Jan. 24, 2014
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 9/8 Kentucky women’s basketball team looks to get back to its winning ways when it plays host to Arkansas Sunday, Jan. 26 at 1 p.m. EST in Memorial Coliseum for Alumni Day. The game will be televised live on Fox Sports South with Dave Baker and Mark Wise calling the action. It also will be broadcast live on the UK IMG Sports Radio Network with Neil Price. Fans can follow Twitter updates on @UKHoopCats.
UK is participating in “We Back Pat” Week, the week-long initiative focused on bringing awareness and recognition to The Pat Summitt Foundation, a fund of East Tennessee Foundation, and its fight against Alzheimer’s disease. Head coach Matthew Mitchell and his wife Jenna, in conjunction with their Mitchell Family Foundation, will donate $2 to the Pat Summitt Foundation for every fan who attends Sunday’s game. The players will don “We Back Pat” shooting shirts and the UK Hoops coach staff will wear purple to represent the fight against Alzheimer’s.
Along with “We Back Pat” week, the Wildcats welcome back over 45 former Wildcats and their families to campus this weekend. The UK Hoops alumni will be recognized at halftime of Sunday’s 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 students, faculty, staff and children ages five and under are admitted free in the general admission seating area, while supplies last.
The Wildcats (15-4, 3-3 Southeastern Conference) are coming off a tough 57-55 loss to Alabama on Thursday in Memorial. UK netted a season-low 55 points, snapping a six-game winning streak vs. the Tide in Lexington.
“We have a real tough task ahead of us today to try to get to practice and make sure that we can have some competitiveness to us that we did not have last night and I think that was really the cause of the defeat,” Mitchell said. “We just did not compete to win as hard as Alabama did. The person who is responsible for the atmosphere of competition in practice is me and I have to be the first person to get that straightened out. We’ll try to get that done today.”
Junior point guard Jennifer O’Neill (Bronx, N.Y.) leads five Wildcats in double-digit scoring with 12.2 points per game. Senior forwards DeNesha Stallworth (Richmond, Calif.) and Samarie Walker (West Carrollton, Ohio) follow with 11.8 and 11.0 ppg, respectively. Senior guard Kastine Evans (Salem, Conn.) and junior guard Bria Goss (Indianapolis) add 10.3 and 10.0 ppg, respectively.
Walker ranks second overall in SEC rebounding with 9.6 rebounds per game and is the leader on the boards in league games only with 10.3 rebounds per game. She ranks third in the SEC in double-doubles with seven, including four in the last six games.
Goss ranks eighth nationally and leads the SEC in free-throw shooting percentage, hitting 91.5 percent clip (54-of-59). She has currently hit 13 consecutive free throws, spanning five games.
The Razorbacks enter Sunday’s game after a bye week. They are 15-4 on the season, 2-4 in SEC play. Arkansas’ two SEC wins came over Missouri (69-66) and Ole Miss (68-65).
Arkansas leads the SEC in scoring defense (49.4) and assist/turnover ratio (1.3) and ranks second in scoring margin (+22.0) and 3-point FG made per game (6.4).
Freshman forward Jessica Jackson leads the Razorbacks in scoring and rebounding at 16.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. Senior forward Keira Peak and freshman guard McKenzie Adams average 10.4 and 10.2 points per game, respectively. Junior point guard Calli Berna leads the SEC in assists (7.7) and assist/turnover ratio (3.7).
Head coach Tom Collen is in his 15th season overall, his seventh at Arkansas after stops at Colorado State and Louisville.
The Wildcats lead the overall series with Arkansas 17-13, including an 11-3 advantage when the game is played in Lexington. UK has won three in a row vs. the Razorbacks, including last year’s matchup in Fayetteville, 80-74 in overtime. The Cats have also won six in a row vs. the Razorbacks in Lexington (the 2007 game was in Rupp Arena). UK’s last loss came on Feb. 13, 2003, 70-60.
Please note that fans arriving approximately 1 hour or less before tip-off are highly encouraged to park at the Transit Center Parking Garage (see shuttle info below) or Parking Structure #5 next to Kennedy’s bookstore. Both are a 5-10 minute walk or a short shuttle ride over to the Coliseum. All surface lots near the Coliseum will likely be full one hour prior to tip-off and you will be re-directed to one of these options. Doors to Memorial Coliseum will open at Noon ET on Sunday.
