Category Archives: UK Hoops

Women's Basketball – Rowe Transfers to Kentucky

2014 PAC-12 Freshman of the Year will be eligible after the fall semester of the 2015-16 season

Chrishae Rowe - Photo by - Oregon Eric Evans Photography
Chrishae Rowe – Photo by – Oregon Eric Evans Photography

LEXINGTON, Ky. –  Former University of Oregon women’s basketball standout Chrishae Rowe (pronounced CRI-shay) has transferred to play at Kentucky, Wildcats head coach Matthew Mitchell announced Friday.

Per NCAA transfer rules, the 5-foot-10 Rowe will be permitted to practice but will not be able to participate in games or travel with the team. She will be eligible for games following the fall semester of the 2015-16 season.

“We are very excited to welcome Chrishae to Kentucky,” Mitchell said. “This will be a great opportunity for her to become the best player she can be. We have high hopes for her and we look forward to her coming into our program and working hard to help us achieve our goals.”

The native of Corona, Calif., was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and earned All-Pac 12 honors after leading the Ducks in scoring last season with 21.6 points in 32 games. Rowe’s 690 total points were the most by a freshman in Oregon history and the 12th most in Pac-12 single-season history. She was just four points shy of breaking the Oregon single-season scoring record of 693, set by Alison Lang in 1982-83. She also set the Oregon record for most points in a single game when she poured in 41 vs. Seattle University on Dec. 4, 2013 with 41, totaling three 35+ point games. She also posted four double-doubles.

At Santiago High School, Rowe averaged a team-high 19.9 points per game to go along with 4.9 rebounds, 3.4 steals and 2.7 assists per game as a senior. She led Santiago to No. 7 national ranking and a 29-3 overall record, including a 10-0 mark in league play. Rowe was rated one of the top 10 players in California and one of the top-20 shooting guards coming out of high school.

She will have three years of eligibility remaining, beginning at the conclusion of the fall semester in December 2015.

Women's Basketball – UK Hoops drops Auburn

UK Hoops 2014-15 Postgame Quotes
No. 10/11 Kentucky 78, Auburn 57

Memorial Coliseum – Lexington, Ky. – Jan. 8, 2015

UK Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

Opening statement …

UK hoops drops Auburn- Photo by Michael Huang
UK hoops drops Auburn- Photo by Michael Huang

“Well, it was a fantastic win. Really proud of the players for getting after it on defense tonight. It was a good start to the game for us defensively. We had some energy tonight and a great turnover margin. I thought when we were the aggressor and when we out hustled Auburn, it was easy to see that we’re a much better than when we had a couple of lapses when they were playing harder than us. It’s very important that we learn from this game, that we gain some consistency from the team and that is what we were able to see tonight.”

 

On minutes being spread out more amongst the team…

“I thought that we played a little bit better tonight at times. They worked real hard since our game Sunday. We put a lot of time into it. We still have a lot of improvement that we need to make but we’re working like crazy to try to get up to speed and so I thought that we were a little bit better tonight. Tra’Cee Tanner had a big night, really good player, but we just need to continue to improve. I’m glad that the minutes were a little more even tonight and we need to make sure that if we can get everyone up to speed, then we can use our depth as an advantage and maybe try to ware some teams down and be stronger at the end. Still a lot of improvement we need to make in our post game but hopefully tonight was a positive move in the right direction.”

 

On getting off to a fast start …

“I thought we were really aggressive. I thought Makayla (Epps) was very aggressive at the start of the game. I thought that Janee (Thompson) was very aggressive at the start of the game. Auburn has a very good full-court press that they like to run. They used it almost the whole game. You just mentally have to fight to figure out where the opening is. I thought we got off to a very good start. I will again tell you that the kids worked really hard this week on their games and on their minds. We just tried to improve so hopefully all of the hard work paid off with a good start.”

 

On only 12 turnovers against the full-court press the entire game…

“I’m just really so happy that we have been able to show some maturity in that area. I really thought that the team throughout the year showed our lack of maturity. It shows that they have taken it seriously because we have gone from there to here. That’s the third game in a row that there is less than 15 turnovers and that’s right where we would like to be and we would love for the turnover margin to be plus 10. It’s the second out of three games where it was plus 13. We did a really good job and it’s also hard to prepare for the press because we don’t run that press and we don’t have our practice guys here. We’re a little bit thin and players said that they didn’t get a really great look at it in practice so I’m really proud of them how they handled it in the game. We’re trying to be a tough team that doesn’t turn the ball over. We need that to be the best that we can be.”

