Wildcats Celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day Against LSU

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University Kentucky women’s basketball team will look to right the ship and snap a three-game losing skid when Southeastern Conference foe LSU comes to Memorial Coliseum on Sunday afternoon. The Wildcats are set for a noon tipoff against the Tigers, who are also riding a three-game losing streak in conference action.

Additionally, Sunday’s game will honor National Girls and Women in Sports Day. Since its inception in 1987 as a day to remember Olympic volleyball player Flo Hyman for her athletic achievements and her work to assure equality for women in sports, NGWSD has become the premier occasion to celebrate the participation, success and accomplishments of female athletes. In order to celebrate NGWSD, various UK women’s teams will lead skills clinics on the concourse starting at 11 a.m.

Single-game tickets are $9 for all ages, while adult general admission single-game tickets are $8. For those aged 6-18 or 65-and-over, general admission costs are $5 per ticket. Children age five-and-under are admitted free in the general admission seating area, and UK students, faculty and staff are admitted free with valid identification.

Gameday Central

#18 Kentucky vs. LSU
Sunday, Feb. 7 - Noon ET
Lexington, Ky. - Memorial Coliseum
Game Notes: UK | LSU

Coverage

SEC Network
Radio: UK Sports Radio Network (630AM WLAP in Lexington)
Game Center (free audio, live stats)
Twitter
Text Updates

The game will be televised on the SEC Network with Paul Sunderland, Gail Goestkors and Steffi Sorensen calling the action.  The game can also be seen on the SEC Network+, which is available through WatchESPN on computers, tablets or smartphones. Fans can also listen to the game live on the UK Sports Radio Network with Neil Price on 630AM WLAP. Live stats and free audio will be available online at UKathletics.com.

“We’re preparing for our match on Sunday versus LSU,” UK head coach Matthew Mitchell said. “They have a really tough defensive team and play a lot of really tough zone.  We’ll have to move the ball well and work hard to score against them, and we’ve got to continue to seek defensive improvement.  We saw some things take shape last night that show a little bit of improvement but we’ve still got a long way to go. We’ve got to keep working at it every single day.  I believe we have a good team, and we just have to bring them together.  And we have to work real hard between now and Sunday at noon so we can earn a victory versus LSU.”

Following a series of losses against Vanderbilt, No. 22/22 Florida and No. 2/2 South Carolina, the Wildcats now sit as the No. 18 team in both the Associated Press and USA Today/Coaches Polls. Most recently, the Wildcats fell on the road to the No. 2 Gamecocks after trailing USC closely before ultimately dropping a 78-68 decision. During the setback, junior guard Makayla Epps became the 31st member of Kentucky’s 1,000 point club, leading the Wildcats with 17 points.

Epps currently leads the team with 17.6 points per game, and is the second leading scorer within conference action at 18.6 ppg. The junior became the first player since Sara Potts in 2004 to post 20+ points in four consecutive games with her scoring efforts against Ole Miss, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Florida. Epps was also recently named to the Dawn Staley Award Mid-Season Watch List, which is given to the top collegiate guard in the nation. Joining Epps in the backcourt is Janee Thompson, who ranks 41st in the nation in assists per game at 5.2 helpers per contest and is second on the team in scoring with 12.2 ppg.

Junior post Evelyn Akhator has recorded a trio of double-doubles in conference play, accomplishing the feat against Auburn, Georgia and Florida, and is averaging 11.6 points and 9.2 rebounds per game for the 2015-16 season. Jennings is averaging 9.3 points and 7.6 rebounds per game this season and has also been impressive from the free throw line in league play, knocking down 24-of-24 charity shots.  

LSU sits at the bottom of conference standings with a 8-15 record, including 2-8 within SEC play. The Tigers’ two wins within the SEC came against Ole Miss, 76-57, and Georgia, 53-46. The Tigers are coached by Nikki Vargas, who has compiled a 163-90 career record, including 91-64 during her five years as LSU’s head coach.

Two Tigers are averaging at least 10 points to lead the team in scoring, with Alexis Hyder atop the team statistics with 11.2 ppg, followed by Jenna Deemer with 10.1 ppg.  Hyder also leads the team in rebounding, with 7.7 rpg, and has also rejected a team-high 19 shots. Deemer is the team’s 3-point shooter with nearly half her shots coming from beyond the arc to lead the team with 28 made 3-pointers, while no other Tiger has made more than five 3-pointers on the season.

As a team, LSU is averaging 54.3 points per game, but has the 42nd-best scoring defense in the nation and the fifth-best in the SEC, holding opponents to just 56.8 ppg. LSU also ranks in the upper half of the SEC in terms of steals, averaging 9.2 swipes per contest.

Sunday marks the 45th meeting between Kentucky and LSU, with the Tigers holding a 32-12 advantage in the all-time series. UK has posted a 5-4 record since Jan. 28, 2010, when the Wildcats snapped a 16-game losing streak to the Tigers with a 71-62 victory in Baton Rouge.  The last time the two teams met, LSU handed Kentucky an 84-79 setback on the road. UK has won its last three games against the Tigers in Lexington, most recently by way of a 63-56 victory on Feb. 2, 2014.

For more information on the Kentucky women’s basketball team, visit UKathletics.com or follow @UKHoopCats on Twitter and Instagram, or Kentucky Women’s Basketball on Facebook. 

