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No. 10 UK Hoops Plays Host to No. 8 Tennessee on Senior Day




March 2, 2013

LEXINGTON, Ky. –  After a playing its last three games on the road, the 10th-ranked Kentucky women's basketball team returns to the friendly confines of Memorial Coliseum on Sunday, March 3 for its final regular season game of the season vs. No. 8 Tennessee. The game will be televised live on ESPNU and WatchESPN. It also will be carried on the UK IMG Sports Radio Network with Neil Price.

Gameday
Kentucky vs. Tennessee
Sun., Mar. 3 - 3:30 p.m. ET
Memorial Coliseum
Fan Guide
Game Notes: UK Get Acrobat Reader | UT Get Acrobat Reader
Coverage
Gameday Live: Live audio, blog, and stats
Radio: UK IMG
Live Video via WatchESPN
Twitter
Text Updates

Fans can follow the UK Hoops team on Twitter at @UKHoopCats and use #UKHoops to comment on the game.

Tickets are sold out. However, a limited number of tickets will be held for UK students, faculty and staff on game day. Tickets can be picked up at the Joe Craft Center ticket office beginning at 2:30 p.m. EST on March 3. UK students will be offered one free ticket for themselves, while faculty and staff will receive a ticket for themselves and one for a guest, while supplies last. UK students must present their valid UK Student ID and faculty and staff must present their UK Employee identification card in order to receive tickets.

UK will honor seniors A'dia Mathies (Louisville, Ky.) and Brittany Henderson (Pasadena, Calif.) in a special pregame "Senior Day" ceremony approximately 20 minutes before game time. The duo make up the winningest senior class in UK Hoops history, having totaled a remarkable 105-28 overall record, including a 63-3 mark at home (includes two games in Rupp Arena).

"We want to thank our fans for making this a sell out for senior day," UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell said. "It's obviously an extremely important game for us. We will work hard to prepare and try to end the regular season with a big win here at home.

"There are a lot of things at stake here but none more important to me than just trying to get A'dia (Mathies) and Brittany (Henderson) out of here only losing three times during their career instead of four," Mitchell said. "Either way it's going to be a really remarkable run that those two kids have had during their four years at Kentucky. We tried to place a big emphasis on protecting the home court during their career and it's been pretty remarkable. Two undefeated seasons and possibly, if we can find a way on Sunday too, one loss season there or losing three I guess during their career would be pretty special. That's to me the biggest thing and I don't know how we could find a better place to motivate ourselves than trying to get that done."

It also could be a special day for Mitchell has he needs just one win to become UK's all-time winningest coach in just six seasons. He currently has 138 wins which ties Terry Hall's record of 138 wins set from 1980-87. His winning percentage of 69.7 percent (138-60) already ranks first.

"We have so much basketball left to play," Mitchell said. "I'm really trying to focus on how we can get our team playing at a level that can compete and do well here in the Southeastern Conference tournament and NCAA Tournament and I think there will be plenty of time to reflect on it after the season but I've said many times I'm very grateful to be coaching here at Kentucky. I'm very grateful of the opportunity that President Lee Todd and Mitch Barnhart gave me and President (Eli) Capilouto continues to give me to be a part of Kentucky. It's the most special place in the world to coach basketball and I just feel blessed by God and very fortunate every day to be the coach here. This is a very special place."

With their win over Texas A&M on Thursday, the Lady Vols (23-5) clinched the SEC regular season championship with a 15-1 overall record. A UK win over the Lady Vols on Sunday will guarantee a No. 2 seed for the Wildcats in the SEC Tournament. UK has clinched a first-round bye. It would also mark UK's fifth win over a ranked opponent this season, including third over a top-10 team.

"It's a very important game, no conference championship is on the line but you win this game, I would have to think we would be the top rated team in the conference with the RPI and the polls, and those things I think play some type of role in the NCAA Tournament selection and where you are seeded so a lot is riding on the game still," Mitchell said.

Overall this season, Mathies leads UK (24-4, 12-3 SEC) and ranks second in the league (conference games only) in scoring, averaging 18.3 points per game. The preseason SEC Player of the Year currently ranks in the top 15 of six SEC statistical categories, including second in scoring (18.3) and 3-point field goal percentage (.443), and third in 3-point field goals made (2.3). She also ranks in the top 10 of 13 career lists at UK, including No. 2 in scoring and No. 3 in steals. Mathies is the first player in UK history (men or women) to accumulate over 1,800 points, 500 rebounds, 300 assists and 250 steals in her career. She need just one more steal to become the third player in school history with 300 or more and 10 more to tie the UK steals record of 309 set by Stacey Reed (1991-95).

