UK Hoops Ranks in Top 25 of Preseason Magazines
Nov. 4, 2011
LEXINGTON, Ky. – After its second-straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament, the Kentucky women’s basketball team has again earned top-25 preseason rankings by Sporting News Magazine and Athlon Sports Magazine, which were released recently.
The Wildcats, who are coming off a 25-9 record, including a school-record-tying 11 Southeastern Conference victories, are ranked No. 18 by Sporting News and No. 23 by Athlon Sports. Kentucky has advanced to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments for the first time since the 1981-82 and 1982-83 seasons.
One of the main reasons for UK’s success over the last two seasons has been junior guard A'dia Mathies (Louisville, Ky.). The 5-foot-9 guard, who was named a second-team preseason All-America choice by Sporting News, is UK’s top returning scorer and third-leading rebounder from 2010-11, with an average of 12.8 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. After moving to the point guard position out of necessity midway through last season, she also led the team in assists (89) and ranked second in steals (71). Mathies, a second-team All-SEC choice and SEC All-Defensive team member in 2010, was named a first-team All-SEC selection by the media in 2011. She is 74 points away from becoming just the 28th member of UK’s 1,000-point club.
UK head coach Matthew Mitchell welcomes back 10 letter winners, including four starters in Mathies, senior sharp-shooter Keyla Snowden (Lexington, Ky.), All-SEC Freshman team selection Bernisha Pinkett (Washington, D.C.) and junior forward Brittany Henderson (Pasadena, Calif.) Senior point guard Amber Smith (Winter Haven, Fla.) also returns after sitting out last season with a torn ACL in her left knee. Additional returning letter winners are sophomore guard Maegan Conwright (Arlington, Texas), sophomore forward/center Samantha Drake (Bardstown, Ky.), sophomore guard Kastine Evans (Salem, Conn.), sophomore guard Jennifer O’Neill (Bronx, N.Y.), and senior point guard Crystal Riley (Memphis, Tenn.), Adding depth to the front court is sophomore transfer Samarie Walker (West Carrollton, Ohio.), who will be eligible following the 2011 fall semester after transferring from Connecticut.
UK welcomes three incoming freshmen to the squad this year in forward Bra’Shey Ali (Plainfield, N.J.), center Azia Bishop (Toledo, Ohio) and guard Bria Goss (Indianapolis, Ind.), a McDonald’s All-America selection.
The first opportunity to see the 2011-12 UK Hoops team is Sunday, Nov. 6 against Coker College at 2 p.m. ET in Memorial Coliseum. Coker College, located in Hartsville, S.C., is coached by former Wildcat Jenny Pfeiffer (2003-04, 2006-07). Admission to the exhibition game is free.