No. 15 Hoop Cats End Regular Season At No. 11 Texas A&M Sunday; ESPN To Carry SEC Showdown At 4
LEXINGTON, Ky. – After earning its fifth win over a ranked opponent when it defeated No. 24 Missouri on Thursday on Senior Night, the No. 15 University of Kentucky women’s basketball team looks to extend its five-game conference winning streak when it concludes regular-season play at No. 11 Texas A&M on Sunday, Feb. 28, at 4 p.m. ET.
The game will be televised nationally on ESPN with Pam Ward and Carolyn Peck calling the action. The game can be seen through WatchESPN on computers, smartphones or tablets. Now in his 11th season, Neil Price will have the call on the UK Sports Network. Fans in Lexington can hear Price’s call on 630AM. Live stats and free audio will be available online at ukathletics.com.
Kentucky (20-6, 9-6 Southeastern Conference) has turned a three-game losing streak in league action into a five-game winning streak, defeating LSU, Vanderbilt, No. 14 Mississippi State, Arkansas and No. 24 Missouri. The Wildcats won all five games by 10 or more points, marking the first time in program history UK has won five straight SEC games by double digits.
During the five-game winning streak, UK is hitting .464 from the field and is outrebounding teams by three rebounds per game. The Wildcats are averaging 14.2 assists per game, while holding a +4.8 turnover margin with 4.6 steals per game. Entering the winning streak, UK had only had 10 or fewer turnovers once this season, while it has done it three times in the last five games.
The winning streak has moved Kentucky into a three-way tie for fourth place in the SEC with Georgia and Florida. Seeding for the SEC Tournament, which will be played March 2-6 at Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla., will not be official until all games are completed on Sunday.
UK is coming off a 69-59 victory over No. 24 Missouri on Thursday with senior guard Janee Thompson putting together an impressive performance with a career-high 24 points, including 12 points in the fourth quarter alone. The win was Kentucky’s fifth over a ranked this season and secured UK’s seventh-straight 20-win season.
Texas A&M enters Sunday’s regular-season finale with a 21-7 record, including a 11-4 mark in SEC play. The Aggies have clinched the No. 2 seed in next week’s SEC Tournament. TAMU is 12-2 at home this season with the home losses come against DePaul and highly-ranked South Carolina. The Aggies have won six straight games in conference play, taking down Tennessee, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, LSU, Vanderbilt and Auburn during that stretch.
Most recently, the Aggies defeated Auburn, 57-49, on the road to clinch the No. 2 seed in the tournament. Khaalia Hillsman and Courtney Walker paced the way for the Aggies by each scoring 16 points, while Courtney Williams had seven points, six rebounds and five assists. TAMU shot 46% from the field, limiting Auburn to just 34.4%, forcing the Tigers into 17 turnovers.
Walker leads TAMU in scoring this season with 18.4 points per game, adding 5.7 rebounds per game and 71 assists. Williams is averaging 12.2 points per game with 4.8 rebounds per game, while Chelsea Jennings is averaging 9.3 points per game and Jordan Jones leads the team with 28 3-pointers hit this season.
As a team, the Aggies are hitting 44.9% from the field this season, including 30.4% from 3, scoring 71.6 points per game. TAMU is limiting opponents to just 37.6% from the field and 28.2% from 3. Texas A&M is outrebounding opponents by four rebounds per game, while sitting +2.8 in turnover margin.
Sunday’s meeting between Kentucky and Texas A&M will mark the sixth all-time meeting between the two schools with Kentucky leading the series 3-2. The two schools never faced before TAMU entered the SEC in 2012. Last year, the Aggies took down Kentucky 81-69 in Lexington.
Coach Matthew Mitchell is 3-2 in his tenure at Kentucky against TAMU.
Photo by Jamie H. Vaught