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UK Hoops Faces Delaware State in Season Opener

Senior A'dia Mathies was selected as the preseason SEC Player of the Year.

Senior A'dia Mathies was selected as the preseason SEC Player of the Year.

Nov. 9, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. -No. 6/7 Kentucky women’s basketball opens its 39th season of varsity women’s basketball on Saturday, Nov. 10 when the Wildcats play host to first-time opponent Delaware State at 1 p.m. ET in Memorial Coliseum.

Gameday
Kentucky vs. Delaware St.
Sat., Nov. 10 - 1:00 p.m. ET
Lexington, Ky.
Gameday Information
Game Notes: UK Get Acrobat Reader | DSU Get Acrobat Reader
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Gameday Live: Live audio, blog, and stats
Radio: UK IMG
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Single-game reserved tickets are available at a 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. Children ages five and under are admitted free in the general admission seating area.

Season tickets are also still available for $65. Lower-level chair back seating ($80) is sold out.

The game can be heard live on the UK IMG Sports Radio Network with Neil Price calling the action for the eighth consecutive season. Fans can follow the UK Hoops team on Twitter at @UKHoopCats and use #UKHoops to comment on the game. A live video stream is available on the subscription video portion of www.UKathletics.com.

“We are tipping off in Memorial Coliseum tomorrow and we are looking forward to it,” UK Coach Matthew Mitchell said. “We would like to encourage everyone to come out and watch us play. I believe we have a great year ahead. I think you can look at this team to play with a great attitude, great effort and energy. Delaware State is not a team that we know too much about, because they have a new head coach. But we plan on coming out strong tomorrow and hopefully come away with a victory.”

Delaware State, located in Dover, Del., is led by first-year head coach Tamika Louis. She was hired in May of 2012 after spending last season as an assistant coach at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Overall, she has spent 14 years coaching and recruiting at the NCAA Division I, junior college and high school levels.

The Hornets were picked to finish 11th in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and redshirt sophomore Tierra Hawkins was selected to the MEAC Preseason All-First Team. DSU returns all five starters from a squad that finished 7-23 overall, 4-12 in the MEAC last season.

UK returns 10 letter winners and four starters from a team that went 28-7 overall last season, including a school-record 13 Southeastern Conference victories. The Wildcats advanced to their third consecutive NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history, including their second Elite Eight in the last three seasons.

The Wildcats’ roster is highlighted by the preseason SEC Player of the Year pick in senior guard A’dia Mathies (Louisville, Ky.). Also returning is the 2012 SEC Freshman of the Year Bria Goss (Indianapolis) and preseason All-SEC second-team selection Samarie Walker (West Carrollton, Ohio). Redshirt sophomore Jennifer O’Neill (Bronx, N.Y.), who sat out the 2011-12 season due to injury, and DeNesha Stallworth (Richmond, Calif.), an All-Pac-10 selection who sat out last season due to transfer regulations, also will be available this season. New faces to the roster are sophomore junior college transfer Jelleah Sidney (Queens Village, N.Y.) and freshman McDonald’s All-American Janee Thompson (Chicago).

Saturday will mark the season opener for both teams and UK’s first meeting against Delaware State. The Wildcats are 7-0 all-time vs. teams from the current alignment of the MEAC. The Cats are 34-4 all-time in home openers and have won three in a row.

The Cats own a 357-140 (71.8) mark in Memorial Coliseum, including a 67-12 (84.8) record under Coach Matthew Mitchell. The Cats are 48-2 at home over the last three seasons (including one game in Rupp Arena). UK’s current 20-game home winning streak is the third-longest winning streak in school history and ranks tied for fourth nationally. The Wildcats have won 31-consecutive nonconference games at home, dating back to Dec. 19, 2008.

Due to construction around Memorial Coliseum, UK Hoops is providing two free shuttle services. Below is the updated information on where to park for the upcoming home season.

