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No. 16 Kentucky Returns to the Road Thursday at LSU

Posted at 6:37 PM, Jan 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-16 18:37:08-05
(AP Photo/James Crisp)

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Looking to bounce back from its first home loss of the season, the No. 16 University of Kentucky women’s basketball team returns to the road for the third time in the last four games Thursday when it faces LSU at 7:30 p.m. ET inside the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, La.

The game will be streamed on the SEC Network+ with Lyn Rollins and Victory Howell 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 630 AM in Lexington. Live stats and free live audio will be available online at UKathletics.com.

Kentucky (15-3, 2-2 SEC) is coming off a setback over the weekend, dropping its first game home of the season to Ole Miss, 55-49. The UK offense struggled to get into a rhythm during the game, scoring a season-low 49 points behind a season-low 26 percent from the field. Freshman guard Rhyne Howard recorded her fourth double-double of the season with 20 points and 11 rebounds in the game. Senior guard Maci Morris did not play due to knee pain while fellow senior Taylor Murray did not start in the game but did play as she still recovers from a bruised knee sustained in the first half at Tennessee.

Despite the loss, Kentucky stayed at No. 16 in the Associated Press Top 25 and moved up one spot to No. 15 in the USA Today/Coaches Top 25 thanks to the impressive win last Thursday at highly ranked Tennessee. Howard leads UK in scoring this season at 16.9 points per game while she is also averaging a team-best 7.1 rebounds per game. The native of Cleveland, Tenn., has hit 43 3-pointers with 50 assists, 40 steals and 16 blocks on the year. Morris is averaging 16.8 points per game and has hit a team-best 47 3s while Murray leads UK with 68 assists and 64 steals.

LSU, who has been receiving votes in the national listings off and on this season, enters Thursday’s game with a 11-5 record and 2-2 mark in SEC play. The Tigers are 8-3 at home this season and are coming off a 76-53 loss to top-20 ranked South Carolina on Sunday at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. LSU’s league wins have come at home to Texas A&M and at Ole Miss, while it started SEC play with a loss at Georgia.

The Tigers are averaging 63.3 points per game this season while their defense has been stingy, allowing teams just 52.9 points per game. LSU is hitting 42.6 percent from the field, 30.5 percent from 3 and crash the boards with a +5.8 rebounding margin this season. Under eighth-year head coach Nikki Fargas, the Tigers have a +2.4 turnover margin this season and lead the SEC in fewest fouls, offensive rebounds per game and scoring defense.

Junior forward Ayana Mitchell leads the team with 13.4 points per game and 9.9 rebounds per game, hitting 57.8 from the field with a team-best 30 steals. Sophomore guard Khayla Pointer is averaging 12.6 points per game and leads the team with 78 assists. Sophomore center Faustine Aifuwa is averaging 8.2 points per game with 5.7 rebounds per game while senior guard Shanice Norton is adding 7.2 points and 4.7 rebounds per game.

LSU leads the all-time series in games played against Kentucky, 33-15, including a 14-4 mark in games played in Baton Rouge. UK has won three of the last four games in the series. Last year, LSU took down UK 72-70 inside Rupp Arena. UK won the last meeting between the two teams in Baton Rouge, 55-42 on Jan. 19, 2017. That was UK’s first win against LSU in Baton Rouge since 2010. The home team had won seven straight in the series before each team claimed road wins each of the last two years.

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