uk basketball1_300LEXINGTON, KY (3/13/12)—The No. 12/11 University of Kentucky women’s basketball team earned its third straight bid to the NCAA Tournament, and ninth overall, with a No. 2 seed in the Kingston Regional. It is the first time in UK Hoops history that the Wildcats have advanced to three straight NCAA tournaments, and the Wildcats’ No. 2 seed ties its highest ever in the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats (25-6) will face 15-seeded McNeese State in the first round Saturday at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. The game will air live on ESPN2 at 4:20 p.m. ET.

The No. 2 seed is the second in school history for the Wildcats, and ties their highest seed ever in the tournament. Kentucky was also a two seed in 1982. The other first-round matchup in Ames, Iowa, features No. 7 seed Green Bay (30-1) and No. 10 seed Iowa State (18-12).

“It’s a really historic night for us, and we’re so excited,” UK Hoops head coach Matthew Mitchell said. “It’s the first time in our school’s history that the women’s program has been to three straight tournaments. It’s the first time we’ve ever gotten a seed this high (since 1982). It’s a great night for us and we couldn’t be more excited about advancing to the tournament and getting a two seed and having a chance to compete for a national championship. It’s a real, real exciting night for our program.”

UK is 8-8 all-time in the Big Dance, including a 4-2 mark under Mitchell. The best finishes for UK came in 2010 and 1982 when the Wildcats fell one win shy of the Final Four. UK, playing as a No. 4 seed last season, defeated Hampton in the first round before falling to No. 5-seeded North Carolina in the second round.

McNeese State (26-7), located in Lake Charles, La., claimed the 2012 Southland Conference Tournament Championship with a 60-56 win over Stephen F. Austin. The Cowgirls have won nine consecutive games leading into the NCAA Tournament. It will be the Cowgirls’ second straight trip to the NCAA Tournament and their second trip in school history.

UK is 1-0 all-time against McNeese State, and is 4-0 against teams from the Southland Conference. Kentucky topped the Cowgirls 85-50 at Memorial Coliseum on Nov. 28, 2009. Kentucky defeated Southland Conference member Sam Houston State 73-52 on Nov. 25, 2011.

Kentucky was one of eight Southeastern Conference teams to be awarded a bid to the NCAA Tournament on Monday evening. Tennessee earned an automatic bid to the tournament after winning the conference tournament, and is a No. 2 seed in the Des Moines Regional. Georgia (four seed), LSU (five seed), South Carolina (five seed), Arkansas (six seed), Vanderbilt (seven seed) and Florida (nine seed) also made the field.

Top-ranked Baylor earned the tournament’s No. 1 overall seed and will play in the Des Moines Regional. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Raleigh Regional), UConn Huskies (Kingston Regional) and Stanford Cardinal (Fresno Regional) joined Baylor as No. 1 seeds. The Final Four will be played April 1 and 3 at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

The Ames, Iowa pod is hosted by Iowa State and will be played at Hilton Coliseum. Session booklets, which include all three games, are $30 for adults and $25 for students (12th grade and younger). Single session tickets are $18 for adults and $13 for students. Tickets are available through Iowa State’s ticket office at 888-478-2925 or online at cyclones.com. Everyone regardless of age requires a ticket for admission. Tickets may also be purchased online at http://www.ticketmaster.com/ISU-Cyclones-Hilton-tickets-Ames/venue/50257?DB_OEM_ID=10700&;brand=iowastate.

For more information on University of Kentucky Athletics, click here.

Information submitted by Associate UK Media Relations Director, Susan Lax
Posted by Luke Short—SurfKY News

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