Cats, Gators Square Off in Gainesville on Sunday
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The University of Kentucky women’s basketball program will face Florida on Sunday, Jan. 15 at 3 p.m. ET inside Exactech Arena at Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network, with Brenda VanLengen and Holly Warlick on the call.
Kentucky leads in the all-time meetings with Florida, 34-27, in a series that began in 1978, while the two teams are tied, 12-12, in games played in Gainesville. The Wildcats have won seven of the last nine meetings with the Gators, including two of the last three, while Florida won the last matchup in the series on Jan. 20, 2022, in Memorial Coliseum, 77-52.
Darren Headrick will have the call on the UK Sports Network on 630AM WLAP in Lexington for the sixth straight season. Free live audio will be available online at UKathletics.com and live stats will be available online at KentuckyStats.com.
The Wildcats, who are 8-9 this season and 0-5 in the league, are still looking for their first conference win after Kentucky dropped a home contest to No. 1/1 South Carolina, 95-66, in Memorial Coliseum last Thursday. Kentucky held a 10-point lead over South Carolina in the middle of the second quarter, before the Gamecocks rallied in the final stanza to defeat the Wildcats by their average margin. UK scored more points in regulation than any opponent against USC, the No. 1 scoring defense in the nation, this season. The Gamecocks narrowly led the Wildcats in rebounding, 35-29, while the two teams tied in second-chance points, 17-17.
Maddie Scherr, a junior guard, reset her career high in points and led Kentucky in points for the second straight game, scoring 25 points against South Carolina. She knocked down a career-high 10 field goals on 15 attempts, including draining a career-high five 3-pointers on seven attempts, in the game. Scherr has scored 20-plus points in back-to-back games. Prior to that stretch, she had never scored in the 20s.
The Florence, Kentucky, native is the only player in the Southeastern Conference averaging at least 9.7 points per game and 5.1 rebounds per game that also has at least 5.1 assists per game and 2.12 steals per game. She is also the only player in the SEC that has at least 87 assists and 36 steals.
Overall this season, the Cats are making 41.1 percent of their shots from the floor for 68.9 points per game. Robyn Benton, who has scored in double digits in every game this season, is leading the team with 15.9 points per game, while Jada Walker is right behind her with 12.6 points per game. Meanwhile, the Cats are holding opponents to 42.3 percent shooting for 67.2 points per game.
Kentucky continues to be disruptive on defense, leading the league all season with 22.1 turnovers forced per game. In the process, UK is scoring more than 33.0 percent of its points off turnovers. Kentucky is wreaking havoc on that side of the ball, with the league’s leaders in steals, including Walker (1st, 41), Scherr (2nd, 36) and Benton (5th, 32).
Florida has a 12-5 overall record, including a 7-2 mark at home and a 1-3 mark in the SEC. UF, who just enjoyed a bye game, is coming off a loss to Georgia, 82-77, at home last Sunday. KK Deans led the Gators with 21 points, while Nina Rickards added 17 points, including 10 points in the final minute that helped trim Georgia’s lead to one point late in the game.
Three Gators are averaging at least 10 points per game in Leilani Correa (16.0), Kirsten Deans (14.4) and Nina Rickards (13.4), while three players are averaging at least six rebounds a game in Jordyn Merritt (6.3), Rickards (6.0) and Ra Shaya Kyle (6.0). The team is hitting 42.6 percent of their shots scoring 74.4 points per game, while keeping their opponents to under 39.0 percent shooting and 66.9 points per game.
Florida is knocking down 16.18 per game, which is second in the league and 14th in the nation. It averages 22.71 attempts per game, sitting at third in the conference and 18th nationally.
For more information on the Kentucky women’s basketball team, visit UKathletics.com or follow @KentuckyWBB on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.