Feb. 1, 2014
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 13/12 Kentucky women’s basketball team returns to the friendly confines of Memorial Coliseum, where it has compiled a 70-6 mark over the last five seasons, to play host to 14th-ranked Louisiana State for the 28th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day/Girl Scouts Day. The game will be televised live on Fox Sports South with Dave Baker and former Maryland standout Christy Winters Scott calling the action. It also will be broadcast live on ESPN3 and the UK IMG Sports Radio Network with Neil Price. Fans can follow Twitter updates on @UKHoopCats.
In conjunction with National Girls and Women in Sports Day/Girl Scouts Day, UK has several festivities taking place surrounding Sunday’s game.
- Student-athletes from UK’s women’s golf, women’s soccer, swimming/diving and volleyball teams will sign autographs prior to the game on the east concourse in Memorial. Doors will open at 11 a.m. ET.
- The Girl Scouts of Kentucky will celebrate National Girl Scout Cookie Day by selling cookies near the marketing gazebo on the west concourse in Memorial. Cookies are $3.50 per box with cash or check only.
- UK will honor Pat Deacon, a former UK alumna and long-time athletics administrator, coach and professor at Transylvania University in Lexington, Ky., by giving her the seventh annual Sue Feamster Trailblazer Award.
- Several UK alumni will be in attendance to take part in UK Alumni Association Day.
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.
Kentucky (16-5, 4-4 Southeastern Conference) looks to get back on the winning track after falling in a heartbreaker at Georgia on Thursday, 58-56. The Wildcats shot a season-low 30.2 percent from the field (16-of-53), including just 29.2 percent (7-of-24) in the decisive second half. Senior forward Samarie Walker (West Carrollton, Ohio) was the only player in double digits with 10 points. Senior Kastine Evans (Salem, Conn.) followed with nine points.
“We have a big challenge ahead of us on Sunday,” UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell said. “LSU is one of the better teams in the country and certainly one of the better teams in our conference. They have a lot of talented players and are well-coached. They’ll be a tough opponent, so we’ll have to practice really hard this afternoon and try to practice well the next couple days and see if we can get a win on Sunday afternoon.”
The Lady Tigers have won their last three conference matchups and enter Sunday’s game at 17-4 overall, 6-2 in SEC play after a 65-56 win over Mississippi State on Thursday in Baton Rouge, La.. LSU also has league wins over Tennessee (80-77), Florida (82-68), Missouri (87-68), Auburn (71-60) and Ole Miss (66-56).
Senior All-SEC forward Theresa Plaisance leads the Lady Tigers in scoring and rebounding at 14.4 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. Senior guard Jeanne Kenney and freshman guard Raigyne Moncrief round out the double-figure scorers for LSU with 11.1 and 11.0 points per game, respectively. Kenney leads the team in assists at 3.8 per game and ranks second in the SEC in 3-point percentage (.422).
Four Wildcats are averaging in double digits this season for Kentucky, led by junior point guard Jennifer O’Neill (Bronx, N.Y.). She is putting up 12.1 points per game, while senior forwards DeNesha Stallworth (Richmond, Calif.) and Samarie Walker (West Carrollton, Ohio) follow with 11.0 and 10.5 points per game, respectively. Evans adds 10.1 points per game.
Walker ranks second overall in SEC rebounding with 9.1 rebounds per game, and ranks third in SEC games only with 8.8 boards per game.
Junior guard Bria Goss, who averages 9.8 points per game, ranks sixth nationally and leads the SEC in free-throw shooting percentage, hitting 92.1 percent clip (58-of-63). She has hit 17 consecutive free throws spanning seven games.
LSU leads the all-time series with Kentucky 31-11, including an 11-6 advantage when the game is played in Lexington. UK has won the last two matchups over the Lady Tigers in Memorial Coliseum, including last year’s game on Jan. 27, 2013, 73-60.
Six of the last nine matchups have been decided by 10 points or less. UK went 3-3 in those games.
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 11 a.m. ET on Sunday.
Changes to parking are highlighted in yellow:
- 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 31, 2014
“We have a big challenge ahead of us on Sunday. LSU is one of the better teams in the country and certainly one of the better teams in our conference. They have a lot of talented players and are well-coached. They’ll be a tough opponent, so we’ll have to practice really hard this afternoon and try to practice well the next couple days and see if we can get a win on Sunday afternoon.”
On Bernisha Pinkett’s status…
“Bernisha had an episode in practice on Wednesday evening before we left for Georgia. She went into the hospital for several hours Wednesday night and got checked out and was doing better yesterday morning. We are waiting for her to get checked out today and we’ll see where she is. Until the doctors clear her for action, she’ll be day-to-day, but we think she can bounce back from it and get back going.”
On if he has a better idea of what areas the team is struggling in after last night’s setback…
“I think when we’re really successful we have all of our players playing pretty consistently, pretty consistent effort-wise. Right now we’re just way too inconsistent. We had some players play well last night, played hard, but it was hard to get five on the floor that were all playing together. That’s no one’s fault but mine. I have to find a way to get that consistency going. For the players it just has to mean something to you to go in and take care of your individual responsibility and how that plays into all of our success. It is a really fine line between playing your heart out for each other and being sort of a half step behind on four or five possessions in a game and these games that are so close, they end up making a big difference. Unless we can find a way to really, really be humble here and take full responsibility for how important it is for each individual to show up and be very consistent throughout the game effort-wise, we’ll struggle. I really feel a great responsibility, it’s my job to get that through to the team and see if we can get to playing more consistent basketball because I think more people now are kind of saying we’re in a tough spot and I just want it to be over and I’m just hoping that it ends and not understanding that we’re fully participating in this. The reason we lost last night was because Georgia made more plays than we did and it’s well within our control to make plays and we just have to find a way to get that done.”