 

On starting Alexis Jennings starting over Kyvin (Goodin-Rogers)

“I was really trying to get Kyvin going. I had it more with her in mind. She was a lot better tonight. She still made mistakes. I thought she had more energy tonight and we must get her going in order to get to our best. She is not showing you what she can be. She can be very disruptive defensively, fly around, block some shots, take some charges and she can do some things. Offensively she is also talented. She started the game trying not to make a mistake. I wanted to get her going more than Alexis (Jennings), but she came out strong. We had one of our better offensive options on the floor. Very good start for her as she made some very nice plays. She made progress tonight with the exception of giving up too many boards. Hopefully those two players will continue to gain confidence to get better. When they are playing in an efficient and productive manner, it changes our team in a dramatic fashion. They are both working really hard. All our players are working real hard. I can’t tell you how hard the players and the coaches have worked this week. We are just fighting to see if we can become a good team.”

 

On how Makayla Epps responded tonight…

“I thought she bounced back late and did some good things. I got very upset with her during the game. I think she loses focus and I want her to look more energetic. She looks like she is coasting. We don’t have time for any of that. We need to be a team with some energy and I thought she responded really well once she got back out there. She showed some maturity. She could have gotten down, because I wasn’t very pleasant in one of the timeouts. She bounced back and came back. We are just fighting to get better and fighting to improve and see if we can become a really good team before the season’s end.”

 

On the difference late in the game…

“I thought we started hustling. We really tried to make hustle a premium tonight. Auburn scraps and plays hard. We started to let free throws and layups deflate us. Auburn had some great athletes and blocked some shots and we let that really deflate us. At 7:19 or whenever that media timeout was, we just talked about being the aggressor and be the team that hustled more. We started to coming up with loose balls.  Jennifer O’Neill ran the ball down in the press and back tipped it. The last seven minutes we outhustled Auburn and that is why you saw the margin increase.”

 

The Wildcats (14-2, 3-0 SEC) travel to Columbia, S.C. to take on top-ranked South Carolina (15-0, 3-0 SEC) Sunday, Jan. 11 at 1 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN2 with Pam Ward and Carolyn Peck calling the action.

Quick Notes:

  • Sunday will mark the 53rd meeting in the all-time series vs. South Carolina. UK leads the all-time series 31-21 but trails 15-9 when playing in Columbia.
  • Seven of the last nine games have been decided by 10 points or less. The Cats went 4-3 in those games.
  • UK has dropped two straight games in Columbia. UK’s last win in Columbia was Jan. 15, 2012 (66-58). UK dropped last year’s road game, 68-59.
  • Coach Mitchell is 9-6 all-time vs. the Gamecocks, 3-4 in Columbia.
  • For 20 straight seasons, UK and USC have played twice as South Carolina is UK’s permanent SEC home-and-home opponent.
  • South Carolina is UK’s fourth ranked opponent this season. UK is 2-1 vs. the ranked this season, 2-0 vs. the top 10 with wins over No. 8/9 Baylor and No. 7/7 Louisville.
  • UK is 1-16 vs. the AP’s top-ranked team. The lone win came over No. 1 Tennessee in Rupp Arena on Jan. 26, 2006.

Women's Basketball – UK 64 Ole Miss 58

Coach and Player quotes:

Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell – Opening Statement …

“I can’t say enough about how hard Ole Miss played and how prepared they were and how aggressive they were. I thought that they really took it to us in the first half and defensively had us back on our heels when we were on offense. You can file this one under better to finish strong and not how you start, how you finish, I guess. We are still struggling to get off to good starts. No matter how you slice it, we were able to get a victory and really proud of our players. We are not playing a lot of players right now and it is a different situation than we are normally in. We just had to go with a core of about four players that had to get it done today with whoever else could chip in. Really, really happy and really excited that we found a way on what was a really tough day for us and you have to credit Ole Miss for that.”

On drawing up the play for Jennifer O’Neill to take a 3 when UK was down six points …

BBM 2014 (15)“Well, I think a little bit earlier I had really – we just weren’t playing as hard as Ole Miss was playing. You are not going to win games in this league, especially with us right now we have to play so hard. I really challenged them, someone like Linnae Harper had to get on the offensive glass. Makayla Epps was whining and moaning and crying about how the ball wouldn’t go in and she was being really weak. I just had to challenge them the timeout before. That timeout, I just sensed that we needed to really try to execute well. It was a tough day and Ole Miss was doing a great job of taking us out of what we were doing. We were able to get a set play over there and Jen a 3 and I think it gave us a little bit of a lift. I think we were down six and went up two with an 8-0 run that kind of routed the ship and got us going in the right direction. It is a funny group and a funny team. They are good kids. There are just moments in the game where it seems like they don’t sense how difficult it is and how hard they have to play. Then, thank goodness they can turn it around quickly too. They have shown that. They gutted it out. That was a tough, tough victory for us today. Ole Miss was a difficult matchup for us because their post players are so athletic and we are still trying to find ourselves in the post right now.”

