Cats Begins SEC Play in Rupp Arena Sunday vs. No. 7 Tennessee - LEX18.com | Continuous News and StormTracker Weather

Cats Begins SEC Play in Rupp Arena Sunday vs. No. 7 Tennessee

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AP Photo/James Crisp AP Photo/James Crisp

The University of Kentucky women’s basketball team will conclude the 2017 calendar year by opening up Southeastern Conference play against No. 7 Tennessee on Sunday at Noon ET inside historic Rupp Arena. 

The game will be broadcast live on SEC Network with Pam Ward and Gail Goestenkors on the call. The action can also be seen through WatchESPN on computers, smartphones or tablets. Darren Headrick, in his first year with the program, will be calling the game on the UK Sports Radio Network. Fans in Lexington can hear Headrick’s call on 630AM WLAP. Live stats and free audio will be available online at ukathletics.com.

More than 10,000 convenient parking spaces are available within a 10-minute walk of Rupp Arena. In addition, most surrounding parking lots and parking garages offer spaces for individuals with disabilities. A parking fee will be in effect for Rupp Arena events. A parking map is available here.

Junior guard Maci Morris is scheduled to be available for autographs postgame in the Rupp Arena main lobby. The highly-ranked Kentucky men’s basketball team will take the floor at 6 p.m. ET on New Year’s Eve against Georgia to kick start its SEC schedule. Both games are separately ticketed events.

Kentucky (8-6) will look to end a five-game losing streak as it is in the middle of a difficult stretch of its schedule. Each of UK’s last five opponents have been either ranked or receiving votes in the national listings this season. The road will not get much easier for the Cats, who after facing top-10 ranked Tennessee, will travel to play top-25 ranked Texas A&M and then host Georgia, who is receiving votes.

UK is averaging 71.9 points per game this season, hitting 42.5 percent from the field and 37.9 percent from long range. Morris leads Kentucky by averaging 16.0 points per game with 4.8 rebounds per game, while fellow junior Taylor Murray is averaging 10.9 points per game with 5.4 rebounds per game and has dished out a team-best 52 assists. Freshman forward Tatyana Wyatt is the only other Wildcat averaging double figures at 10.4 points per game.

Tennessee enters Sunday’s game with a perfect 12-0 record, sitting top-10 in both The Associated Press Top 25 and the USA Today/Coaches Top 25 at No. 7. The Lady Vols are 7-0 at home, 2-0 in true road games and 3-0 in neutral-site games. UT has wins over several ranked teams, including Marquette, Texas and Stanford. Sunday’s game is the third straight true road game for the Lady Vols, who are coming off an 83-71 win at No. 18 Stanford on Dec. 21.

Jaime Nared leads the Lady Vols in scoring this season by averaging 17.9 points per game with a team-best 8.9 rebounds per game, while Mercedes Russell is averaging 16.4 points and 8.8 rebounds per contest. True freshmen Anastasia Hayes and Rennia Davis are averaging 12.3 and 12.0 points per game, respectively.

As a team, the Lady Vols are scoring 88.3 points per game and allowing 61.9 points per game. UT is hitting 48.1 percent from the field, 33.3 percent from long range and out rebounding teams by 12.2 rebounds per game.

Tennessee leads the all-time series against Kentucky, 54-11, including a 22-8 mark in games played in Lexington. The Lady Vols have won five of the last six meetings. UK earned a 64-63 win over Tennessee in the last game played in Lexington. This will be the second contest between the two teams in historic Rupp Arena. UK claimed the lone win, 66-63, vs. No. 1 Tennessee on Jan. 26, 2006.

This is the second straight season the Wildcats have started SEC play with the Lady Vols. The two met on New Year's Day last year in Knoxville with UT earning a 72-65 win. Murray posted a career-high 23 points to lead the Wildcats in the contest while forward Evelyn Akhator recorded her eighth double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Russell led the Lady Vols with 22 points while Diamond DeShields followed close behind with 21.

Kentucky has a 25-15 all-time record in Rupp Arena. The Wildcats will play three regular-season games inside Rupp Arena for the first time since the 2007-08 season. UK has won three of its last five games inside the historic arena, including three of the last four regular season games. Last year, UK fell to top-25 ranked Arizona State inside Rupp, 73-71 in overtime.

For more information on the Kentucky women’s basketball team, visit UKathletics.com or follow @KentuckyWBB on TwitterInstagram and Snapchat, or Kentucky Women’s Basketball on Facebook.

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