On if there are things that can be done to get back on track…
“I think it’s me waking up every day looking at the practice film, looking at the game film and just exhausting every avenue that I have available to me. It’s just a tough one to solve right now, but we have to solve it and we can. One thing that we do know is that we have the talent to get it done. We just have to stay with it, but we’ll just continue doing some of those things. You just can’t say none of that is having any effect. There are things we can do better that I think are correctable from last night. We shot the ball 30 percent on the road, got outrebounded by seven, lost by two, so you just can’t let that get to a spot where all is lost. You have to really stay emotionally strong here and look at the facts and deal with the facts and get it back going. The time for discouragement does not exist. We don’t have time for it; we just have to stay with it and have a good plan at practice today and deal with what you can deal with. That’s today’s practice and understanding what needs to happen for us to be successful today.”
On if the biggest problem is on offense or defense ...
"It is the lack of responsibility that we are taking and sometimes it manifests itself on the offense and sometimes on defense. It is just one game we will have a player and the next game we won't have a player. One possession we will have a player and then the next possession she will take it off. That is where I see the biggest problem right now is just the lack of consistency, like I said earlier."
On if the personalities of this year's team match his style of play ...
"We don’t right now but they have at times this year. I just don’t know that it is really about personalities. I think it is about individuals and let me say this, I think that everybody is kind of dealing with it differently. Some people tighten up and don’t perform and some people blow it off because they don’t want to step into the spotlight and perform and they want somebody else to do it. It is all those different things going on with 13 different people and personalities you can just get consumed with personalities and spend all day trying to figure out everyone's personalities. What you have to do right now is somehow as a coach I have to find some way to get them to play really hard for each other and for Kentucky and I am struggling with that right now but you just have to keep moving forward and trying everything and exhausting every possibility. There is a funny thing about confidence, I can't give you confidence you have to get that through accomplishment. Today we will need to go out there and work hard on why we are not shooting the ball well, why we are not making layups, why we are missing shots and what can we control? We can control footwork. We can control balance. We can control those kinds of things and give them an opportunity to work on them. Then if they make a few shots we are off and running. Shooting really makes up for a lot of mistakes you are making. We are not shooting the ball well so everything is getting magnified."
On the problems with transition offense and defense …
“I think one thing that you saw last night was that transition a lot of time was that we made a half-hearted effort to go to the boards, and then you’re standing around so you’re not going to the boards and you’re not getting back. We got burned a couple of times on that and you eliminate good transition opportunities when you aren’t a good rebounding team. We certainly aren’t rebounding, or we didn’t last night up to our capabilities. We just didn’t go to the boards and that’s disappointing. In offensive transition, we’ve been terrific at times this year and right now it’s just a lack of focus on little bitty things and then the competition is just running back real hard, doing a good job of getting around the bucket and we’re not making real good decisions there.”
On what they will work on in practice today …
“I think that our timing on offense against a packed zone is something that we can improve on. Post players flashing when they’re supposed to be flashing, guards having patience and waiting for the flash and different things like that. That’s one big thing we’ll work on today.”
On encouraging signs from the Georgia game …
“You’re down nine and you’re able to get it back and you’re able to have a chance to win the game. I thought Janee Thompson really played hard last night and did a good job. I was encouraged about the way that she played. I think DeNesha Stallworth is getting a lot better and she is a lot closer than where she was a week ago. If she can keep going, I think that’ll really help our team.”
On playing a tough schedule down the stretch and not playing your best …
“I have to try and not worry, because worrying gets you into a negative thought. It is worrisome and you really have to be strong as a leader and not let it get to that spot. I have to just stay focused on Sunday. I know it’s so boring and I wish I could just lay out and tell you how worried I was and I just felt so terrible for myself and tell you about how everything is just going terrible for me and how I feel terrible and how I’m doing an awful job and I just want to cry. That would maybe be fun for everybody to see, but there is no way we can go have a good practice today if I’m in that spot. So, I can’t worry. Worry is a very negative spot to be in. I have to stay emotionally tough here and look at the facts and don’t get real emotional about it and say ‘Hey, these are the things that are going to help us play better on Sunday.’ That’s where I need to be.”
On the challenges LSU presents …
“They look really good. It’s a challenge. It’s a big challenge, but it’s also a great opportunity. If you can go and get your mind in the right frame and you can get to the right spot, it’s really a great, great opportunity because you know if you can climb this hill and you can get this done that you’ve done a good job and that’s what this team needs to do. They just need to play well, do a good job. They know that they can do it. They know that they’re talented enough, so it’s really such a fantastic opportunity. It’s really the best thing that can happen because at some point, you’re going to have to step out into that spotlight and play, and stop worrying about ‘I’m going to miss this shot, or we’re not going to win’ or all of that. There is no better opponent than LSU because they will put a lot is stress on us to score. It’s a great opportunity for us on Sunday.”