On Linnae Harper’s rebounds …

“That is what I was trying to tell her, our good players, our top-level producers have to play right now. We are clearly struggling with consistency in our post game. It is what it is, we are missing Bria (Goss) big time. If you think about the minutes these kids are playing, 36, 36, 35, 33. You get Bria’s 30 minutes in there and now everybody is playing five minutes less and now we can maybe get some juice going in transition and do a little bit better. Right now, where we are without Bria, you have to do what you do and do it well. You know, Linnae is standing out on the perimeter and so I just told her she had to get on the glass because she is incredibly gifted offensive rebounder. She went from standing out to eight offensive boards in a blink of an eye. She can really, really get on the glass. Makayla can’t moan and cry and go soft and float the ball around like she is shooting trick shots in there. You have to go in there tough and rough and aggressive. Ole Miss came in here to win today and was tough and fighting. I just tried to get them focused. Makayla is a big-time player, she has to step up and play big time. Linnae is a big-time offensive rebounder, she has to get up and get on the offensive boards. And that is all the way down the line with Janee Thompson, Jennifer O’Neil, you have to do what you can do right now so we can win some games until we can smooth this thing out a little bit and become a complete team.”

On if Linnae Harper’s rebounding is a mindset or a gifted athlete or both …

“The giftedness is really special because she is not a tall player. I can remember recruiting her, I was recruiting Janee really hard trying to get her when she was a junior and then this kid that was a sophomore was 5-foot-3 or whatever she is and I was sitting under the goal one day at a AAU game and she just got up off the floor and took it off the rim. I was like, what just happened right there. She just has a very, very incredible quick vertical leap where she can get up quicker than the taller players. So the giftedness is there and I have to work hard to keep her motivated and make sure she understands that she can’t go get those boards if she is standing and watching. The mentality is very important to get in there and get position, but she just had unbelievable jumping ability and incredible timing. You can’t teach it. Victoria Dunlap had it, Linnae has it. It is a gift, is what it is. We are not as good a team when she doesn’t understand how important that is. She has to get in there and get some boards for us.”

On Linanne Harper’s steals at the end of the game …

“She made huge plays. Before we talk about Linnae, Jennifer O’Neill came to play today and came to play on defense and did not get a lot of breaks and we were short on the bench. The last 10 minutes of the game she just disrupted Ole Miss and couldn’t get into what they needed to get into because she played her tail off and Janee Thompson played her tail off defensively. Linnae did too. Linnae’s steals, the game could have gone either way, somebody has to make a play, who is going to make a play? These games go like that all the time and she made two huge defensive plays. I just cannot tell you how proud I am of her. That was crucial to us being victorious today. You cannot go back and replay that game, it is over, we won it. If you lose it, you cannot go back and get it again. It is very important right now to get these victories. When a kid makes a big play like that or a could big plays down the stretch I am grateful because we needed it. Ole Miss was tough, tough, tough today.”

On possibly going to a shorter lineup since the team has a small bench …

“Right, we are trying to put in a disruptive zone that maybe you don’t pick up full court but you still stay true to your identity and we got some good stuff out of it. Probably today is the fourth day we have worked on it. We were able to get some stops and we had some mistakes there and we don’t know exactly what we are doing so it will take some time to teach it. But I think it lends itself to the gifts that this particular team has. I am trying to help them a little bit there where it is just not baseline to baseline for 40 minutes without Bria. When Bria gets back I think that we can maybe have a few more possessions of press. We had some effective possessions of press today and on Friday at Alabama. I think a disruptive zone, trying to be active and disrupt people might help them a little bit where they are not just zig-zagging the ball and get a couple of possessions that are not full court.”

On Makayla Epps’ shooting today …

“Well, her shot selection, I am trying to convince her of her giftedness and that is speed and strength. In the first half, she was driving at Tia Faleru and Faleru is a great shot blocker but Makayla can get into people with her body and absorb that and can challenge her. Well, she stopped and shot a 17-footer and didn’t make Faleru play and to me that is not aggressive enough. When she is aggressive and going downhill and getting to the bucket she is good. The other issue we had was she was getting into the paint where I wanted her to but was then shooting all of these floaters and looked like it was Sunday afternoon and we were going to church and she was praying. They were prayers being thrown up in the sky and hoping they were answered instead of getting two feet into the paint and going up on balance and landing on two feet. There are times where you can shoot a floater or a runner, but it was just hoping the ball would go in instead of really staying focused and getting the ball in. Then she started talking to herself and talking bad to herself and you just can’t be negative in a game like this where every possession is important. She brought it around and made her free throws and I am so proud of that. We needed every one of them. I just need to work with her and coach her better and show her when is a good time to use that runner and when is a good time to get two feet in the paint and get up and use some power. She will be fine. She is a big-time player and she doesn’t have time to hang her head, she has to make plays for us because she is one of our major contributors and major players and she has to play.”

