Looking for its fourth straight win and to get back to .500 in Southeastern Conference play, the University of Kentucky women’s basketball program will welcome back its alumnae and host a streaking LSU team Sunday at Noon ET inside historic Rupp Arena in downtown Lexington, Kentucky.
Senior post Alyssa Rice will be signing autographs postgame in the main lobby of Rupp Arena. Sunday’s game is sponsored by UK Healthcare, who together with the Wildcats will be promoting UK’s annual DanceBlue Marathon that raises money for childhood cancer. The Wildcats will be joined for the pregame starting lineup by five childhood cancer survivors. DanceBlue will be Feb. 17-18 in Memorial Coliseum. Over the past 12 years, DanceBlue has donated over $11 million to the Golden Matrix Fund, established to support the kids of the DanceBlue Kentucky Children’s Hospital Hematology/Oncology Clinic.
Sunday is also UK’s annual alumnae game as former players have been invited back for the game and will be honored on the court during the game as well as join the team on the court postgame.
Single-game tickets are $9 (all ages) in reserved seating areas and general admission tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children (ages 6-18) and seniors (age 65+). Children ages five and under do not require a ticket in general admission areas. Tickets are available at the Rupp Arena Box Office or online through Ticketmaster.com.
The game will be broadcast live on SEC Network with Brenda VanLengen and Andraya Carter 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.
The Rupp Arena west patron entrance will be closed Sunday. 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.
Kentucky (12-11, 4-5 SEC) enters Sunday game on a three-game winning streak after strong performances against Alabama, Arkansas and Auburn. During the winning streak, UK is averaging 73.3 points per game with a +17.7 margin of victory. The Cats are hitting 49.7 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3 with a +5 turnover margin and +3 rebounding margin.
UK's win most recent win came Thursday vs Auburn when the Wildcats used a 23-10 advantage in the fourth quarter to claim the victory. The win marked the first time this UK has won a game when shooting a lower percentage than its opponent. Junior guard Maci Morris paced Kentucky with a game-high 18 points, adding five made 3s. After hitting back-to-back 3s to start the game, Morris became the 33rd player in school history to join the 1,000 point club. Fellow junior Taylor Murray added 14 points, five assists and five steals, while Rice had 11 points and nine rebounds.
Morris leads Kentucky in scoring this season by averaging 15.5 points per game and has hit a team-best 49 3s. She is shooting 46.2 percent from long range, which ranks fifth best in the nation. Murray has been fantastic the past month scoring in double figures each of the last six games. Over her last six games, Murray is averaging 17.5 points per game with 29 assists and 21 steals shooting 55.2% overall and 53.8% from 3.
Kentucky has a 25-17 all-time record in Rupp Arena. The Wildcats are playing three regular-season games inside Rupp Arena for the first time since the 2007-08 season and so far UK is 0-2 at Rupp this year, falling to highly ranked Tennessee and South Carolina.
LSU leads the all-time series in games played against Kentucky, 32-15, including a 11-7 mark in games played in Lexington, Ky. The Wildcats have had recent success in the series, winning five of the last seven meetings including four straight at home. LSU has not won a game against Kentucky in Lexington since a 59-56 victory in Memorial Coliseum on Jan. 25, 2009. This is the second time the two teams have met in Rupp Arena with LSU claiming the only win, 72-46 on Jan. 27, 2008. Matthew Mitchell is 8-8 against LSU as the head coach of the Wildcats.
The Tigers are 14-6 this season, including a 6-3 record in the SEC. LSU owns a 5-4 record in away contests. LSU is coming off back-to-back big home wins over No. 10 Tennessee last Sunday and No. 17 Georgia on Thursday. The Tigers defeated the Lady Vols 70-59 in Baton Rouge, led by 21 points from junior guard Chloe Jackson. It was their second top-15 win of the season after defeating No. 15 Missouri, 69-65, on Jan. 4. The victory also marked LSU’s 900th win in program history. The Tigers followed with a 71-60 victory over Georgia handing the Bulldogs just their third loss of the season. Jackson again led LSU with 21 points adding four rebounds and two assists. Raigyne Louis and Ayana Mitchell each scored in double figures.
Jackson leads the Tigers in scoring this season, averaging 17.6 points per game. Louis is the only additional LSU player averaging double digits, posting 15.7 points per contest. Freshman center Faustine Aifuwa is leading LSU on the boards, grabbing 7.7 rebounds per game.
Kentucky and LSU met once last season with UK winning the lone at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center 55-42 after starting the game on a 12-0 run. Evelyn Akhator led Kentucky with 20 points and 11 rebounds while Taylor Murray recorded her first career double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds. UK dominated the game inside, outscoring LSU 40-22 in the paint. Kentucky also dominated the rebounding battle, grabbing 45, compared to just 30 for the Tigers. Kentucky held LSU to just 18-of-55 (32.7 percent) shooting from the field in the game.
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