Wildcats and Eagles will tip at 7 p.m. ET inside historic Memorial Coliseum
Written by UK staff
LEXINGTON, Ky. – After two tough road games the first two weeks of the season, the No. 13 University of Kentucky women’s basketball team returns to Memorial Coliseum on Thursday at 7 p.m. ET vs. Morehead State to start a seven-game home stretch that spans nearly a month. The homestand concludes with back-to-back games inside Rupp Arena against Winthrop (Dec. 11) and No. 8 Louisville (Dec. 15).
UK Athletics is proud to honor all active and reserve members of the armed forces along with police, firefighters and first responders at the game Thursday as it is Heroes’ Day in Memorial Coliseum. In honor of Heroes’ Day, $3 general admission tickets are available throughticketmaster.com when using the promo code HEROES. Season tickets are available in upper-level reserved chairbacks (sections AA-JJ), lower-level reserved bleachers (sections R-Z) or general admission bleachers (sections RR-ZZ) for $69 per ticket.
Young fans are encouraged to take advantage of the Kid Zone pregame with games, poster making stations, coloring stations and more. Sophomore forward Dre’una Edwards from Las Vegas, Nevada is scheduled to sign autographs on the concourse following the game.
The game will be streamed on SEC Network+ with Jeff Piecoro and Dick Gabriel 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.
For the ninth time under head coach Matthew Mitchell, including the third straight season, the Wildcats have started the year with four straight wins. UK’s best start under Mitchell is 11-0, which the squad has accomplished three times. Kentucky is currently ranked No. 13 in the Associated Press Top 25 after starting its season ranked or receiving votes for the 11th time under Mitchell.
It has been a tale of two halves for Kentucky this season as UK is shooting 31 percent from the field in the first half, including 21 percent from 3, but in the second half, UK is shooting 38 percent from the field and 33 percent from 3. UK’s 50-47 win at Virginia marked the first time UK has scored 50 points or fewer in a win since defeating Louisville on Dec. 2, 2012. UK scored 48 points in that game. Kentucky has forced every opponent this season into 20 turnovers or more, including forcing a season-high 28 turnovers vs. Mount St. Mary’s. The Wildcats have forced 93 total turnovers this season and scored 90 points off those miscues amassing 36 percent of its total scoring.
Kentucky ranks 13th nationally and first in the SEC in scoring defense this season, limiting opponents to 47.8 points per game. UK is the only team in the league that has limited each of its opponents this season to 52 points or less. Sophomore guard Rhyne Howard leads UK averaging 15.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. Howard has recorded two double-doubles this season. Senior guard Sabrina Haines is averaging 11.0 points per game with 4.8 rebounds per game while she is 8-of-15 from long range. Junior posts Tatyana Wyatt and KeKe McKinney have been impressive this season with Wyatt averaging 7.8 points and 6.0 rebounds per game, while McKinney is averaging 29.7 minutes per game with 5.8 points per game and 6.5 rebounds per game.
Morehead State enters Thursday’s game with a 2-2 record. The Eagles lost their first two games of the season at Bowling Green and vs. Stetson before winning its last two games vs. Saint Francis (Pa.) and Midway (Ky.). In its last outing vs. Midway on Tuesday, Morehead State scored a season-best 107 points while limiting MU to just 55 points. Freshman guard Tomiyah Alford and junior guard Alyssa Nieves each scored 20 points in the game with Alford adding seven rebounds. Freshman guard Ariel Kirkwood scored 16 points with nine rebounds while senior forward Jaleesa Avery had 13 points and junior guard Lakeita Chappel had 10 points.
Overall this season, Morehead State is averaging 73.0 points per game while allowing opponents to score 61.5 points per game. The Eagles are hitting 38.7 percent from the field and 28 percent from long range. MSU is outrebounding teams by 4.0 rebounds per game while they are turning the ball over 16.5 times per game. Conversely, the Eagles have had success turning teams over forcing 25.5 turnovers per game.
Kirkwood leads the team with 12.8 points per game, adding 9.5 rebounds per game and leads the team with eight blocks. Alford is averaging 10.8 points per game with a team-high 13 steals while senior guard Breuna Jackson and sophomore forward Ellie Jo Johnson are each averaging 8.8 points per game. Nieves has hit a team-best nine 3-pointers this season.
Kentucky leads the all-time series in games played against Morehead State, 31-4, including a 21-1 mark in games played in Lexington. The Wildcats have won 14 games in a row against the Eagles and the two teams have played 10 of the last 11 seasons. The Wildcats and Eagles played last season in Memorial Coliseum on Nov. 28 with Kentucky earning a 87-57 victory. UK scored 52 points in the first half to take control of the game with a 52-23 lead at halftime. The game was more even in the second half with UK only outscoring the Eagles, 35-34. Maci Morris led Kentucky in the game with 31 points, going 12-of-20 from the field and 4-of-8 from long range. Rhyne Howard had 17 points in the game with 10 rebounds, while Jaida Roper scored 14 points – going 10-of-10 from the free-throe line – while KeKe McKinney scored 13 points with six assists. UK shot 46 percent from the field in the game, forcing MSU into 25 turnovers and scoring 38 points off those miscues.