On Bria Goss’ timetable to return …

“She is out of the cast and in a plastic brace and we are going to test it at four weeks I think is the plan. She is practicing every day and the ball is coming to her. She does some warmup stuff and when she starts to feel better (she will get more involved.) So we don’t throw pass after pass. She is feeling a little bit better but she can’t catch the ball right now. She is practicing hard and is in some contact stuff we just try to make sure she doesn’t fall and she just bails out on some stuff if she feels like she is not safe. I will have to check on that. We are in week three and I think they want to maybe test it out at week four. They did get an x-ray and it didn’t get worse, which is good news. She is on the mend and it is a four-to-six week injury and we are just praying that it is four weeks and it may be six. We have to work really hard and win some ballgames until she gets back.”

On possibly playing Bria just for defense …

“That has been thought of. We thought of that at Duke and she practiced and tried to do some things. For right now, we wouldn’t want her to injure it further. When she comes back, could you? I don’t know. That is something that we think about.”

UK Player Quotes

#3 Janee Thompson, G, Jr.

On her attacking mentality …

“I was really just trying to be aggressive. I knew that Ole Miss at times struggled with dribble penetration and I was just trying to get in the paint, create because they were really guarding my teammates really hard. I drove in there and I was able to get some layups.”

On what was said in the timeout before UK made its run …

“Coach Mitchell was just encouraging us to stay with it and continue to play defense. He thought our defense was going pretty well. We were keeping them out of the paint, we were leveling off the ball, pressuring them and I think he was just encouraging us and trying to get us to be aggressive on offense. That resulted in some baskets.”

On this game having an NCAA Tournament-type feel to it …

“I think this was just a hard-fought game. Ole Miss just wanted to win as badly as we did and I think they were making plays and they were excited. We just had to respond to that, and I think that’s something that we did every time that we were called on to respond. Whether we were down six like you mentioned, we responded to the challenge and we were able to get the win.”

 

#15 Linnae Harper, G, So.

On the early offensive struggles …

“Really, we just kept encouraging each other and didn’t get down. We were trying to find more ways to be more effective offensively and make shots.”

On her rebounding and why she’s so good at it …

“It’s a passion. I’ve always loved rebounding, even when I was younger. As I get older and playing on the college level, it gets harder. It’s really about focus and having the mentality of ‘I have to go get it’. In this game, I had a lot of opportunities, and I just did the best that I could do.”

On if her rebounding mindset changes when there are four guards out on the floor …

“It changes a little bit because I knew there were only four of us. So, I just get to the glass offensively and defensively and I think that helped us a lot.”

On SEC play being a step-up in competition …

“It’s no surprise. There is no question that we have the toughest conference. The SEC is the toughest conference out there, so every game that we play is going to be tough. We have to work for it and that just goes back to us practicing every day and being focused in and changing our mentality to be the most disruptive team and toughest team that we can be.”

UK Hoops Plays Host to Ole Miss in SEC Home Opener

Cats looking for 11th straight win at home.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Just a day removed from winning their conference lid lifter at Alabama on Friday, the 11th-ranked Kentucky women’s basketball team returns action to face Ole Miss in its Southeastern Conference home opener Sunday, Jan. 4 at 2 p.m. ET in Memorial Coliseum. The game will be televised live on the SEC Network with Cara Capuano and former Auburn head coach Nell Fortner calling the action.The game also can be heard live on the UK Radio Network with Neil Price. Sophomore Linnae Harper (Chicago) will be signing autographs after the game.

BBM 2014 (16)Single-game reserved tickets are available at a 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.

Children ages five and under are admitted free in the general admission seating area and UK students, faculty and staff are admitted free with valid identification.

Fans interested in UK Hoops tickets can visit the Joe Craft Center ticket office, go to UKathletics.com, or call the UK ticket office at 1-800-928-CATS. Tickets are also available at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000.

UK (12-2, 1-0) opened the 36th season of SEC play with a hard-fought come-from-behind victory over Alabama. Trailing by 10 (42-32) with 16:54 to go in the game, the Wildcats clamped down defensively and outscored the Tide 36-14 to take a 56-54 lead with 9:00 to play. With the help of seven straight points from junior point guard Janee Thompson (Chicago), UK used an 18-0 spurt and led by as many as 19 points in the final four minutes. The 78-66 win marked UK’s fourth straight win in an SEC opener and third straight win over Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

Four players scored in double figures with freshman forward/center Alexis Jennings (Madison, Ala.) leading the way for the second straight game as she poured in 21 points, including 14 in the first half. After scoring a career-high 27 points vs. Tennessee State last Sunday, Jennings becomes the first UK freshman to post back-to-back 20-point games since A’dia Mathies in 2010. Following Jennings in the scoring column was sophomore Makayla Epps (Lebanon, Ky.) with 14 points and Jennifer O’Neill (Bronx, N.Y.) with 12. Thompson also scored 12 points, while dishing out a career-high 10 assists. She is the first player to chart a points/assists double-double since Carly Ormerod had 13 points and 11 assists vs. Ball State on March 19, 2007.

