Jan. 1, 2015
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The women’s basketball team (11-4) will tip off its 2015 Southeastern Conference slate with No. 11/11 Kentucky (11-2) on Friday at Foster Auditorium. The game is scheduled for 2 p.m. CT and will air on SEC Network +.
Friday’s game will air on SEC Network + with Mick Gillispie (play-by-play) and former Crimson Tide head coach Rick Moody (analyst) on the call. The game can also be heard on the Crimson Tide Sports Network with Roger Hoover announcing the action. There will be live updates throughout the game available on Twitter @AlabamaWBB.
Friday’s game will be the 42nd meeting between Alabama and Kentucky. The Wildcats hold a 24-17 advantage in the series, however the Crimson Tide won the last as it edged out UK, 57-55, in Lexington on Jan. 23, 2014. Alabama’s last win in Tuscaloosa came on Feb. 16, 2012, 77-75.
Alabama heads into SEC play with an 11-4 mark after topping Mississippi Valley State on Sunday in Tuscaloosa, 71-40. The Crimson Tide has outscored its opponents 229-125 on its current three-game winning streak. UA was led in scoring by junior Nikki Hegstetter’s 15 points, while freshman Meo Knight and sophomore Oceana Hamilton contributed 11 points apiece. The Tide had eight players record three or more rebounds, led by freshman Quanetria Bolton, who finished with eight. Alabama’s bench added 36 points and UA scored 28 points off 26 Devilette turnovers. The Tide also limited MVSU to 14 made field goals in the game. Sophomore Ashley Williams continues to lead the team for the season in scoring with an average of 14.5 points, while senior Briana Hutchen leads the rebounding efforts with 7.4 boards per game.
Kentucky heads into Friday’s game with an 11-2 overall mark with losses coming to Illinois (71-77) and at No. 13/13 Duke (68-89). The Wildcats closed out non-conference play with an 87-75 victory over Tennessee State where Alexis Jennings recorded 27 points and eight rebounds to earn SEC Freshman of the Week honors. As a team, Kentucky is averaging 79.5 points per game, 10 points better than its opponents, and 42.9 rebounds per contest. The Wildcats have four players averaging double figure points, led by senior Jennifer O’Neill with 15.2 points per contest. Senior Azia Bishop and sophomore Linnae Harper combine for over 13 rebounds per game to lead the Wildcats on the glass.
Alabama head coach Kristy Curry has a history of success in her 15 year career. Nine of her teams have made the NCAA tournament, including a trip to the 2001 championship game while coaching at Purdue. With the Boilermakers, she won two Big Ten regular season titles. She holds an overall coaching record of 334-169 and has led nine teams to 20-win seasons. Kentucky is under the direction of Matthew Mitchell, who is in his eighth season as head coach of the Wildcats. Since taking over in Lexington, he has led UK to a school-record five consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, including three NCAA Elite Eight finishes (2010, 2012, 2013). Mitchell holds a 181-73 record as head coach and Kentucky and a 211-102 mark overall.
Alabama won the last meeting against then-No. 9/8 Kentucky off a last-second shot in Lexington to give the Crimson Tide a 57-55 victory. The win was Alabama’s first at Kentucky since 2002 and the first win on the road against a top-10 team for the Tide since it beat eighth-ranked Old Dominion, 79-68, on Dec. 5, 1998.