- All E-lots (Employee Lots) surrounding Memorial Coliseum beginning 3 hours prior to tip-off
- Parking Structure #5 (adjacent to Kennedy’s Bookstore) –access from Limestone or Upper Street beginning 1.5 hours prior to tip. No vouchers or coupons are necessary for free parking unless otherwise noted.
- Lexington Authority Transit Center Parking Garage, located between High Street and Vine Street, is available for all remaining games. If parking in this garage, bring the yellow token and game ticket to the Guest Service table at the Lexington Ave entrance to request a free parking coupon.
- 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. Game day shuttles are also handicap accessible should these spaces fill before game time.
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.
- 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. This shuttle will drop off at the front of Memorial Coliseum.
- Transit Center Parking Garage (green route) picks up/drops off near the corner of High Street and Martin Luther King. This shuttle will drop off at the Lexington Ave entrance near the ticket office.
- Shuttles will start back up at halftime (to return guests to their parking areas) and end 1 hour post-game.
For more information on parking around Memorial Coliseum and other game-day questions visit www.ukathletics.com/wbbgameday.
Media Opportunity - January 24, 2014
“Well, we have a real tough task ahead of us today to try to get to practice and make sure that we can have some competitiveness to us that we did not have last night and I think that was really the cause of the defeat. We just did not compete to win as hard as Alabama did. The person who is responsible for the atmosphere of competition in practice is me and I have to be the first person to get that straightened out. We’ll try to get that done today.”
On what signs he will look for with the team today in practice…
“We won’t look for any look in their eye today. We’ll look for competitiveness in practice today and they’ll have to compete or they won’t have a good day. Everything will be competitive-based in practice and we’ll figure out who we can take the floor with on Sunday afternoon. Between now and Sunday afternoon it is all about who is going to compete and who is going to work hard and who is going to play really, really hard for Kentucky. Hopefully, it’s everybody. That’s the first thing we have to get straightened out.”
On if he saw last night’s result coming…
“Well, we’ve been struggling a little bit with some execution. I was surprised with just the complete lack of effort and competitiveness last night and it was just all across the board. It just can’t happen. Clearly there’s an atmosphere that exists now that people think that’s acceptable and that’s 100 percent on me. The No. 1 thing we have to get right today is competing and everything else will flow from there, but you couldn’t really even tell what things we need to work on because there was no competitiveness in our team whatsoever last night. There are just so many times in a two-point ball game where you can just go back and look at the film, if you had just competed a little bit you probably could have won the game no matter how bad your shooting woes are or anything like that. It’s all about competition today.”
On Arkansas ...
"Well, they have really, really great ball-screen offense and they put a lot of pressure and stress on your defense. They have some tough, aggressive players. They have a point guard in (Calli) Berna, who I think is one of the better ones in our league. She does a great job keeping her dribble alive. She has great size and is able to really make a lot of plays and set a lot of people up. And then their freshman (Jessica Jackson) is playing as well as any freshman in the league and really shooting the ball well and doing a good job. They are always a tough matchup for us. Quite frankly, we can't worry about Arkansas this afternoon. We have to 100 percent try to see who is going to have a chance to play against Arkansas and that will be all about competing in practice this afternoon."
On what the staff did last night after the game ...
"For me, I am glad that we have won a lot around here because I don’t sleep at all on a performance like last night's. You know, we met for a long time last night as a staff and got out of here probably around 11:30 or so and then I tried to get to the house and kind of turn it off if I could, but I was up most of the night and watching the film and that makes you even more upset just with the lack of competiveness that we had. Back up early this morning just trying to see what we could narrow our focus to in practice today and it is really pretty simple for us. If we can find a few players that will really, really compete hard I think a lot of things will flow from that. Until we get that straightened out, you can have all the talent in the world, if you don’t play hard and don’t compete and it doesn't mean something to you to win then I don’t know who you are going to beat. That is 100 percent on my shoulders to make sure that the atmosphere is not where they think something like last night is acceptable. You credit Alabama because they competed and the longer the game went and the longer they were in the game you could just see their confidence build. Hats off to them, I am not trying to take anything away from Alabama. They deserve to win that game hands down. I don’t think teams will win games against us if we will just go out with a great zeal for competition and a great love for our opportunity to be here at Kentucky and we are going to find out who is excited about that this afternoon."