The Wildcats are still without senior leader Bria Goss (Indianapolis) who will miss at least two more weeks with a broken left thumb. Goss, who played in 117 straight games before missing the last three, is one of the team’s best defenders and she averages 7.4 points and 3.1 rebounds per game.

Overall, Kentucky has benefited from a balanced scoring attack this season as seven players are averaging 7.4 points per game or better. O’Neill leads the way with 14.9 ppg (fifth in the SEC). Epps and fellow sophomore Linnae Harper (Chicago) follow with 13.4 and 10.4 ppg, respectively, while Thompson adds 10.1 ppg. Senior Azia Bishop (Toledo, Ohio) and Jennings follow with 7.9 ppg each.

Bishop is the team’s leader on the boards with 6.5 but Harper, at just 5-foot-10, follows close behind with 6.4 rpg. Bishop has also swatted a team-high 25 blocks and currently ranks tied for second in the SEC in blocks per game (1.8).

Ole Miss is 11-3 overall, 1-0 in SEC play after defeating Arkansas on Friday night, 71-57.

Senior forward Tia Faleru leads Ole Miss with 16.0 points (second in the SEC) and 10.6rebounds per game (leads the SEC). Faleru is the lone player in double figures but Erika Sisk nears the double-figure mark with 9.7 ppg. Danielle McCray and Toree Thompson follow with 7.1 and 6.8 ppg, respectively. The rest of the scoresheet is balanced with 11 players averaging at least 3.9 ppg.

The Rebels, coached by former UK assistant coach Matt Insell, are looking for their first win over a ranked opponent since the 2010-11 season. They rank sixth nationally in steals with 13.4 steals per game, which also leads the SEC and are 18th nationally in offensive rebounds per game (17.6) and 12th in turnover margin (+7.1).

Sunday will mark the 36th meeting between the teams. The Wildcats have won the last five meetings against Ole Miss but trail 20-15 in the all-time series. The series is tied at eight games apiece in Lexington. Head coach Matthew Mitchell is 6-1 all-time vs. Ole Miss.

The Cats own a 392-144 (73.1) mark in Memorial Coliseum, including a 102-16 (86.4) record under Mitchell. UK is 7-0 at home this season, 6-0 in Memorial and have won 10 consecutive games at home, dating back to last season. The 10-game winning streak currently ties for the ninth longest in program history.

For more information on parking around Memorial Coliseum and other game-day questions visitwww.ukathletics.com/wbbgameday.

#11 UK Hoops defeats Alabama 78-66

UK Hoops 2014-15 Postgame Notes
No. 11/11 Kentucky 78, Alabama 66

Foster Auditorium – Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Jan. 2, 2015

BBM 2014 (14)Team Records and Series Notes

  • Kentucky improves to 12-2, 1-0 SEC, while Alabama falls to 11-5, 0-1 SEC.
    • This was the conference opener for both teams.
  • Kentucky moves to 723-488 (62.2) all-time in 41 seasons of varsity women’s basketball and 189-158 (54.5) in the month of January.
  • Matthew Mitchell is in his eighth season as the head coach of the Wildcats. He already ranks first on UK’s all-time wins list with 182 and his winning percentage is .740 percent.
    • Mitchell is now 72-37 in SEC play, 31-24 on the road.
  • Kentucky has won its last four SEC openers, and is 17-16 all-time in conference openers.
  • This was the 42nd meeting between the programs since UK became a varsity sport in 1974-75.
    • UK leads the series 25-17 and the series is now even at 10-10 in Tuscaloosa.
    • Kentucky has won three straight in Foster Auditorium.
  • Today’s attendance was 2,654.
  • Next up: UK will play Ole Miss in its SEC home opener on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET. The game will be live on the SEC Network with Cara Capuano and Nell Fortner.

First Half Notes

  • UK started with the lineup of Janee Thompson, Kyvin Goodin-Rogers, Linnae Harper, Makayla Epps and Azia Bishop.
    • UK is now 2-0 with this lineup and has started the last two games with this starting five.
  • Freshman Alexis Jennings led UK with 14 points and two rebounds.
    • Marks the second straight game she has scored double figures in the first half.
    • Also had an assist and a steal, going 6-of-9 from the floor and 2-of-4 from the free throw line.
  • Kentucky forced Alabama into 13 turnovers, scoring 13 points off those turnovers.
  • Alabama outrebounded Kentucky 31-13, scoring 14 second-chance points to UK’s four.
  • UK is now 5-2 when trailing at the half.

