Wildcats host Lady Vols on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET inside Memorial Coliseum
MATTHEW MITCHELL PRE-TENNESSEE NEWS CONFERENCE: WATCH
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Looking to shake off dropping its Southeastern Conference opener Thursday at No. 4 South Carolina, the No. 13 University of Kentucky women’s basketball team returns to Memorial Coliseum for the first time in nearly a month as it faces No. 22 Tennessee on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET.
Fans are encouraged to take advantage of $3 general admission tickets using the promo code FAMILY at ticketmaster.com. The special $3 ticket price is only valid online and will end at 2 p.m. ET Sunday. Young fans are encouraged to take advantage of the Kid Zone pregame with games, poster making stations, coloring stations and more. Sophomore guard Rhyne Howard is scheduled to sign autographs on the concourse following the game.
The game vs. Tennessee will be broadcast on ESPN2 with Courtney Lyle and Carolyn Peck on the call. The action can also be seen through WatchESPN on computers, smartphones or tablets. Darren Headrick will have the call on the UK Sports Network on 630AM WLAP in Lexington. Live stats and free live audio will be available online at UKathletics.com.
Spectator parking is located in all E-lots surrounding Memorial Coliseum and are off control 3 hours prior to tip. Additionally, the South Limestone Garage (PS#5) and the Rose Street Garage (PS#2) are available 2 hours prior to tip. The Bill Gatton Student Center is available as a pay-to-park option. Availability is based on the Gatton Student Center Event Schedule.
Parking is prohibited in any R (Residential) lots. Vehicles parking in R 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. Disabled spectator parking is available with a valid, state issues disabled hangtag in the E lot North of the Craft Center. These spaces are available on a first-come, first-served basis until full.
Shuttles are available beginning 2 hours prior to tip off and pick up and drop off near the South Limestone Garage (PS#5) and the High Street Lot. Shuttles will start back up after halftime to return guests to their parking areas, the shuttle will discontinue service 1-hour post-game.
Kentucky (11-2, 0-1 SEC) is coming off a loss to No. 4 South Carolina on Thursday, falling 99-72 to the highly ranked Gamecocks, who shot over 60 percent from the field while the Wildcats hit 40 percent. Offensively, Kentucky was able to score in the second half, posting 44 second-half points with its 72 point total being the highest it has scored on the road this season and the most points South Carolina has allowed in a game this season. Sophomore guard Rhyne Howard paced Kentucky by scoring a game-best 28 points adding six rebounds and two assists. Junior guard Chasity Patterson scored a career-best 15 points with three steals while senior guard Amanda Paschal had 13 points and three steals.
The UK defense has been fantastic to start the season and currently ranks top-10 nationally and first in the SEC allowing just 52.5 points per game. UK also ranks high nationally in turnover margin at +9.6. Howard leads Kentucky this season by averaging 21.5 points per game with 5.5 rebounds per game. The sophomore has scored 25 or more points in each of the last three games becoming the first UK player to accomplish that since Sara Potts in 2004-05. Howard ranks ninth nationally and second in the SEC in points per game, while she is 14th nationally in field-goals made and fifth nationally in total points scored.
Several other Wildcats are having great seasons, including senior guards Sabrina Haines and Jaida Roper. Haines is averaging 10.1 points per game with 4.5 rebounds per game and has hit 24 3-poitners, while Roper leads the team with 49 assists and is averaging 8.4 points per game. Patterson, who has played in two games after sitting out the fall semester due to NCAA transfer rules, is averaging 12.0 points per game and has led UK in steals both games she has played in. Sophomore guard Blair Green is averaging 7.1 points per game while junior forwards KeKe McKinney and Tatyana Wyatt are averaging 6.6 points and 6.9 points per game, respectively.
Tennessee (11-2, 1-0 SEC) enters Sunday’s game on a three-game winning streak after starting league action with a 77-66 home win against Missouri on Thursday. In the game, the Lady Vols shot 50 percent from the field and were 5-of-11 from long range with senior forward Lou Brown hitting three of those from distance. Junior guard/forward Rennia Davis led the way scoring 19 points with 12 rebounds for a double-double, while freshman center Tamari Key had 16 points going 8-of-11 from the field. Freshman guard Jordan Horston had 13 points while sophomore guard Jazmine Massengill had 12 assists. The Lady Vols turned the ball over 126 times and Missouri scored 12 points off those miscues.
Overall this season, Tennessee is averaging 74.7 points per game while limiting teams to just 54.7 points per game. The Lady Vols rank first nationally in rebounding margin at +16.6 and top the SEC in rebounds per game at 51.5. As a team, UT is shooting 44.7 percent from the field and 31.3 percent from long range with a -3.1 turnover margin averaging 16.7 turnovers per game.
Davis leads the Lady Vols this season averaging 16.7 points per game with 9.0 rebounds per game and hitting 45 percent from the field. Sophomore guard Rae Burrell is averaging 10.5 points per game and 6.2 rebounds per game while Horston and Key are both averaging double figures at 10.5 and 10.2 points per game, respectively.
Tennessee leads the all-time series in games played against Kentucky, 55-12, including a 22-9 mark in games played in Lexington. UK’s last win at home against Tennessee was a 64-63 victory in Memorial Coliseum on Jan. 25, 2016. The Wildcats won the last meeting between the two teams, earning a thrilling 73-71 win in Knoxville last season. The Lady Vols have won six of the last eight meetings in the series but half of Kentucky’s all-time wins against the storied UT program have come under Mitchell.
Since SEC play began in the 1982-83 season, the Wildcats are 18-20 in SEC openers all-time, including Thursday’s loss at South Carolina. Kentucky is 24-13 all-time in SEC home openers, including a 9-3 mark under Mitchell.