junior forward Mariya Moore, who had nine 20-point games last season … Scored 72.2 points per game last season to rank 45th nationally in that category, while sitting 36th nationally in rebounding margin. 
Series History: UK leads 34-18 
Last Meeting: W, 72-54, Dec. 10, 2015 (H)

Middle Tennessee 
Head Coach: Rick Insell (12th season)  
Record at Middle Tennessee: 276-85 (.786)
2015-16 Record: 24-9 (NCAA Tournament First Round) 
Top Returner: Ty Petty, G, Sr. – 12.2ppg, 5.9apg, 1.8spg 
Notes: Strong season under long-time head coach Rick Insell in 2015-16, winning 24 games and advancing to the NCAA Tournament after winning its second C-USA Tournament title in the last three seasons … Return two players from last year who averaged double-figure scoring, but lost its leading scorer and leading rebounder in Brea Edwards, who was one of the best 3-point shooters in the country … Return four starters and eight letterwinners from last year’s squad. 
Series History: UK leads 14-4, including 8-1 in games played in Lexington  
Last Meeting: W, 68-52, Dec. 13, 2015 (A)

Arizona State
Head Coach: Charli Turner Thorne (20th season)  
Record at Arizona State: 380-220 (.633)
2015-16 Record: 24-9 (NCAA Tournament Second Round) 
Top Returner: Sophie Brunner, F, Sr. – 10.7ppg, 7.4rpg, 1.9apg, 1.7spg 
Notes: Although the Sun Devils return their top two scorers from last season, they graduated five players from last year’s team that won a share of the Pac-12 regular-season title, including 3-point sharpshooter Katie Hempen …  Arizona State was the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Sioux Falls Regional last season and hosted the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament before falling to Tennessee … ASU ranked 21st nationally in scoring defense allowing just 54.9 points per game last season.
Series History: UK leads 1-0  
Last Meeting: W, 68-64, OT, Nov. 15, 2015 (A)

Radford
Head Coach: Mike McGuire (Fourth season)  
Record at Radford: 42-50 (.456)
2015-16 Record: 18-13
Top Returner: Janayla White, F, Jr. – 11.9ppg, 10.0rpg, 1.8bpg, 1.2apg 
Notes: Lost leading scorer Aisha Foy, who averaged 12.2 points per game and 2.2 assists per game … Return two players that posted 10+ points per game last season, including leading rebounder Janayla White … Strong defensive team that ranked 14th nationally by allowing just 53.3 points per game and fifth nationally limiting opponents to 33.3% from the field a year ago … Outrebounded teams by 8.1 rebounds per game, ranking 21st nationally in that category. 
Series History: UK leads 1-0, including 1-0 in games played in Lexington 
Last Meeting: W, 89-83, Nov. 26, 1988 (H)

Washington State
Head Coach: June Daugherty (10th season)  
Record at Washington State: 104-177 (.370)
2015-16 Record: 14-16
Top Returner: Borislava Hristova, F, Soph. – 16.3ppg, 3.4rpg, 1.5apg, 1.3spg 
Notes: Finished ninth in the Pac-12 last season … Led last season by Pac-12 All-Freshman Team selection Borislava Hristova, who shined in her first year in college for the Cougars … Lose four seniors off last year’s squad, including the team’s second and third leading scorers who each averaged 6.8 points per game … Had 120 blocks as a team last season, which broke the WSU single-season record. 
Series History: UK leads 1-0, including 1-0 in games played in Lexington 
Last Meeting: W, 80-51, Nov. 10, 2006 (H)

Duke
Head Coach: Joanne P. McCallie (10th season)  
Record at Duke: 245-65 (.790)
2015-16 Record: 20-12
Top Returner: Rebecca Greenwell, G, Jr. – 15.1ppg, 5.9rpg, 2.1apg, 1.5spg
Notes: Lost top scorer from last year, Azura Stevens, who averaged 18.9 points per game with 9.6 rebounds and 53 blocks … Return two of its top three scorers from last season in Rebecca Greenwell and Oderah Chidom … Hit 44.5% from the field as a team in 2015-16, ranking 27th nationally in field-goal percentage … Outrebounded teams by 7.2 rebounds per game, which ranked 28th nationally … Return three starters from last year’s team and add former Maryland All-American Lexie Brown, who sat out the 2015-16 season due to NCAA transfer rules. 
Series History: Duke leads series, 5-2  
Last Meeting: W, 71-61, Dec. 20, 2015 (H)