Second Half Notes

  • UK began the second half with Jen O’Neill replacing Kyvin Goodin-Rogers from its starting five.
  • Trailing by 10 points, Janee Thompson scored seven straight points to pull UK within three.
  • Led by two 3-pointers from Kyvin Goodin-Rogers, UK then used an 18-0 run to give UK a 72-55 lead with4:43 to play.
  • After getting outrebounded 31-13 (-18) in the first half, Kentucky outrebounded the Crimson Tide 20-19 in the second half.
  • UK went 18-of-37, shooting 48.6 from the floor in the second half.
  • The Wildcats held Alabama to just 8-of-21 (31.8) from the floor.
  • Kentucky outscored the Crimson Tide 50-30 in the second half.

Team/Game Notes

  • Today marks the fifth time this season UK has had to overcome at least a nine-point deficit to win.
    • Marks the third time this season UK has trailed by double digits in the second half and come back to win. UK also defeated nationally-ranked Baylor and Louisville after trailing by double-digits in the second half.
  • UK shot 30-of-66 (45.5) in the game, including 6-14 (42.9) from the 3-point line.
    • The six 3s are the most since the Cats had eight at Central Michigan (11/22/14).
  • Kentucky forced 27 turnovers and has now forced 20 or more in 13 of 14 games this season, including seven straight.
    • UK scored 39 points off of turnovers, to Alabama’s 13 points.
    • UK is now 8-1 this season when forcing double-digit turnovers.
  • The Wildcats outscored Alabama 34-15 in bench points.
  • UK improves to 318-21 since 1974 when scoring 80 or more points, 6-0 this season.
  • The Cats are now 72-3 under Mitchell when scoring 80 points or more.
  • Kentucky has scored 80+ in the last two games.
  • Every UK player that played in the game scored at least one point.

Individual Notes

  • Junior point guard Janee Thompson charted her first career double-double (points/assists) with 12 points and a career-high 10 assists in the game.
    • Marked UK’s first points/assists double-double since Carly Ormerod vs. Ball State on March 19, 2007.
    • Marked the most assists in a single game since Omerod’s 11 vs. Ball State.
    • Marked her seventh double-figure scoring game of the season.
    • All of 12 points came in the second half.
  • Freshman forward/center Alexis Jennings came off the bench for 21 points and 5 rebounds.
    • Now has back-to-back 20-point games after scoring 27 vs. Tennessee State.
    • Second time UK has had back-to-back 20-point performers this season (Makayla Epps, vs. Oklahoma and South Florida).
    • Has scored in double figures five times this season, including four straight.
    • Kentucky was +13 when she was on the floor.
  • Sophomore guard Makayla Epps had 14 points and seven rebounds in the game in her second start of the season.
    • Marked her 11th double-figure scoring game this season, including second straight.
    • Had three assists to go along with a career-high tying three steals.
  • Senior guard Jen O’Neill scored 12 points off the bench.
    • Marked her team-high 57th career scoring game, including 11th this season.
    • Is now just one point shy of tying Jocelyn Mills (1,170, 1990-93) on UK’s all-time scoring list with 1,169 points.

UK Hoops Defeats Pikeville 141-63 in Exhibition Play

UK Hoops Defeats Pikeville 141-63 in Exhibition Play

Eight Wildcats scored in double figures led by Jennifer O’Neill and Alexis Jennings

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. –  Led by eight players with at least 10 points, the Kentucky women’s basketball team opened the 2014-15 season with a 141-63 exhibition victory over Pikeville  on Thursday in Memorial Coliseum.

 

The Wildcats improved to 7-1 in exhibition contests under eighth-year head coach Matthew Mitchell. The meeting between UK and NAIA member Pikeville was the first in the series.

 

“It was good to get into Memorial Coliseum tonight and play and be back on that floor,” Mitchell said. “We believe this is the most special place in the country to play and we love being in Memorial. I thought the players did what they were charged to do tonight. We really talked about energy and effort and playing hard. We are long way away from being a finished product, but we have worked very hard on our effort and conditioning and running the floor. So, the things that we could control tonight – I thought we did a pretty good job.”

 

UK’s offensive charge was led by senior guard Jennifer O’Neil (Bronx, N.Y.) and freshman forward/center Alexis Jennings (Madison, Ala.), each with 20 points. As a team, Kentucky was 56-89 from the field and 11-23 from beyond the arc.

 

Kentucky won the turnover battle by a 37-16 margin. Fifty-two of UK’s 141 points came off turnovers, and the Wildcats held an 18-0 advantage in fast-break points.

 

Pikeville was held to 23-57 shooting and 6-20 from beyond the arc. In addition to forcing 63 turnovers, the UK defense held the Bears to 26 points in the paint and just four second-chance points. In contrast, the Wildcats scored 80 points in the paint and had 25 second-chance points.

