Cats Take Undefeated SEC Record to South Carolina
Jan. 14, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. – After three consecutive home games, No. 9/8 Kentucky hits the road Sunday for a Southeastern Conference matchup against No. 24 South Carolina in the Colonial Life Arena. Game time in Columbia, S.C., is 3 p.m. ET.
The Wildcats are 15-2 overall and begin SEC play at 4-0 for the first time in school history as crucial road matchups at No. 24/NR South Carolina and No. 19/16 Georgia (Thursday) await. The Wildcats are looking for their first win in Columbia, S.C. since 2009.
“(I have been) totally impressed by South Carolina,” UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell said. “Four senior starters, a real veteran team, very tough defensively, (and they’re) doing a great job of making it difficult for you to score. They have one of the best freshmen that I’ve seen in the league. They’re a talented team, well coached and it’s always a challenge in this league to go on the road and play, and play well. We will definitely have to do that to earn a victory against South Carolina. So, we’ll have to work hard today and tomorrow to get that done.”
UK is coming off a thrilling one-point 61-60 victory over archrival No. 6/7 Tennessee in Memorial Coliseum on Thursday. Junior guard and Naismith Award Watch List member A’dia Mathies (Louisville, Ky.) turned in one of the most impressive individual performances in UK Hoops history, netting a career-best 34 points to go along with nine rebounds, two assists, two blocks and two steals. The 5-foot-9 guard hit the game winner with 4.2 seconds remaining to snap the Lady Vols’ 36-game SEC winning streak. It also gave UK its third win over top-10 team and first over UT since 2009.
Mathies leads UK in almost every statistical category as she averages a team-high 17.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.3 steals per game. She leads the SEC in scoring with 22.3 points in four league games. Mathies has scored 20 points or more in three consecutive contests and is just the fifth Wildcat in school history to score 34 or more points in a game.
Freshman Bria Goss (Indianapolis, Ind.) also continues to impress as she is the SEC’s leading freshman scorer with 11.9 points per game. Goss has reached double-figure scoring in 14 of 17 games, including eight of the last nine.
No. 24/RV South Carolina enters Sunday’s contest coming off a tough 58-48 loss on the road at LSU on Thursday. The Gamecocks (14-3, 3-1 SEC) were led by freshman forward Aleighsa Welch, who came off the bench to score 13 points and grab seven boards while playing 30 minutes.
On the season, the Gamecocks have been led in scoring by senior guard Markeshia Grant who is averaging 10.2 points per game. Welch, the reigning SEC Freshman of the Week, is second on the team in scoring with 9.2 points per game while leading the team with 6.3 boards per game. La’Keisha Sutton and Ieasia Walker have facilitated the Gamecock offense, averaging 2.9 and 2.5 assists per game, respectively.
Sunday marks the 47th meeting in the all-time series vs. South Carolina. UK owns a 28-18 lead overall but trails 8-13 when the game is played in Columbia. UK has lost the last two meetings in the Colonial Life Arena, including a 66-61 setback last year. UK’s last win on the road vs. USC was on March 1, 2009, 70-53.
The game can be heard live on the UK IMG Sports Radio Network or www.UKAthletics.com with Neil Price calling the action. Fans can follow the UK Hoops team on Twitter at @UKHoopCats and use #UKHoops to comment on the game.