Nov. 30, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The 49th "Battle of the Bluegrass" is set to showcase two of the nation's top women's basketball teams when No. 9/8 Kentucky takes on No. 7/6 Louisville on Sunday, Dec. 2 in the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky. The game will be televised live on ESPNU at 6 p.m. ET and will be available on WatchESPN.
|Kentucky at Louisville
Sun., Dec. 2 - 6:00 p.m. ET
Game Notes: UK | UL
Radio: UK IMG
The game also can be heard on the UK IMG Sports Radio Network with Neil Price calling the action. Fans can follow the UK Hoops team on Twitter at @UKHoopCats and use #UKHoops to comment on the game.
"Tough game ahead here against the University of Louisville," UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell said. "They have an outstanding basketball team this season and we are looking forward to having a chance to go see how we stack up and how much progress we have made over the past couple of weeks. It ought to be a good game and tough matchup for us and we will have to work hard to earn a victory at Louisville."
Sunday marks the 49th matchup between the squads but the first meeting with both teams ranked in the top 10 nationally. The Cats lead the overall series 30-18, but trail 13-9 when playing in Louisville. UK's last win in Louisville was Jan. 20, 1999 (69-56) in Freedom Hall.
The home team has won in each of the last four meetings and the last five games have been decided by an average of 22.2 points per game. The last time this rivalry was decided by single digits was in 2006 when the Cardinals won by eight points (83-75). UK won last year's game 74-54 in Lexington. The 20-point margin of victory marked the largest margin of victory over a top 10 opponent in program history.
"I would suspect that this is going to be a really tough game, a really competitive game and we will certainly be trying to prepare today and tomorrow for Louisville to play their best and I'm sure they are doing the same thing," Mitchell said."
The Wildcats are 5-1 overall and looking to keep their four-game winning streak alive after defeating Miami University on Wednesday (92-53).
Senior All-America candidate and Louisville, Ky., native A'dia Mathies is leading the Wildcats' charge this season. She averages a team-high 14.5 points per game and tops the team in assists (20), steals (16) and 3-pointers made (14). She has climbed to No. 7 on UK's all-time scoring list with 1,522 career points and is tied for fifth on the steals list with 267. Junior forward Samarie Walker (West Carrollton, Ohio) is the team's leading rebounder with 8.0 boards per game, while fellow junior forward DeNesha Stallworth (Richmond, Calif.) has swatted a team-best 11 blocks this season.
Louisville is 8-0 this season after a decisive 76-42 win over Eastern Kentucky on Wednesday night. The Cardinals were led by sisters Shoni Schimmel and Jude Schimmel with 12 points apiece. Monique Reid followed with 11 points and Sara Hammond pulled down a team-high seven rebounds.
Overall, Shoni Schimmel leads the Cardinals in scoring (13.3 ppg), assists (4.3), steals (2.1) and 3-point field goals made (19). Hammond follows her in the scoring column with 10.9 ppg and pulls down a team-best 8.1 rebounds per game.
Media Opportunity - Nov. 30, 2012
Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell
"Tough game ahead here against the University of Louisville. They have an outstanding basketball team this season and we are looking forward to having a chance to go see how we stack up and how much progress we have made over the past couple of weeks. It ought to be a good game and tough matchup for us and we will have to work hard to earn a victory at Louisville."
On the games in the series being one-sided as of late...
"I don't really have an explanation for that; it's been surprising to me. Three years ago I think Louisville had a lot of injuries and they had really gotten after us for several years and I think our players were extremely motivated for that but I think that had a lot do with some personnel issues they had with injuries and things like that so we had a real good day. The next year, we just weren't very focused going in and then last year I was surprised at that (score) because they had a really good team last year, too. There really is no explanation for that. I certainly hope it's not that way this year, if we are on the losing end I can tell you that. I would suspect that this is going to be a really tough game, a really competitive game and we will certainly be trying to prepare today and tomorrow for Louisville to play their best and I'm sure they are doing the same thing."
On Louisville being a similar team to UK...
"YI just have so much respect for how they prepare for a game. They really do a great job of identifying what your weaknesses are and they put a lot of pressure on you in those areas. They really do a fantastic job of preparing for games. What we will really have to get over there and do is be tremendously focused and try to stick to what we want to do and try to stay as close to our identity as what we do well and (we) can't get rattled. I thought we really got rattled over there two years ago. I thought the good play of Louisville really got their crowd into it and discouraged us and that's a recipe for disaster. You really have to stay strong, stay steady, try to make some plays early so you can take the crowd out of it but they are as good at preparing for a game as anybody we will play."
#1, A'dia Mathies, Sr., Guard
On being a senior from Louisville and facing the Cardinals for possibly the final time...
"I'm very excited to play. It's just another game we are trying to go out there and win and being able to play in front of my home crowd it's very exciting to go back home and know all the people there supporting me that couldn't make it here. I can go back home and they can support me there."
On what challenges Louisville presents...
"They are very smart. They play different defenses and make you think too much and when you think too much you usually make mistakes and turnovers. They play a lot of different defenses and switch things up and I think that really helps in forcing a lot of teams into turnovers."
On how UK is keeping its poise going into a big game like Sunday...
"I don't think we get too rowdy or amped up. I think we will be prepared for the different defenses that they will bring out. I know we just have to keep attacking and keep being aggressive and play Kentucky basketball."
On using the defeat at Louisville two years ago to their advantage...
"That is a loss we don't want to suffer ever again and we don't really want to lose any games. We look at that game as motivation but we also look at we don't want to lose any more games. It being a rivalry game, stakes are going to be high so we just want to go out and play the best we can."
On the importance of hustle points...
"It's very important. I know that if we come out with any game without any energy we are capable of losing any game. (Louisville) being a great team and a rivalry game it's even more important so we have to do all the little things to make this a victory."