Women's Basketball
No. 18 Wildcats, No. 6 Bulldogs Square Off Sunday in Memorial Coliseum

No. 18 Wildcats, No. 6 Bulldogs Square Off Sunday in Memorial Coliseum

by Evan Crane

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Memorial Coliseum will be rocking Sunday when the No. 18 University of Kentucky women’s basketball team attempts to get back in the win column by welcoming No. 6 Mississippi State for a 5 p.m. ET tip in the historic venue. Free pom-poms will be given away to Wildcat fans and tickets are available online at ukathletics.com/tickets.
University of Kentucky employees receive free admission to Sunday’s game plus three guests with a valid UK ID. Single-game tickets are $10 (all ages) in reserved seating areas, while general admission tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children (ages 6-18) and seniors (age 65+). Children aged 5 and under do not require a ticket in general admission areas. Young fans are encouraged to take advantage of the Kid Zone pregame with games, poster making stations, coloring stations and more. Senior guard Sabrina Haines is scheduled to sign autographs on the concourse following the game while former UK All-American Victoria Dunlap will be in attendance and honored during the game.
The game vs. Mississippi State will be broadcast on ESPN2 with Courtney Lyle and Carolyn Peck 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 630AM WLAP in Lexington. Live stats and free live audio will be available online at UKathletics.com.
Spectator parking is located in all E-lots surrounding Memorial Coliseum and are off control 3 hours prior to tip. Additionally, the South Limestone Garage (PS#5) and the Rose Street Garage (PS#2) are available 2 hours prior to tip. The Bill Gatton Student Center is available as a pay-to-park option. Availability is based on the Gatton Student Center Event Schedule.
Parking is prohibited in any R (Residential) lots. Vehicles parking in R lots without a proper permit, along yellow curbs, grass spaces, or other non-specified and unapproved areas may be subject to ticket and/or tow. Disabled spectator parking is available with a valid, state issues disabled hangtag in the E lot North of the Craft Center. These spaces are available on a first-come, first-served basis until full.
Shuttles are available beginning 2 hours prior to tip off and pick up and drop off near the South Limestone Garage (PS#5) and the High Street Lot. Shuttles will start back up after halftime to return guests to their parking areas, the shuttle will discontinue service 1-hour post-game.
Kentucky (18-5, 7-4 SEC) is coming off a tough loss at Arkansas last Sunday before having an open date this week. The Wildcats scored 85 points in the game but could not slow down the Arkansas offense, allowing the Razorbacks to score 103 points to grab a key Southeastern Conference win. UK did see the return of national player of the year candidate Rhyne Howard, who had missed the previous three games with a finger injury. Howard scored 20 points in the game as the Wildcats were led by junior guard Chasity Patterson, who scored a career-high 32 points going 11-of-18 from the field, 5-of-7 from 3 and 5-of-5 from the free-throw line. UK hit 11 3s in the game, but Arkansas went 14-of-21 from long range in the game, including 8-of-10 in the second half.
Howard leads Kentucky in scoring this season at 23.1 points per game while also pacing the Wildcats with 6.2 rebounds per game. Patterson ranks second on the team with 12.8 points per game and has 22 steals in 12 games while senior guard Sabrina Haines is earning 10.5 points and 4.2 rebounds per game while hitting 42.6 percent from long range. Fellow senior guard Jaida Roper is averaging 7.6 points per game and leads the Wildcats with 77 assists.
Mississippi State (22-3, 10-1 SEC) moved up several spots to No. 6 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 after back-to-back wins over top-25 ranked Tennessee and Texas A&M. The Bulldogs lone league loss this season came at No. 1 South Carolina, while its two out-of-conference losses are to highly ranked Stanford and West Virginia. Mississippi State is averaging 80 points per game this season while limiting opponents to 58.0 points per game.
Individually, MSU is led by freshman forward Rickea Jackson, who is averaging 14.2 points per game and 4.7 rebounds per game. Sophomore forward/center Jessika Carter is averaging 13.3 points and 9.0 rebounds per game while graduate guard Jordan Danberry is the only other Bulldogs averaging double figures at 12.6 points per game.
Kentucky leads the all-time series in games played against Mississippi State, 27-21. The Wildcats also lead the series in games played in Lexington, 12-9. UK had won 11 straight meetings in the series before the Bulldogs have won each of the last four meetings. UK has won five of the last six meetings in Lexington while Matthew Mitchell is 12-5 against Mississippi State as UK’s head coach.
For more information on the Kentucky women’s basketball team, visit UKathletics.com or follow @KentuckyWBB on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell
