LEXINGTON, Ky. (1/4/14) – The sixth-ranked Kentucky women’s basketball team looks to chart the 700th win in program history and seventh straight win over Florida when it plays host to the Gators on Sunday, Jan. 5 in its Southeastern Conference home opener. The game will be televised live on CSS at 3 p.m. ET with Matt Stewart and former Auburn head coach Joe Ciampi calling the action. Fans can also watch a live video stream on ESPN3.com, listen to the UK IMG Sports Radio Network with Neil Price or follow Twitter updates on @UKHoopCats.
Single-game reserved tickets 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. UK faculty, staff and children ages five and under are admitted free in the general admission seating area, while supplies last. Season tickets are also still available for just $65. Lower-level chair back seating ($80) is sold out.
“We have a very tough challenge ahead Sunday afternoon versus a really good Florida team,” UK Hoops head coach Matthew Mitchell said. “If you think about the series over the last seven years, it’s been a really, really difficult game for us and Florida always has really good players. They do again this year. They’re always extremely well coached. They are extremely well coached again this year and their guards are really, really strong and I think we need to play really good defense. Jaterra Bonds has been just a nightmare for us to guard over the last three years and she’s having a great season. She is one of the top scorers in the league and just surrounded by some really good players. So we are in for a tough, tough game Sunday afternoon and we’re going to have to pour everything into getting ready for this one and have really good practices today and Saturday and Sunday morning and do everything we can to see if we earn a victory against a really good Florida team.”
UK, which holds a 699-478 (59.3) overall record in 40 seasons of varsity women’s basketball, is 25-22 all-time vs. Florida, including a 13-9 advantage in Lexington. The Cats own a six-game winning streak vs. UF and a five-game winning streak vs. the Gators in Lexington but the last four wins in the series have been by a combined 20 points.
“It certainly doesn’t feel like we’ve won six in a row against them,” Mitchell said.” They’re just always so tough. I think we have really good games because they always have tough players and their coach gets them ready to play and our style of defense has some difficulties against them because they always have good guards.”
Florida is 11-3 overall, 1-0 in league play after defeating Mississippi State, 82-72, in its conference opener in Gainesville, Fla., on Thursday. Senior guard Jaterra Bonds is the team’s leading scorer and assist leader with 16.8 points and 4.6 assists per game. Sophomore guard January Miller is second on the team with 12.2 ppg, while sophomore forward Christin Mercer averages 11.8 ppg and 6.5 rpg. Redshirt sophomore guard Cassie Peoples scores 11.7 points per game and redshirt junior guard Kayla Lewis is the team’s leading rebounder at 8.1 per game to go with 9.8 points per game. The Gators are led by head coach Amanda Butler who is 171-107 in nine total seasons, including a 131-85 mark at Florida.
The Wildcats (13-1, 1-0 SEC) began league play with a convincing, 85-63, win at Alabama on Thursday. Four Wildcats scored in double figures led by junior point guard Jennifer O’Neill (Bronx, N.Y.) with 17 points off the bench. Junior center Azia Bishop (Toledo, Ohio) looked impressive in her fourth starting assignment of the season, charting a season-high 16 points to go along with eight rebounds and two blocks. Always steady senior guard Kastine Evans (Salem, Conn.), who has double-figure points in 10 of 14 games this season, followed with a season-high tying 15 points and senior Samarie Walker (West Carrollton, Ohio) notched her fourth double-double of the season with 12 points and game-high 13 rebounds.
Overall this season, senior forward DeNesha Stallworth, who has missed the last five games after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on her left knee on Dec. 18, leads a very balanced scoring attack as one of six players in double-digit scoring. She averages a team-high 14.2 points per game, while O’Neill follows with 12.9 points per game. Evans is averaging 11.8 and sophomore point guard Janee Thompson and Walker average 10.4 points per game apiece. Junior guard Bria Goss (Indianpolis) rounds out the double-digit scorers with 10.1 points per game. Walker is the team’s leading rebounder with 9.6 rebounds per game, while Bishop has swatted a team-high 18 blocks this season.
“We’d love to see a big crowd out,” Mitchell said. “It just makes such a difference in Memorial Coliseum, so if you are a season ticket holder I just want to ask you to come out and see us play. If you’ve never come out to see us, come out and see us. I think you’ll come back if you come one time. We need a big crowd to help us beat a good Florida team Sunday afternoon.”
Please note that fans arriving approximately 1 hour or less before tip-off are highly encouraged to park at the Transit Center Parking Garage (see shuttle info below) or Parking Structure #5 next to Kennedy’s bookstore. Both are a 5-10 minute walk or a short shuttle ride over to the Coliseum. All surface lots near the Coliseum will likely be full one hour prior to tip-off and you will be re-directed to one of these options. Doors to Memorial Coliseum will open at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday.
• All E-lots (Employee Lots) surrounding Memorial Coliseum beginning 3 hours prior to tip-off
• Parking Structure #5 (adjacent to Kennedy’s Bookstore) –access from Limestone or Upper Street. Fans who park here need to pull a white ticket from the dispenser and exchange for a pink voucher with Event Staff at the entrances of the Coliseum.
• Lexington Authority Transit Center Parking Garage, located between High Street and Vine Street, is available on Sunday. If parking in this garage, bring the yellow token and game ticket to the Guest Service table at the Lexington Ave entrance to request a free parking coupon.
• 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.
• 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).
For more information on parking around Memorial Coliseum and other game-day questions visit www.ukathletics.com/wbbgameday.
Information provided by UK Athletics
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