Most Recent Posts
- Brumbaugh understands junior college talent, feels he can bring JUCO players to UK
- Volleyball training, personality will both help Marcus Lee at Kentucky
- UK coach Mark Stoops was patient with Neal Brown because he was “all-in” on hiring him
- UK signee Marcus Lee overcame early education struggles to succeed in academics, athletics
- No. 12 Kentucky and No. 5 Arizona State to start best-of-three NCAA Super Regional set Saturday at 10 p.m. ET
- Stoops: Hiring Neal Brown to run Kentucky offense was a “no-brainer for me”
- Nunley, Cumbess Propel No. 12 UK Softball to Super Regionals
- DeCourcy says Julius Randle is “so freaking quick” and powerful he will be special
By SUSAN LAX
LEXINGTONÃ‚Â Ã¢â‚¬â€ After a tough loss at No. 4 Tennessee on Thursday, the Kentucky womenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s basketball team looks to get back on the winning track and end the regular season on an upswing when it takes on Auburn today in the final womenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s basketball game in storied Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.
Game time is set for 3 p.m. EST and it will be broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Radio Network with Neil Price and streamed live on UKathletics.com.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s very important for us to get refocused on what we need to do and that is to play better of the defensive end as we go to Auburn,Ã¢â‚¬Â UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We are going to play at a place that is always very tough to play. It will be the last time anybody plays in that building. There is an interesting dynamic there. The overall thing is that Auburn presents some matchup problems for us. We need to be ready to put last night behind us and be ready for Sunday.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Despite being picked to finish 11th in the preseason polls by league coaches and media, Mitchell has led his squad to a remarkable turnaround, going from 16-16 overall, 5-9 in the Southeastern Conference last season to an impressive 23-5 overall, including a school-best 11-4 mark in league play.
With their impressive season, the Cats have secured the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye heading into the SEC Tournament in Duluth, Ga. They will face the to-be-determined No. 7 or No. 10 seed Friday at 2:30 p.m. EST in the Gwinett Center. The CatsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ No. 2 ranking marks their highest finish in the SECÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s current 12-team format. UK was the EastÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s No. 2 seed in 1983 when the SEC had a 10-team, divisional format.
Anchoring the turnaround is SEC Player of the Year and All-America candidate, Victoria Dunlap. The 6-1 forward ranks in the top 10 of seven different SEC statistical categories and is the only player in the league to rank in the top four in scoring (4th – 17.7) Ã¢â‚¬â€ and rebounding (3rd – 8.8). She also leads the SEC in steals (3.1), ranks fifth in blocks (1.9) and is seventh in field goal percentage (.506).
SEC Freshman of the Year nominee AÃ¢â‚¬â„¢dia Mathies also has been a key catalyst in the CatsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ success as she ranks second behind Dunlap in scoring (12.5 ppg), steals (70) and blocks (14). She has scored in double figures in 10 of 15 SEC contests and three of her 20-point scoring outings were against SEC competition. She currently holds the school record for steals by a freshman with 70.
The Tigers, who will move into their New Auburn Arena next season, enter their Ã¢â‚¬Å“Senior DayÃ¢â‚¬Â after a 65-61 loss to Ole Miss on Thursday in Oxford, Miss. Auburn (13-15) has lost five of their last six league games with the lone win coming in convincing fashion over Mississippi State (50-36). The Tigers currently sit in a tie for 10th place with Arkansas at 4-11 in the SEC.
Junior guard Alli Smalley and senior center KeKe Carrier lead the team in scoring, averaging 15.1 and 12.7 points per game respectively. Smalley ranks sixth in the league in scoring and also leads the team with 49 three-pointers. Carrier is 13th in the league in scoring but also leads the Tigers and ranks seventh in the conference with 7.3 rebounds per game.
Auburn owns a 24-12 advantage in the all-time series, including a 9-5 lead in Auburn. The Cats have won the three of the last four matchups against the Tigers, including a 68-50 decision earlier this season in Lexington. UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s last win in Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum was Jan. 21, 2007, 68-65.