Jan. 18, 2013
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The fifth-ranked Kentucky women's basketball teams looks to continue its winning ways when it takes on a tough Auburn squad Sunday, Jan. 20 in the Wildcats' "We Back Pat" game. The Southeastern Conference battle will be televised live on the SEC Network at 2 p.m. EST and also carried on ESPN3 and the UK IMG Sports Radio Network with Neil Price.
Fans can follow the UK Hoops team on Twitter at @UKHoopCats and use #UKHoops to comment on the game.
The "We Back Pat" initiative is focused on bringing awareness and recognition to The Pat Summitt Foundation, a fund of East Tennessee Foundation, and its fight against Alzheimer's disease. At every SEC women's basketball game – 17 games in 14 cities – a variety of efforts including promotional public address announcements and video endorsements will help to increase awareness of the foundation and its mission. Players will also be showing their support by wearing "We Back Pat" t-shirts during warm-ups before the game.
Single-game reserved tickets cost of $9 for all ages. General admission tickets for adults are $8 while single-game general admission tickets for seniors and children (ages 6-18, 65 and over) are only $5. UK faculty, staff and children ages five and under are admitted free in the general admission seating area, while supplies last.
"Big game coming up on Sunday," UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mtichell said. "Auburn has a lot of weapons offensively. They play really hard on defense, they full-court press which offers some challenges maybe we haven't had in past games recently. They have a lot of great firepower, a lot of great athletes who are hustling right now and it will be a tough game. We will have to be really sharp, really focused, really aggressive here in practice over the next couple of days."
UK improved to 17-1 overall, 5-0 in SEC play with a commanding 100-47 win over Mississippi State on Thursday in Memorial Coliseum. The 53-point win marked the largest margin of victory over an SEC opponent in school history. It was the first time since 1983 vs. Vanderbilt that the Wildcats have scored 100 or more points against an SEC opponent. The win also extended UK's school-record overall winning streak to 16 and its school-record home winning streak to 32. The overall winning streak is tied with Duke for the longest active streak and the home winning streak ranks second behind the top-ranked Baylor Lady Bears who have won 48 in a row.
Junior center DeNesha Stallworth (Richmond, Calif.) led four players in double digits with a UK career-high 25 points in just 24 minutes of action. She has now scored in double figures in 16-of-18 games, including 15 in a row. Senior guard A'dia Mathies (Louisville, Ky.) followed with 21 points, her third conference game with 20-plus points this season, while sophomore Bria Goss (Indianapolis) and junior guard Kastine Evans (Salem, Conn.) added 13 and 12 points, respectively. In its sixth-straight win over the Bulldogs, UK forced an SEC-high 35 turnovers and won the rebounding battle 46-20.
Auburn travels to Lexington after a tough loss to No. 9 Tennessee (75-66) on Thursday at home. All five starters scored in double figures for the first time this season and accounted for all but five of the Tigers' 66 points. Sophomore forward Hasina Muhammad and senior forward Blanche Alverson led with 15 points apiece. Muhammad is the only SEC player to have posted double digits in each game this season. The Tigers are now 13-5 overall, 2-3 in the SEC with wins over No. 23 Arkansas and Ole Miss and losses to Missouri, No. 20/21 Texas A&M and ninth-ranked Lady Vols.
Overall, Muhammad ranks fourth in the conference and leads three Auburn players in double-digit scoring with 16.9 points per game. Junior guard Tyrese Tanner and Blanche Alverson follow with 13.1 and 12.4 ppg, respectively. Muhammad also leads Auburn on the boards with 5.9 rpg, while Alverson follows close behind with 5.7 rpg.
Former Georgetown head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy is in her first season at Auburn. Prior to AU, she spent eight seasons with the Hoyas, coaching them to four straight 20-win seasons.
The Wildcats' "40 minutes of dread" defense has them leading the nation in turnover margin (+10.28), limiting the opponent to 37.1 percent shooting, including 27.5 percent from beyond the arc, averaging 12.2 steals and 5.1 blocks per game.
Overall, Mathies, the preseason SEC Player of the Year, leads Kentucky in scoring, averaging 14.9 points per game. She currently ranks in the top 10 of 12 career lists at UK, including third in steals (280) and fourth in scoring (1,703). Junior Samarie Walker (West Carrollton, Ohio) and Stallworth lead the way on the boards, averaging 8.3 and 6.0 rebounds per game, respectively.
This marks the 42nd meeting between the teams. Auburn leads the all-time series 25-16, including a 10-6 advantage when playing in Lexington. UK has been successful against the Tigers as of late, winning the last four games, including last year's matchup on the road, 66-48.
Spectator parking is located in the following areas:
- All E-lots surrounding Memorial Coliseum beginning 3 hours prior to tip-off
- Parking Structure #5 (adjacent to Kennedy's Bookstore).
- Lexington Authority Transit Center Parking Garage (new for the 2012-13 season).
- The Lexington Parking Authority Transit Center Parking Garage, located between High Street and Vine Street, is available for parking after 5 p.m. ET during the week and all day on the weekends. Additionally, a free shuttle service will pick up in the LR Cooke Lot near the corner of High Street and Martin Luther King beginning 1.5 hours prior to tip.
- Handicap parking is available in the E-Lot (Employee Lot) north of the Craft Center, adjacent to the metered spaces running along the frontage of the Craft Center with a valid, state issued handicap tag. These spaces (typically 20-30 stalls) are available on a first-come, first-serve basis until full.
Please note: parking is prohibited in any R (Residential) lots. Vehicles parking 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. Also, due to new dorm construction, the Good Samaritan hospital employee parking lot is no longer available for use.