Spectator parking is located in the following areas:

  • All E-lots surrounding Memorial Coliseum beginning 3 hours prior to tip-off
  • Parking Structure #5 (adjacent to Kennedy’s Bookstore).
  • Lexington Authority Transit Center Parking Garage (new for the 2012-13 season).
    • 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).
  • See the attached shuttle map and route information diagrams for additional information.

Game day Information:

  • Doors to the Coliseum will open one (1) hour prior to tip-off.
  • UK Athletics encourages women's basketball fans to arrive early to ease traffic and parking congestion around the Coliseum.
  • Surface event lots (i.e. Student Center, Joe Craft Center North and Good Samaritan Surface Lot) typically reach capacity approximately 45 minutes prior to tip-off, at which point, vehicles should proceed to Parking Structure #5 (PS#5) or the Lexington Authority Transit Center Parking Garage.

Media Opportunity - Nov. 9, 2012

Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

On the game tomorrow afternoon....
“We are tipping off in Memorial Coliseum tomorrow. We are looking forward to it. We would like to encourage everyone to come out and watch us play. I believe we have a great year ahead. I think you can look at this team to play with a great attitude, great effort and energy. Delaware State is not a team that we know too much about, because they have a new head coach. But we plan on coming out strong tomorrow and hopefully come away with a victory.”

On keeping them from looking ahead to the next game vs. Baylor...
“I think it’s important day to day in our program that we live by that all year, that the next day is important. But really today is the most important thing we need to stay focused on.”

On Maegan Conwright’s progress....
“Maegan is doing better. She practiced some yesterday but has yet to finish a full practice. With this being her first ankle injury, now we are just focused on her pain tolerance. She’s braced and taped really well but her injury is something we’re taking day to day. I would love for her to play tomorrow but we just don’t know yet.”

On what he is looking from his post players...
“I really want them to try and play lower. If we can play down in a stance and be more explosive, we’ll have a better chance in the post. We’ve made progress in that area but we still have some players who play too upright. That’s something that DeNesha (Stallworth) has really paid a lot of attention to and Azia (Bishop) as well. Sometimes they have a hard time with that too, only because they are so long and tall, which means they have to work on that a little bit more. But I think that’s something that’s going to be very important to us. We have a great combination of strength and athleticism, and that’s really negated if they don’t play in an athletic stance. I am also looking for a good tempo and being able to run up and down the court. Our post players are very fast individuals and we hope that every time we make the defense run, that the other team doesn’t have the depth that we have. So it is very important for them to stay focused on giving a good effort running the floor and to play a bit lower.”

On the pressure of being undefeated at home like last year....
“There isn’t a lot of carry over and we don’t look back a lot, but we do honor the accomplishments of teams that have come before us. The last three teams have lost two games in three years here and that is a big deal. And the only way you make that a bigger deal is to keep winning. We have seen teams in college basketball that make their home court truly advantageous to them, and that take a lot of time and hard work and people involved. We tried to get the strength and conditioning in the girls this summer because we really want them to take every advantage that they can in Memorial Coliseum and we certainly want them to play well a home tomorrow.”

On preparing for a team you know little about ...
“I think everyone this time of year is pretty much in the same boat. It’s hard to prepare for somebody else when you are just trying to prepare yourself to be the kind of team you want to be. We’re not ever overly concerned with the opponent. We always have a very healthy respect for who we are playing and we try the best we can. I’m sure Delaware State could look at our teams over the last three years and they’d at least have some idea. So you could have some preparation but I think it’s more important for us, at Kentucky, to really focus on ourselves right now, trying to get our defense built that’s not there yet. It needs to get better. Trying to figure out what’s the best way for us to play offensively. All those things take time and it’s hard to shift that time and effort away from your team onto another team. That’s just the nature of the first game. We never feel quite totally prepared for that first game but we need to go in and really focus on the things that we can do well right now and have the patience to continue to work so that we can develop into who I think we can truly become.”