Spectator parking is located in the following areas:
  • All E-lots surrounding Memorial Coliseum are off control beginning 3 hours prior to tip.  This includes the College of Education E-lots, located off Scott Street.
  • The South Limestone Garage (PS#5, adjacent to Kennedy's Bookstore) and the Rose Street Garage (PS#2) are available 2 hours prior to tip-off. 
  • Lexington Authority Transit Center Parking Garage is available after 5 p.m. ET on weekdays and all day on weekends.
  • When parking in the Transit Center, pull a yellow token from the dispenser and keep in your vehicle.  See the event staff attendant at the entrance near Lexington Avenue/High Street to receive a free parking voucher before the game.  When exiting the garage after the game, place your yellow token in the machine, then scan the barcode on your free parking voucher to exit.
  • Disabled parking is available in the E-Lot (Employee Lot) north of the Joe Craft Center, adjacent to the metered spaces running along the front of the Craft Center with a valid, state issued disabled hang tag.  These spaces are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis until full.
Please note: parking is prohibited in any R-lots (Residential). Vehicles parked in Residential lots without a proper permit, along yellow curbs, grass spaces, or other non-specified and unapproved areas may be subject to ticket and/or tow.

Shuttle Information:
  • Free shuttle services are available beginning 2 hours prior to tip off from the South Limestone Garage located off Limestone and Upper Street and the Transit Center Parking Garage located off High Street and Vine Street.
  • The Parking Structure #5 shuttle (blue route) picks up/drops off on Administration Drive, at the end of the pedestrian sky bridge accessed from the 3rd floor of the parking garage.  The pickup/drop off point near Memorial Coliseum is at the Euclid entrance.  
  • Transit Center Parking Garage (green route) picks up/drops off near the corner of High Street and Martin Luther King.  The pickup/drop off point near Memorial Coliseum is near the Ticket Office at the Lexington Avenue entrance. 
  • Shuttles will start back up at halftime and continue until 1 hour post-game to return guests to their parking areas.
Game day Information:
  • Doors to Memorial Coliseum will open one (1) hour prior to tip-off.
  • UK Athletics encourages women's basketball fans to arrive early to ease traffic and parking congestion around the Coliseum.
  • Surface lots (i.e. Joe Craft Center North, Rose Street lot and the Alumni Center lot) reach capacity approximately 1.5 hours prior to tip-off, at which point vehicles should proceed directly to the South Limestone Garage (PS#5), Rose Street Garage (PS#2), the E-lots near the College of Education or the Lexington Authority Transit Center Parking Garage near High Street and Lexington Avenue.
For more information on parking around Memorial Coliseum and other game-day questions visit ukathleticsgameday.com/hoops.

Head Coach Matthew Mitchell Pre-LSU News Conference 


Opening statement…
“We’re preparing for our match on Sunday versus LSU.  They have a really tough defensive team and play a lot of really tough zone.  We’ll have to move the ball well and work hard to score against them, and we’ve got to continue to seek defensive improvement.  We saw some things take shape last night that show a little bit of improvement but we’ve still got a long way to go. We’ve got to keep working at it every single day.  I believe we have a good team, and we just have to bring them together.  And we have to work real hard between now and Sunday at noon so we can earn a victory versus LSU.”

On if he saw improvement in defense after watching the tape against South Carolina…
“What I wish I could report to you is that our habits are better at this time of year in defense.  I just don’t think we have great habits formed.  We still have some time to get that done, but we need to continue to improve.  But we saw a couple people rotate from help position last night and take some charges—some things that we hadn’t done.  Still, some of the issues that have plagued up showed up in the game.  So I just think it’s more about trying to stay with the plan of working on our defensive fundamentals and trying to get that really, really engrained in our team.  But we saw some improvement.”

On what he sees in Batouly Camara that he likes…
“What I loved about Batouly is that the issue in the Florida game, she was stopping.  So the play didn’t unfold the way that she wanted it to and she would just stop and give up a 3 or give up a basket.  And so after the Florida game, she was not the only one, but that’s one thing I’m trying to get to a young player is that you can make mistakes, but you can’t stop.  And she really came to practice and really put her best foot forward.  That’s how she earned the start against South Carolina. We’re not trying to play mind games or head games with any of these kids.  You’ve got to play hard, first of all.  You can figure everything else out as we go along.  She was so very aggressive last night, offensively and defensively.  Made a ton of mistakes, but she played.  And when some kids were backing up against that big size, she was going at them.  I love that.  I thought all our three freshmen really stepped up and competed last night in the game.  And they’re making mistakes because of inexperience, but I loved our freshman class last night.”

On Camara’s impact on the team as a teammate…
“High character person.  She cares about others.  Benching her at Florida was trying to get her out of her own ways.  We’ve never questioned if she wants to be a good teammate.  She’s always been a great teammate as far as caring about other people.  She was letting her team down by stopping, but you never question her intentions. She is a fantastic person and we knew that when we signed her.  And she’s been even better than what we’d imagined.  We’re excited about her future. She just overthinks things sometimes, and I’d rather a person care too much than care too little.  Batouly Camara will be a success here.”

On moving forward after three straight losses…
“You have to keep your head about you in the storm.  The wind’s blowing and the rain’s pounding down on you, and you just have to believe in what you’re doing.  There’s a reason we lost the last three games.  It’s attention to detail, it’s defensive effort, it’s paying attention to the little things.  That was a high-level game last night.  We’re down two with 2:28 left.  We showed up and competed.  We didn’t do enough things to beat a team like that.  We need to learn from that and move forward, but it’s going to come down for us, I think, to defensive effort and attention to detail.  We’ve been slow to get that, but I loved the way they worked going into the South Carolina game.  If we can work that hard between now and Sunday, I think we can get a victory.”