Wildcats Travel To Tuscaloosa for SEC Showdown
Jan. 14, 2009
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky women’s basketball team looks to capture its first Southeastern Conference road win when the Wildcats take on the Crimson Tide Thursday, Jan. 15 in Tuscaloosa. Ala. The game will be broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Radio Network with Neil Price from Coleman Coliseum.
UK (11-6, 1-1 SEC) is coming off a 72-63 win over Arkansas at home while Alabama is in search of its first conference win after losses to Vanderbilt and LSU.
“We are going on the road for the second time in the SEC and that is always something that is very difficult in this league,” UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell said. “After watching them, (Alabama) they are a very impressive team. They are athletic and carry a lot of people and can give you problems that we will have to be ready for them. They are a good rebounding and aggressive team. They are tough defensively and have had a big turnaround this year with Coach Hudson. He has done a great job at Alabama. It’s always tough to go on the road and we will have to be prepared for a good game in Tuscaloosa.”
This is the 34th meeting in the series between Kentucky and Alabama. The Wildcats lead the overall series 18-15 but trail 5-9 in games played in Tuscaloosa. However, UK has won three of the last four in Coleman Coliseum, including a thrilling 63-62 buzzer-beater in 2007. The Cats also defeated the Tide last season in Lexington, 64-44.
Since dropping two straight games in mid-December, Kentucky has drastically improved its field goal percentage. The Cats have won six of their last seven games and improved their field goal shooting percentage from .346 at the beginning of the season to .420 percent in the last seven contests. The Wildcats also are shooting .393 from the three-point line, compared to a .232 percent mark prior to Dec. 14.
Three players are averaging double-figures in the Wildcats’ balanced scoring attack. Sophomore forward Victoria Dunlap (Nashville, Tenn.), who led all scorers with 16 vs. the Razorbacks, leads the team with 12.2 points per game while senior center Eleia Roddy (Columbus, Ohio) and junior guard Amani Franklin (Stone Mountain, Ga.) follow close behind, averaging 10.8 ppg apiece. Sophomore guards Amber Smith (Winter Haven, Fla.) and Carly Morrow (Chattanooga, Tenn.) near the double-figure mark with 7.7 ppg each.
Roddy, who leads the Southeastern Conference in double-doubles with eight this season, also tops the league in rebounding with 8.9 per game after grabbing 12 caroms vs. Arkansas. Dunlap is third in the SEC, averaging 8.2 rpg.
Alabama (12-5, 0-2 SEC) is led by sophomore forward Tierney Jenkins, who comes off the bench to average 11.5 points and 7.1 boards per game. She is the only tide player in double-figures although freshman Ericka Russell nears double-digits with 9.9 ppg.
Former Alabama men’s basketball standout Wendell Hudson is in his first season as head coach of the Crimson Tide. Prior to becoming the head coach for his alma mater, he served as the Associate Athletics Director for Alumni Relations at Alabama. His 26-year coaching career began under former Kentucky Athletics Director and Tide men’s coach C.M. Newton. He served as an assistant coach under Newton from 1974-79.
Head Coach Matthew Mitchell Quotes
On the new transfer of Crystal Riley …
“It happens from time to time with players all over the country who go to a school, but it doesn't work out. Semester transfers are not all the uncommon. When Crystal [Riley] was looking for a place to go she had a familiarity with some of our staff. She played for Coach [Matt] Insell this summer and Kansas was on her final list so she had a great relationship with Coach Kyra [Elzy]. That gave us an opportunity to be considered by Crystal. The familiarity with our coaching staff gave us a big advantage. She will learn what an exciting place this is at the University of Kentucky. She knows that she's needed here and that if she comes in and does what she is supposed to do there is playing time available. The combination of all these factors led her to this great opportunity for her at the University of Kentucky.”
On Kentucky having three transfers next season …
On if the transfers will mean the there will be a totally different team next year …
On Carly Ormerod …
On Jodie Meeks' performance last night …
On Alabama …