Opening statement…
“Well, it’s a big game for us this Sunday against a very good Mississippi State team. They’re playing well and have done well so far through their portion of the conference schedule. So, a very aggressive team, very talented and well-coached. It’ll be a tremendous challenge, but we’re working hard to get ready for it.”
On how Rhyne Howard is recovering from injury…
“She’s doing better. She’s doing well, and she had a great practice yesterday. She continues to improve and is still trying to work her way through it. She’s not 100 percent, but she played with tremendous effort and energy in practice, and she looked really good yesterday. So, she’ll give us everything that she has, and I thought that was a good experience for us at Arkansas on Sunday to learn what she can do and how to work around the hand brace. I thought she did a great job, so we’ll just keep plugging along the best we can and do the very best we can.”
On Chasity Patterson becoming a big part of our offense…
“Sure, yeah. I think she’s proven that she can do a number of things in the offense, so she can lead the offense and get them into plays, and she can deliver the ball to other teammates, makes some really good assists, does a good job of improving her defense. So, her scoring, you can see, when she takes a good three-point attempt, when her feet are set in offense, she’s shooting a very high percentage. She’s had to learn what’s a good one and what’s one you can pass up and get something else. I think she is learning that as well, and everybody can see how good she is with the ball, off a ball screen, the change of pace, change in direction, can create a very explosive jumper, can get to the rim, too, she also makes her free throws. So, she’s a very valuable scorer for us and continues to grow and integrate into the team, and she’s only a couple of months in. So, she is progressing really well. We absolutely have confidence in her being a top-level scorer for us.”
On what to take out of the Arkansas game…
“Well, I think you have to start with giving Arkansas a tremendous amount of credit. They just make so many plays, and there are certainly things we could’ve done better in the game, but there were a bunch of plays where we were in fairly decent position, and they made plays. They hustled, they were aggressive, and we let them separate in the third quarter. It wasn’t a total collapse by our team, but they just played better. They won that game and you have to give them credit, and learn what we can learn, and know that things that are important for Kentucky to win games are tremendous hustle, tremendous tenacity, grit, and find a way to play like that to win, and we didn’t get that done last Sunday. I give Arkansas a ton of credit, they really did a great job.”
On the bye week ahead of Mississippi State…
“Yeah, as I am sure a lot of teams are, we are really banged up right now. So, it was good to have a few days where we could try to respond, feel better, and I think the time off is beneficial. We are also able to get some good work in too, so it’s been a good week for us.”
On preparing for Mississippi State…
“Well, I think you have to start with how explosive they are, and you have to be ready to play a tough game and a mentally sharp game, because they feast on your mistakes and they create a lot of those if you’re not tough or sharp. So, to me, it’s so much about how we show up on Sunday prepared to play against a great team. Because, they’re doing such a great job of creating turnovers and turning those turnovers into points. We’ve had moments where we’ve been able to do that. So, I think that’s a really big part of the game. Can you be tough enough to take care of the ball. Can you score at what will be an extremely physical approach by Mississippi State. Can you be tough enough to play through that and to score points. They’re talented in every position. They’re really fast on the parameter, they have one of the top freshmen in the conference who is such a dynamic player, their postgame has a lot of size and athleticism there. So, they’re a complete team and playing well right now. They’re on a great roll. So, it will be a tremendous challenge for us. I think it’s really about how we show up and bring our very best preparation and focus in the game, and be really tough on Sunday.”
On Kentucky’s dynamic scoring performance this season…
“Well, it’s been certainly fun more nights than it hasn’t been, you know, when we’ve had people put the ball in the basket. So, we worked really hard leading up to the season to try and be a team that can score points. We have had a bunch of games where that has been fun to watch, and they continue to work. I think on a given night, we’re explosive and can really get going. So, it’s good to have those options. It’s good to have players working hard at it. We’ll just keep plugging along here and see if we can put our best foot forward.”

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