UK Faces No. 2 Tennessee on Super Bowl Sunday
at No. 2 Tennessee Volunteers (19-1, 6-0 SEC)
Sunday, Feb. 3 • 3:00 p.m.
Knoxville, Tenn. - Thompson Bowling Arena (21,678)
TV: UT Basketball Network: C-WKYT (Insight-Lexington Ch. 5)
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Coming off an impressive road win over No. 17/14 Georgia on Thursday, the Kentucky women’s basketball team looks to carry that momentum to Knoxville, Tenn., when the Wildcats take on No. 2 Tennessee Sunday, Feb. 3 at 3 p.m. EST in Thompson-Boling Arena. The Tennessee Basketball Network will televise the game; CWKYT (Insight cable channel 5) will carry the game in Lexington. The game also will be carried live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio) with Neil Price.
Kentucky (11-10, 5-2 Southeastern Conference) has been impressive on the road this season as it owns a 4-2 mark overall and a 3-0 record on the opponent’s home court in conference play. It would prove to be a monumental task to upset the Lady Vols on the road as the Wildcats haven’t done it since 1985 and never in Thompson-Boling Arena. UK’s last win in Knoxville was Jan. 23, 1985 in the Stokely Athletics Center. The Lady Vols have won the last 12 meetings in Thompson-Boling against Kentucky, including an 84-62 decision last season.
“The win at Georgia was an amazing night for our program,” UK Coach Matthew Mitchell said. “Unfortunately, we have to put that game behind us because we have another tough game on the road ahead of us at Tennessee. Obviously we are facing one of the best teams in the country with the best player in the country in Candace Parker. When we played them in Lexington earlier this year I thought we did a lot of great things but we couldn’t find a way to score. Our defense has to be there again Sunday but we also have to get better offensively.”
In the teams’ previous meeting on Jan. 17 in Memorial Coliseum, the Wildcats held a hot-scoring Tennessee squad to just 65 points, its lowest scoring output of the season. UK also outrebounded the Lady Vols 36-28 but couldn’t overcome 25 turnovers and a low 31.4 percent (16-of-51) shooting mark from the field. Tennessee shot 50 percent (27-of-54) and scored 19 points off UK’s miscues.
Leading the way for the Wildcats offensively is senior Samantha Mahoney (Detroit). She lead Kentucky in scoring, averaging 13.7 points per game (8th in the SEC). Senior center Sarah Elliott (McKee, Ky.) follows with 11.0 points and is UK’s leading rebounder with 6.4 rebounds per game. Freshman forward Victoria Dunlap (Nashville, Tenn.) is close behind in the rebounding column with 6.0 rpg.
Tennessee is 19-1, 6-0 in the SEC and riding a nine-game winning streak after defeating Ole Miss on the road Thursday, 68-44. The Lady Vols’ only loss this season came against No. 5 Stanford in overtime, 73-69.
Tennessee leads the SEC in six different statistical categories, including tops in scoring offense (80.2 ppg) and three-point field goal percentage (.389).
Junior forward Candace Parker leads four Lady Vols in double-digit scoring this season. The All-American also leads the SEC and ranks 10th in the country in scoring, averaging 20.5 points per game. She is pulling down a squad-best 8.6 rebounds a game as well. Three other players are averaging 10.0 points or more as senior guard Alexis Hornbuckle has 10.7 ppg, freshman guard/forward Angie Bjorklund scores 10.4 ppg and senior guard Shannon Bobbitt follows closely behind with 10.0 ppg.
Sunday is the 49th meeting between the border rivals, the 20th matchup in Knoxville. UK has met UT more times than any other UK rival. UK trails in the all-time series with Tennessee 42-6, including a 17-2 deficit when playing in Knoxville. UT won the teams’ meeting earlier this year in Lexington, 65-40.
UK has played 15 times on Super Bowl Sunday and owns a 5-10 record, including a 0-1 mark vs. Tennessee.