 

Sophomore Makayla Epps (Lebanon, Ky.) just missed out on a triple-double, with 18 points, a team-high-tying eight rebounds and a team-high-tying eight assists. Senior Bria Goss (Indianapolis) also had eight assists in addition to 11 points and four rebounds, while fellow senior Azia Bishop (Toledo, Ohio) had eight rebounds and 14 points. Sophomore Linnae Harper (Chicago) was one shy of tying for the team lead with 19 points.

 

Kentucky jumped out to an early 4-0 lead on a pair of free throws and a Bishop layup. Pikeville cut UK’s lead to two at 7-5, but that’s when the Wildcats went on a 12-0 run to break the game open. The stretch, which gave Kentucky a 19-5 advantage, was fueled by two three-pointers by O’Neill and two Harper layups.

 

With a 26-13 lead, UK extended its advantage to 24 at 40-16. Bishop had five of her 14 points in the run, while Jennings and sophomore Kyvin Goodin-Rogers each tallied four points.

 

A jumper by junior Janee Thompson (Chicago) with seven seconds left in the first half gave UK a 58-34 lead at the break.

 

Eight seconds into the second half, Thompson buried a three to add to UK’s lead, which it extended to 89-42 with a 16-0 run. After a Pikeville jumper ended Kentucky’s run, the Wildcats turned around and scored 11 in a row to hit the century mark for a 100-44 lead.

 

The Wildcats continued to expand on their lead until the final buzzer for a 141-63 victory.

 

Kentucky begins the 2014-15 regular season vs. Appalachian State on Friday, Nov. 14. Set for a 7 p.m. ET first tip from Memorial Coliseum, the contest will air on the SEC Network+ and on the UK Radio Network. Tickets are available on UKHoopstix.com or Ticketmaster.com.

SEC Coaches Pick UK Hoops to Finish Fourth

Jennifer O’Neill and Bria Goss named preseason All-SEC

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Southeastern Conference’s head coaches have selected the Kentucky women’s basketball team to finish fourth in the preseason poll released today. Senior guard Jennifer O’Neill (Bronx, N.Y.) also was selected to the All-SEC First Team, while senior guard Bria Goss (Indianapolis) was named to the All-SEC Second Team.

 

O’Neill, a 5-foot-6 senior guard, was named the SEC Co-6th Woman of the Year last year after averaging a team-high 12.6 points per game off the bench. O’Neill scored in double figures in 23 games, including netting a school-record 43 points in UK’s thrilling four-overtime win vs. No. 9 Baylor. Goss, a 5-10 senior guard, was the team’s third-leading scorer with 10.2 points per game last season and she set a new UK single-season record when she hit 90.1 percent from the free throw line (127-of-141).

 

Like the preseason SEC media poll released in October, South Carolina was the favorite to win the title, followed by Tennessee (169), Texas A&M (144), Kentucky (135), Georgia (108), Vanderbilt (107), and LSU (94) rounding out the top half of the league. Mississippi State (87), Florida (86), Auburn (53), Missouri (48), Arkansas (40), Alabama (25) and Ole Miss (23) round out the bottom half.

 

The Wildcats open the 2014-15 campaign with an exhibition game against Pikeville on Thursday, Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. ET in Memorial Coliseum. Admission is free and the game will be streamed live on SEC Network +. Events on SEC Network + are exclusively available on SECNetwork.com  and on WatchESPN via computers, smartphones and tablets.

 

Season tickets for UK’s entire 15-game regular-season home schedule are on sale now for $65 at www.ukhoopstix.com although lower-level chair backs ($80) are sold out. Single-game tickets are also on sale through the UK Ticket Office or www.Ticketmaster.com. Single-game reserved tickets are $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. Children ages five and under are admitted free in the general admission seating area and UK students, faculty and staff are admitted free for all games with valid identification.

Single-game Baylor tickets in Rupp Arena are $9 for lower level reserved and $8 for upper level general admission. Youth (ages 6-18) and senior citizens (ages 65 and up) are only $5. Baylor tickets may be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.com or by visiting the Joe Craft Ticket Office. Office hours are 9 a.m. ET – 4:30 p.m. ET. Groups of 10 or more are $2 each in reserved and general admission areas and can ONLY be purchased by calling the UK ticket office directly.

Order of Finish

  1. South Carolina           169
  2. Tennessee                155
  3. Texas A&M               144
  4. Kentucky                  135
  5. Georgia                     108
  6. Vanderbilt                  107
  7. LSU                          94
  8. Mississippi State       87
  9. Florida                       86
  10. Auburn                    53
  11. Missouri                  48
  12. Arkansas                 40
  13. Alabama                  25
  14. Ole Miss                  23

 

Player of the Year

Tiffany Mitchell, South Carolina

 

First Team All-SEC

Jessica Jackson, Arkansas

Jennifer O’Neill, Kentucky

Danielle Ballard, LSU

Martha Alwal, Mississippi State

Alaina Coates, South Carolina

Tiffany Mitchell, South Carolina

Aleighsa Welch, South Carolina

Bashaara Graves, Tennessee

Isabelle Harrison, Tennessee

Courtney Walker, Texas A&M

 

