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UK women put record win streak on line at Alabama

The sixth-ranked Kentucky women’s basketball team puts its school-record 12-game winning streak on the line when it travels to Alabama on Sunday, Jan. 6 for its first Southeastern Conference road game of the season. The game will be played in Foster Auditorium and carried live on the UK IMG Sports Radio Network with Neil Price at 3 p.m. EST.

Fans can follow the UK Hoops team on Twitter at @UKHoopCats and use #UKHoops to comment on the game.

The Wildcats (13-1, 1-0 SEC) are coming off a hard-fought 76-69 win over Florida on Thursday at home in the league opener. The win tied the school record for consecutive home victories with 30 and set a new school record for consecutive wins with 12. The overall winning streak is tied for first nationally with Connecticut and Duke.

Four players scored in double digits against the Gators led by preseason and reigning SEC Player of the Year A’dia Mathies’ (Louisville, Ky.) season-high 20 points. She also dished out four assists and took a team-high four charges. Redshirt sophomore point guard Jennifer O’Neill (Bronx, N.Y.) charted her third straight double-digit scoring outing with 17 points, including 12 in the decisive second half. Junior center DeNesha Stallworth (Richmond, Calif.) posted her fourth double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while sophomore guard Bria Goss (Indianapolis) added 10 points. It marked UK’s sixth consecutive win over Florida.

“After going back and watching it, I was even more impressed with how our players responded in the game and really won a tough, tough game over an opponent that made us work and really tested us,” UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell said. “That was a great win to start the season off with. Now, we have a different challenge here. It is our first road game in SEC play. Alabama is off to a good start and had a good record in the non-conference schedule. They are very athletic and have a lot of kids that can score the basketball and we certainly know how tough they are at home. We got beat down there last year so our team needs to be ready to go against a very athletic and aggressive Alabama team.”

UK leads the all-time series over the Tide 22-16, but trails 10-7 when playing in Tuscaloosa. The Wildcats had won seven in a row against Alabama before splitting games last season, winning 82-68 in Lexington and falling 77-75 on the road.

Alabama (10-4, 0-1 SEC) enters Sunday’s game looking to get back on the winning track after falling to Texas A&M 91-52 on Thursday in its SEC opener in College Station, Texas. The Aggies outrebounded the Tide 52-25 and shot 53.8 percent from the floor compared to UA’s 32.8 percent.

The Tide went 10-3 in non-conference action after posting a 3-0 record in the 2012 Bank of Hawai’i Rainbow Wahine Invitational. Alabama earned wins over Cincinnati (58-47), LIU Brooklyn (80-58) and Hawai’i (44-43) at the three-day tournament.

Three players are averaging in double-figure points this season, led by sophomore Rutgers transfer Daisha Simmons with 11.9 ppg. Junior guards Jasmine Robinson and Shafontaye Myers follow with 11.3 and 10.9 ppg, respectively.

Leading the way for the Wildcats is preseason SEC Player of the Year and All-America candidate A’dia Mathies (Louisville, Ky.). The senior guard has been the team’s leading scorer six times this season after netting a season-high 20 points vs. Florida. She averages a team-best 13.8 points per game and also leads the team in assists (34) and 3-pointers made (24). After Mathies, six different players average between 12.8 and 4.9 ppg for a very balanced scoring attack.

Junior post players DeNesha Stallworth (Richmond, Calif.) and Samarie Walker (West Carrollton, Ohio) are giving Kentucky a dynamic inside presence this season. The duo combine to average 22.3 ppg and 13.5 rpg and both are shooting over 50 percent from the floor.

The Cats’ defense, often dubbed “40 minutes of dread”, continues to dominate as they lead the nation in turnover margin at +11.4. UK forces 27.2 turnovers per game, while committing only 15.8 per game.

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