The University of Kentucky women’s basketball team will begin its 45th season of varsity basketball and the 12th under head coach Matthew Mitchell on Wednesday when the Wildcats play host to Alabama State at 7 p.m. ET inside historic Memorial Coliseum.
The game will be streamed on SEC Network+ with Christi Thomas and Jeff Piecoro on the call. The action can also be seen through WatchESPN on computers, smartphones or tablets. Darren Headrick will have the call on the UK Sports Network on 630 WLAP in Lexington. Live stats and free live audio will be available online at UKathletics.com.
Behind a disruptive full-court defensive effort that allowed the Wildcats to force 31 turnovers and score 41 points off those miscues, UK defeated Lincoln Memorial 101-64 in its lone exhibition of the season last Friday. Kentucky used a strong effort on both ends of the court to earn the victory, shooting 48.8 percent from the field on 41-of-84 shooting while LMU shot 42.4 percent. The Wildcats limited their miscues with just seven turnovers and allowed just five points off those turnovers.
True freshman Blair Green led Kentucky in scoring going 8-of-17 from the field for 17 points. The native of Harlan County, Kentucky, added four rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block. Howard scored 15 points with five assists, five rebounds, three steals and two blocks. Five Wildcats scored in double figures in total, including 16 points from sophomore Tatyana Wyatt, who went 6-of-10 from the field with nine rebounds – eight offensive – and three blocks. Senior guard Taylor Murray had 14 points and a team-best six assists, while fellow senior guard Maci Morris had 11 points, five rebounds and four assists.
UK is 36-8 all-time in season openers, including winning nine in a row. Last season, UK defeated Sacramento State 101-70 in its season opener at Memorial Coliseum. The Wildcats are 40-4 all-time in home openers and have won nine in a row as well.
Alabama State comes into Memorial Coliseum following an impressive 81-56 exhibition victory over West Georgia last week. Three Lady Hornets posted impressive scoring performances with freshman Ayana Emmanuel posting a game-high 26 while fellow freshman Jayla Crawford had 21 and four rebounds. Another freshman, Taylor Aikerson had 18 points and hit four 3s. The Lady Hornets shot 53.6 percent from the field while limiting West Georgia to just 35.2 percent from the field. The Lady Hornets were picked to finish seventh in the SWAC this season after finishing 8-22 last season, including 6-12 in SWAC play.
Coach Freda-Freeman Jackson enters her 21st season for the Lady Hornets and welcomes nine new faces to the program. Returning guards Courtney Lee and Arleatha Gipson will bring maturity to the frontcourt, while Tatyana Calhoun and Victoria Harvey will provide a strong presence on the interior.
Kentucky leads the all-time record in games played vs. Alabama State, 1-0, with the lone game being a 75-46 win inside Memorial Coliseum in December 2006.
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