Second Team All-SEC

Kayla Lewis, Florida

Shacobie Barbee, Georgia

Bria Goss, Kentucky

Tia Faleru, Ole Miss

Morgan Eye, Missouri

Jordan Jones, Texas A&M

Courtney Williams, Texas A&M

Rebekah Dahlman, Vanderbilt

UK Hoops Ranks in Top 15 of Preseason Magazines

UK one of just 10 schools to chart 25-plus wins five consecutive seasons

LEXINGTON, Ky. – After its school-record fifth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament and fifth consecutive season with 25-plus wins, the Kentucky women’s basketball team has earned top-15 preseason rankings by in several preseason publications, including Athlon Sports Magazine, Lindy’s Sports Magazine and Sporting News.

Kentucky, which finished 26-9 in 2013-14 and advanced to its third straight Sweet 16, is ranked No. 11 by Athlon Sports, No. 12 by Lindy’s Sports and No. 15 by Sporting News.

 

Seven letter winners return from last season’s squad, including top scorer and Southeastern Conference Co-6th Woman of the Year Jennifer O’Neill (Bronx, N.Y.), and starters Bria Goss (Indianapolis) and Janee Thompson (Chicago). O’Neill, a 5-foot-6 senior guard, dropped in a team-high 12.6 points per game last year, while Goss, a 5-10 senior guard, was the team’s third-leading scorer with 10.2 ppg. Thompson, a 5-7 junior point guard, averaged 8.6 points per game a year ago, while dishing out a team-best 107 assists. Also returning is senior center Azia Bishop (Toledo, Ohio) who saw action in all 35 games last season with five starts and senior forward Jelléah Sidney (Queens Village, N.Y.) who averaged 3.1 points and 3.0 rebounds per game and was second on the team in steals with 41. The dynamic sophomore duo of Linnae Harper (Chicago) and Makayla Epps (Lebanon, Ky.) look to pick up where they left off last season. Harper, a 5-8 guard and member of the SEC All-Freshman team and SEC All-Tournament team, averaged 6.9 points per game overall, including 9.5 ppg in postseason play. Epps, a 5-10 guard, was one of the team’s best shooters, hitting .483 percent from the field (56-of-116).

 

New additions to the roster this season include junior college transfer and 6-foot-6 center Ivana Jakubcova (Bratislava, Slovakia), freshman shooting guard Jaycee Coe (Gainesboro, Tenn.), freshman and forward/center Alexis Jennings (Madison, Ala.) and freshman center Alyssa Rice (Reynoldsburg, Ohio). Sophomore forward Kyvin Goodin-Rogers (Lebanon, Ky.) also will be available for action after sitting out last season with a pulmonary embolism.

The Wildcats open up the 2014-15 season with an exhibition game against Pikeville on Thursday, Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. ET in Memorial Coliseum. Admission is free and the game will be streamed live on SEC Network +. Events on SEC Network + are exclusively available on SECNetwork.com  and on WatchESPN via computers, smartphones and tablets.

 

Follow UK Hoops on Twitter and Instagram at @UKHoopCats and on Facebook by liking University of Kentucky Women’s Basketball.

 

Athlon’s

  1. Connecticut
  2. South Carolina
  3. Texas A&M
  4. Notre Dame
  5. Michigan State
  6. Stanford
  7. Tennessee
  8. Baylor
  9. Texas
  10. Iowa
  11. Kentucky
  12. Duke
  13. North Carolina
  14. Nebraska
  15. California
  16. Louisville
  17. Dayton
  18. West Virginia
  19. Maryland
  20. Georgia
  21. DePaul
  22. Oregon State
  23. Rutgers
  24. Syracuse
  25. Albany

 

Lindy’s Sports

  1. Connecticut
  2. South Carolina
  3. Notre Dame
  4. Stanford
  5. Tennessee
  6. North Carolina
  7. Maryland
  8. Baylor
  9. Texas A&M
  10. Louisville
  11. Duke
  12. Kentucky
  13. Oklahoma State
  14. West Virginia
  15. DePaul
  16. Nebraska
  17. California
  18. Purdue
  19. Gonzaga
  20. Michigan State
  21. Brigham Young
  22. Penn State
  23. Oregon State
  24. Texas
  25. Iowa

 

Sporting News

  1. Connecticut
  2. Norte Dame
  3. South Carolina
  4. Stanford
  5. UCLA
  6. Baylor
  7. Texas A&M
  8. Tennessee
  9. Louisville
  10. Texas
  11. Duke
  12. California
  13. DePaul
  14. Nebraska
  15. Kentucky
  16. Michigan State
  17. Oklahoma State
  18. North Carolina
  19. Maryland
  20. West Virginia