Tennessee is led by junior guard Meighan Simmons who averages a league-high 17.8 points per game, including 19.4 ppg in conference play. UT's leading rebounder is freshman forward/center Bashaara Graves with 8.6 rpg.

Holly Warlick is in her first season as head coach at Tennessee after serving 27 seasons as an assistant under Hall of Famer and UT head coach emeritus Pat Summitt.

Sunday will mark the 58th meeting between the teams, the 28th in Lexington. The Lady Vols lead the overall series 49-8, including a 21-6 advantage in Lexington. UK won last year's meeting in Memorial Coliseum, 61-60, on a thrilling game-winning shot by Mathies with 4.4 seconds on the clock.

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 2:30 p.m. EST on March 3.

  • 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.
  • Lexington Authority Transit Center Parking Garage.
    • 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.

Shuttle Information:

  • 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).

For more information on parking around Memorial Coliseum and other game-day questions visit www.ukathletics.com/wbbgameday.

Media Opportunity - Mar. 1, 2013

Head coach Matthew Mitchell

Opening Statement…
"We want to thank our fans for making this a sell out for senior day. It's obviously an extremely important game for us. We will work hard to prepare and try to end the regular season with a big win here at home."

On the significance of playing Tennessee…
"It's very important for our team and for me, as their coach, to try to prepare well. There are a lot of things at stake here but none more important to me than just trying to get A'dia (Mathies) and Brittany (Henderson) out of here only losing three times during their career instead of four. Either way it's going to be a really remarkable run that those two kids have had during their four years at Kentucky. We tried to place a big emphasis on protecting the home court during their career and it's been pretty remarkable. Two undefeated seasons and possibly, if we can find a way on Sunday too, one loss season there or losing three I guess during their career would be pretty special. That's to me the biggest thing and I don't know how we could find a better place to motivate ourselves than trying to get that done."

On tying the school record for wins as a coach…
"We have so much basketball left to play. I'm really trying to focus on how we can get our team playing at a level that can compete and do well here in the SEC tournament and NCAA Tournament and I think there will be plenty of time to reflect on it after the season but I've said many times I'm very grateful to be coaching here at Kentucky. I'm very grateful of the opportunity that President Lee Todd and Mitch Barnhart gave me and President (Eli) Capilouto continues to give me to be a part of Kentucky. It's the most special place in the world to coach basketball and I just feel blessed by God and very fortunate every day to be the coach here. This is a very special place."

On the emotions the game will have even though the conference title is not on the line…
"It's a very important game, no conference championship is on the line but you win this game, I would have to think we would be the top rated team in the conference with the RPI and the polls and those things I think play some type of role in the NCAA Tournament selection and where you are seeded so a lot is riding on the game still. Nothing more important to me than just giving our fans who have bought every ticket that could be bought out there for this game, a great, great victory for them to enjoy and also to send A'dia and Brittany off with a win. That to me is the most important about Sunday afternoon."

On whether this game is a good barometer for measuring the team going into the postseason…
"Surely it'll give you some information on where you are. I think our tournament is a little bit different. There's a lot of time between now and our NCAA Tournament and so, you could play well Sunday and if you don't do what you need to do, not play well in the NCAA Tournament. If it were closer to the tournament it might be more of a barometer than what it actually will be on Sunday."

On how good A'dia Mathies is compared to anyone he's coached before…
"She is the smartest basketball player I've ever been around and that I've ever had the chance to coach. I certainly haven't been around anybody that's been more meaningful to a program than she has here at Kentucky. She's really helped us get to a different spot than where we were when she entered the program so it's really been a great, great experience and I hope we have a lot more games to watch her play in a Kentucky uniform but when it's all over, she will absolutely go down as one of the greats to ever play here."

On what is the biggest concern for Kentucky with Tennessee's team…
"They're just really dynamic offensively. It's impressive. Meighan Simmons is so fast with the basketball. She is one of the best players in transition in the country and she's very difficult to guard there. And then, what I've seen, they have tremendous senior leadership that seems to be having their offense operating at a very high level and a pretty cohesive unit there offensively. So, they can really score a bunch of points. They're really, really explosive offensively and just trying to find a way to see if we can slow them down on the offensive end of the court is, to me, the biggest challenge we have facing going into the game."


 

 

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