- Shuttles are available beginning 1.5 hours prior to tip off from Parking Structure # 5 located off Limestone and Upper Street and the Transit Center Parking Garage located off High Street and Vine Street.
- Parking Structure # 5 (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.
- Transit Center Parking Garage (green route) picks up/drops off near the corner of High Street and Martin Luther King.
- Shuttles will start back up 1.5 hours after tip-off (to return guests to their parking areas).
Game day Information:
- Doors to the 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 event lots (i.e. Student Center, Joe Craft Center North and LR Cooke lot) typically reach capacity approximately 45 minutes prior to tip-off, at which point, vehicles should proceed to Parking Structure #5 (PS#5) or the Lexington Authority Transit Center Parking Garage.
For more information on parking around Memorial Coliseum and other game-day questions visit www.ukathletics.com/wbbgameday
Media Opportunity - Jan. 18, 2013
Opening statement …
"Big game coming up on Sunday, really good team coming in. Auburn has a lot of weapons offensively. They play really hard on defense, they full-court press which offers some challenges maybe we haven't had in past games recently, a lot of great firepower, a lot of great athletes who are hustling right now and it will be a tough game. We will have to be really sharp, really focused, really aggressive here in practice over the next couple of days."
On performing well after a large margin of victory in the prior game …
"Anytime those things are able to happen, I think it goes back to a daily commitment all throughout the year of trying to understand what their responsibilities are. You hear coaches all the time talk about 'next game' and 'one game at a time' and people get bored with that, but essentially, that's life. You know, you have a series of responsibilities that you have to take care of. We don't try to do that just during the season, we are trying to do those year round so those become habits, so any success that we have in that area is because people commit to trying to be responsible on a day-to-day basis. So, you can say 'I think we took care of that responsibility last night and you did it in a magnificent fashion,' but we have always tried to remind them Thursday night has nothing to do with Sunday. We have had enough humbling experiences that if you ever think that you are just showing up and do what we do because you are going to talk about it, we have been knocked down enough times that I do think our veterans in the program understand, and our new kids in the program right now understand that you have to sort of saddle up and ride each and every game and this will be a real big challenge for us."
On what challenges Auburn presents …
"They just have some good players. They have some really talented athletes on the wing. Hasina Muhammad and Tyrese Tanner are big-time athletes on the wing for them. They have one of the best 3-point shooters in the league in Blanche Alverson. I am really impressed with their post game this year. They have two powerful posts, a good point guard, so they just have a good mix of players and they are playing hard. They are turning people over, speeding the game up, getting people out of rhythm, disrupting people, so it's a fun team to watch, I'm sure for Auburn fans. It's a tough team to prepare for if you're sitting in my seat."
On how his team is playing at this point in time …
"They are playing so hard right now and the best word I have to describe them is just a bunch of talented kids, but they are really hustling right now. They are really hustling. They are coming in each and every day and I am not having to yell and scream and fight them to try and get them to bring that kind of intensity and that kind of effort level, so right now you can't rest for your laurels. You can't rest, but they are playing well right now because I think they are playing so well."
On Bria Goss taking on a new role in 2012-13 …
"I think her value for our team is off the charts. One is she is our single-best examples of coachability. The thing that is so interesting about Bria is that she makes a ton of mistakes. There are a lot of times where the coaches are on her and pulling those out, and the way she is handling that is a great example for the rest of our team and that is sort of an intangible thing that she brings. She is just one of the most coachable people I have been around and it speaks to her desire to really be good. She is also very selfless and wants the team to win. I don't get any impression of her other than she wants us to be a championship team and she starts our defense against every opponent, no matter who they have, she is the person that gets it all started for us and we identify ourselves with tenacious defense. She is the most tenacious right now and so her role is invaluable, her contributions are invaluable and we wouldn't be close to the team we are now without her. As far as her scoring goes, I think its one real simple thing that she needs to start doing. She is altering too many shots in and around the basket and we are talking to her about it and trying to work her way through it. She missed one last night that she missed. Nobody made her miss it. I just told the coaches this morning, she's going to get that figured out and then her scoring, I think she had double-figures last night, but she has been doing a good job scoring and is very capable. I think her contribution is very important, very valuable and I think she is having a great season."
On if teams are beginning to overlook Bria Goss since she is not scoring as much …
"I don't know if it's so much overlooked. You are just prioritizing where you're going to deploy the troops. She may be down on the list, and that's good for Kentucky because she would be a player if you overlook her, she is going to burn you. We are in a good spot right now with our roster and our players and if you overlook Bria Goss, that probably isn't going to be very good for you."
On the balance in assists on the season …
"I think it speaks to how they feel about each other and how our mentality as a team is right now. I just don't sense that they really care about anything more than winning. I don't think they care a whole lot about who is doing what. You know, you have a kid like DeNesha Stallworth, who I think would have been as happy scoring seven points and 15 rebounds if that's what the game called for. Samarie Walker is getting big-time rebounds and guarding the best post player every time, and I don't think she is real concerned about what her stats look like at the end of the night. Kastine Evans, you know, I just think it speaks to the chemistry they have created. They care a lot about each other, they are in there playing hard for each other and I don't think they are real worried about statistics."
On how hard he looks at coachability in the recruiting process …
"I think you look at it a lot. I think you have to pay attention to things as far as how they interact with their coaches. Somewhere along the line, I heard 90 percent of all communication is non-verbal, and so can get a whole lot from just observing people and you don't have to hear what a lot of people are saying. They spend a lot of time getting to the gym early and sticking around late, so I can watch those interactions and it's not scientific and it's not a guarantee, but I think we can pick up on a lot of those things. We certainly need people that want to be a part of something and not the whole of something. We need people that want to come here and work together and have a certain vision of how things need to be done and it takes everybody to get it done. Being coachable is very big for us."