No. 18 Hoops Cats Hit The Road For Rematch At Vanderbilt; Sunday Contest Will Be Seen On SEC Network
LEXINGTON, Ky. – After a victory over LSU last weekend before its lone midweek bye in conference action, the No. 18 University of Kentucky women’s basketball team is ready to get back on the court when it travels for a rematch with Vanderbilt on Sunday, Feb. 14, at 4 p.m. ET in Memorial Gymnasium.
The game will be televised nationally on SEC Network with Paul Sunderland and Gail Goestkors calling the action.
Kentucky’s rematch with Vanderbilt, who defeated the Wildcats in Lexington in late January, will start a two-game road swing that also includes a trip to highly ranked Mississippi State next week. The Wildcats are in the middle of four of five games on the road with the only home contest during that stretch coming last Sunday when UK defeated LSU in Lexington, 70-58.
The victory over LSU snapped a three-game losing streak for Kentucky, who is 16-6 overall this season, including 5-6 in Southeastern Conference play. Senior guard Janee Thompson (pictured) paced Kentucky in the win with her second double-double of the season, posting 16 points with 10 assists. Thompson is the first UK player since 1987-88 to record two assist-point double-doubles in the same season. Freshman guard Maci Morris had 14 points in the game with three rebounds, while sophomore Alexis Jennings had 11 points and a team-best five rebounds.
Junior guard Makayla Epps leads Kentucky in scoring this season, averaging 17.0 points per game, ranking second on the team with 96 assists. In conference play, Epps is averaging 17.4 points per game and recently had a streak snapped of scoring at least 17 points in five straight SEC games. Earlier this week, Epps was named to the Naismith Midseason 30, which is a watch list for college basketball’s best player.
Thompson is second on the team with 12.4 points per game and leads the team with 120 assists. Morris is starting to find her way offensively in conference play as she has scored 10+ points in three straight games for the first time this season and is averaging 8.5 points per game. Jennings is averaging 9.5 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, while fellow post Evelyn Akhator is averaging 11.5 points per game and 9.0 rebounds per game.
The Wildcats remained at No. 18 in the both the Associated Press Top 25 and USA Today/Coaches Top 25 this week. The rankings mark the 128 consecutive week that Kentucky has been ranked inside the top 25, which continues a program record. UK will have to play well to continue that streak as three of its next five opponents are either ranked or receiving votes in one of the two polls.
Vanderbilt and Kentucky met earlier this season on Jan. 28 in Memorial Coliseum with the Commodores pulling out a 71-69 victory, snapping a nine-game losing streak to the Wildcats. The Commodores hit 10 3-pointers in the game, including a 5-for-9 performance from long range by Christa Reed, who had 19 points in the game. The Wildcats put four players in double figures paced by a game-high 25 from Epps, but Reed hit two 3-pointers in the final 1:30 to put the Commodores in the win column.
Since defeating Kentucky back in January, Vanderbilt has lost four straight games in conference action, including most recently falling to No. 25 Tennessee at home, 69-51. The Commodores are 15-9 overall this season and 4-7 in conference action. VU is 10-3 at home, including 2-3 at home in SEC play.
Reed leads the team with 10.6 points per game this season, while Rachel Bell is averaging 9.6 points per game. Rebekah Dahlman is averaging 9.3 points per game, while Reed, Bell and Dahlman pace the team from behind the arc combining for 108 of the team’s 134 3-pointers. Marqu’es Webb leads the team with 5.5 rebounds per game this season, adding 6.5 points per game.
As a team, Vanderbilt is hitting .460 from the field this season, including .357 from 3-point land, averaging 63.5 points per game. VU is limiting opponents to 53.8 points per game with opponents hitting .392 against the Commodores from the field.
Sunday’s game will mark the 51st meeting between the two programs with Vanderbilt holding the advantage in the all-time series, 28-22. Kentucky has won nine of the last 10 meetings in the series, including three straight in Memorial Gymnasium. Matthew Mitchell is 10-4 all-time against Vanderbilt.
UK Athletics Photo