UK Hoops Prepares for Michigan State
ROSEMONT, Ill. – Coming off a 69-59 win over Chattanooga in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, the fifth-seeded Kentucky women’s basketball team is set to face fourth-seeded and No. 16/17 Michigan State on Monday. Tip-off for the second-round match-up in Allstate Arena is set for 7 p.m. EST, and the game will be carried live on ESPN2 and aired on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio) with Neil Price.
UK (22-8) has its best record since the 1989-90 squad went 23-8 and captured the postseason WNIT. The Cats are 0-1 in second round games, losing at UCLA in 1999. In 1982, UK’s first round win advanced the Wildcats to the regional semifinals as the 32-team field had no second round games. UK’s last appearance in the Sweet 16 came in 1982.
“Michigan State has great size and a great perimeter game as well,” UK Coach Mickie DeMoss said. “They play a very good match-up zone defense. It’s going to be a challenge, but that’s why we play in the NCAA Tournament. When you get to this point, it gets tougher as the road goes on.”
This is just the fourth all-time meeting between Kentucky and Michigan State (23-9) and the first meeting in the NCAA Tournament. The Spartans hold a slight 2-1 edge in the series and have won two in a row against the Cats. The last meeting between the teams was Nov. 25, 1997 in East Lansing, Mich. UK’s only win over MSU, 89-72, came on Dec. 8, 1989.
UK is 28-33 vs. teams from MSU’s Big Ten Conference. UK has not met a Big Ten opponent since defeating Northwestern on Dec. 1, 2004.
In the Wildcats’ win over Chattanooga, sophomore center Sarah Elliott (McKee, Ky.) notched her fourth career double-double with a season-high 22 points, including 16 in the first half, to complement 11 rebounds. UK’s leading scorer Samantha Mahoney (Detroit) added 14 points, while senior forward/center Jennifer Humphrey (Memphis) scored 11.
In the last four games, Elliott is averaging a team-high 18.0 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. She has scored in double figures in four consecutive games and has scored 20 or more points in three of UK’s last four games.
On the boards, Kentucky is paced by Humphrey, who averages 8.7 rebounds per game (fourth in the SEC). Humphrey’s rebounding average is the best average by a Wildcat since Kim Denkins (1995-96) pulled down 9.0 rpg. Sophomore forward/center Eleia Roddy (Columbus, Ohio) is second on the team with 6.6 rpg.
Michigan State defeated UW-Milwaukee 65-46 on Saturday led by senior forward Liz Shimek's 27 points. Shimek leads the team in scoring, averaging 18.1 ppg. Lindsay Bowden follows with 12.6 ppg. Shimek also leads the team on the boards with 8.3 rpg.