LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky women’s basketball team looks to continue its three-game Southeastern Conference winning streak as it begins its final two-game homestand of the season Sunday, Feb. 19 against Florida at 1 p.m. ET inside Memorial Coliseum.
Sunday’s game vs. Florida will be UK’s annual Play4Kay Pink Game. The Kay Yow Cancer Fund is committed to being a part of finding an answer in the fight against women’s cancers through raising money for scientific research and related projects, assisting the undeserved and unifying people for a common cure. For more information about the Play4Kay initiative and how you can get involved, visit kayyow.com or call 919-659-3308. Fans are encouraged to wear pink to the game as the Wildcats will be wearing their all pink uniforms.
The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network with Courtney Lyle on play-by-play and Tamika Catchings as the analyst. The game can also be seen through WatchESPN on computers, smartphones and tablets. Now in his 12th season, Neil Price will have the call on the UK Sports Network. Fans in Lexington can hear Price’s call of the game on WLAP 630 AM.
Kentucky (18-8, 9-4 SEC) is coming off a 69-62 win at Arkansas for its third straight victory in conference play and the second straight road win. Sophomore guard Taylor Murray was the star for UK with an all-around impressive stat line, scoring a team-high 16 points with eight rebounds, six steals and five assists. Senior post Evelyn Akhator recorded her 14th double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds, while fellow senior guard Makayla Epps had 14 point and four assists. Kentucky hit eight 3-pointers in the game, moving its record to 10-1 this season when it has six or more 3s. The Wildcats won the battle in points in the paint 30-26, points off turnovers 21-14 and fast-break points 15-0.
Epps leads Kentucky in scoring this season by averaging 17.0 points with 4.0 rebounds and a team-best 96 assists, while Akhator is averaging a double-double with 14.7 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. Murray is averaging 12.5 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, sitting second in assists with 84 and first in steals with 51. Fellow sophomore guard Maci Morris is averaging 11.7 points per game and has hit a team-best 45 3-pointers this season.
Florida enters the game with a 13-13 overall record, including a 4-9 mark in conference play. The Gators are coming off a 74-67 loss at home to Missouri on Thursday. The Tigers hit 13 3-pointers against UF and went 19-for-20 from the free-throw line to earn the win. Senior forward Ronnie Williams paced Florida with 17 points with seven rebounds, while freshman guard Delicia Washington and junior forward Haley Lorenzen each had 16 points. The loss to Missouri snapped a two-game conference win streak for Florida that saw wins at Alabama and home against Arkansas.
The Gators’ roster features three players who are averaging double-digit scoring led by Williams with 18.8 points per game. Lorenzen is second with 12.5 per contest while Washington is averaging 11.1. Williams also leads the Gators on the boards, averaging 7.9 rebounds per game. Florida is forcing 19.0 turnovers per game this season, including 9.2 steals per game. The Gators are hitting 44.9 percent from the field overall, including 27.5 percent from 3-point land.
Sunday's meeting with Florida is the 54th all-time between the two teams with UK leading the series 28-25. The Wildcats have won nine of the last 12 meetings in the series.
Kentucky leads the all-time series in games played in Lexington, 14-10. The Wildcats have won six of the last seven meetings in Lexington. Florida's last win at Memorial Coliseum was Jan. 5, 2014 when they earned an 83-73 victory. Matthew Mitchell is 10-4 all-time against Florida as a head coach.
Kentucky and Florida met twice last season with each team winning a game. The Gators got the best of the Wildcats in the lone regular-season meeting, posting an 85-79 victory in Gainesville. Akhator had a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Epps scored 27 points with seven rebounds. But Florida shot 53.8 percent from the field and outscored UK 50-28 in points in the paint to earn the win.
The Wildcats returned the favor in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament, posting a 92-69 victory over Florida. Epps was again the star with 22 points, while Akhator had another double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Then-senior Janee Thompson had four 3s in the game for 19 points as UK outrebounded Florida 51-34 and outscored the Gators in points in the paint 42-28.
UK Athletics Photo: UK assistant coach Lin Dunn gives instructions during Kentucky's road victory over Arkansas Thursday night.