On the rotation and if he thinks he can play a lot of players like the exhibition game ...
“I think that what you do there is you take the body of work from practice over the week so you have an idea of how you’re going to allocate minutes and then (see) how the game goes. What situations are players well equipped for? They get themselves into a position for whatever opportunity comes their way through practice. We’ll see how the game plays out tomorrow.”

On A’dia Mathies’ preseason awards ...
“It’s great recognition for her and it’s great recognition for our program. We’re very, very excited that people consider someone on our team to be one of the best because we’re certainly, as a program, trying to become the best. It’s something that you stop for a minute and make sure you recognize. I’m thrilled for her, and now what would be even cooler than that is if she was on some type of postseason list in that she had actually accomplished something at the end of the season instead of what she had accomplished in previous seasons, why she made the list now. It is great recognition for her, great recognition for all her teammates who have helped her to get to this point. I’m thrilled anytime one of our players is recognized for their excellence on the court.”

On if there was one thing A’dia needed to work on over the summer ...
“Really in all facets of her game she is affective as a basketball player so really there are plenty of areas that you are trying to sharpen your skill level. There was plenty that she could do shooting. There is one thing she can get better in offensive sets, maybe coming off ball screens, that’s something where she can definitely improve and I think if she did could take her game to the next level. Sometimes she’s hesitant to come off that, there is nothing major that you need to retool with her game since she is so effective. Yesterday we met and we were just talking about some real simple things that if you take for granted, they don’t get done. We try to remind her of some of the simple ways that she excelled in the past that really make her a special player because clearly God has laid His hand on her with talent. The things that she does that I haven’t taught her, she is just talented. We just try to help her with her mental game and her emotional game as far as how she handles success, challenges all those things are important. There was not one specific thing that, ‘A’dia you have to get better in this area over the summer.’ It was get your mind sharp, get your heart right, let’s be read to go.”

Jr. - F/C - Samarie Walker

On if it’s difficult to not look past Delaware State...
“Honestly, no. We see it up in our hallway, we have a countdown (to the Baylor game) but it doesn’t mean anything until we get past Saturday.”

On what the team is good at as a team right now...
“I think our defense is pretty good. (Coach Mitchell) might disagree with me but I think we have been playing hard on defense. Also, we’ve been doing well with running our plays, a lot quicker than we did last year. I think we have been a lot more focused in practice.”

On carrying the unbeaten home streak into this season...
“We have this workout called “Protect the House,” and we will start out in the hallway and run up the ramp and we will come in the gym and do 50 double unders, where you have to jump twice to count as one. Then we will run around the whole stadium, up and down the stairs and do double unders again. We did it two or three times over the summer and coach talks about it sometimes and definitely reiterates it a lot.”

So. - G - Bria Goss

On being 18-0 last season at home...
“Nobody likes to lose whether it’s here or on the road, but definitely here with our fan base and how great our fans are to us and how involved they are. We don’t want to let them down.”

On getting on each other in practice...
“It gets pretty competitive in here. One time we all came out here and competed and emotions ran so high that the locker room was quiet and after practice I was almost preaching to the team ‘this is what we need and this is what we have to do and if we can come out and compete against ourselves at the end of the day, only ourselves can beat us.’”

On if she is evolving into a leader...
“Yes, just because it’s my personality. I am a person who will go out here and work hard and won’t say much now but I’m trying to step out of my comfort zone and trying to talk to more people. I think what I want to do and one of my goals is to be more comfortable and tell you ‘hey you can do better than that,’ or ‘hey, let’s get in the gym’ and just be a more vocal leader.”

On if she worked on her shooting in offseason...
“I just shot more shots. I have the mentality of I don’t want to miss another shot again and I think that really got me in the gym and helped me be more confident in myself. I shot a million shots over the summer so I just want to go out here and think it’s just another shot.”


 

 

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