UK Women set to face Florida International

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky women's basketball team looks to extend its four-game winning streak as it plays host to Florida International Thursday, Dec. 1 in the first of three consecutive home games at Memorial Coliseum. Tip off is set for 7 p.m. EST. The first 150 fans will receive UK Hoops mousepads.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky women’s basketball team looks to extend its four-game winning streak as it plays host to Florida International Thursday, Dec. 1 in the first of three consecutive home games at Memorial Coliseum. Tip off is set for 7 p.m. EST. The first 150 fans will receive UK Hoops mousepads.

“We’re 4-0, but we’re going to have a tough team coming in here tomorrow,” UK Coach Mickie DeMoss said. “Florida International, also 4-0, has traditionally had a very, very strong program. They have a lot of foreign players and they play a different style of basketball, so it will be interesting to see how we handle their style. It is more of an international style with a lot of penetration. We are just going to play Kentucky basketball and see how we match up against them.”

"Florida International has a big kid (center Lasma Bernsone)," DeMoss said, "she is from Latvia and I don't even want to try to pronounce her name but she is 6-foot-3, I can tell you that, and she is their leading scorer and rebounder.  She can catch and score and catch and kick it back out. So she is one matchup concern.  I don't think one person will be able to guard her for 40 minutes."

The Wildcats are led by sophomore Samantha Mahoney (Detroit) who averages 12.0 points per game. Junior Jenny Pfeiffer (North Vernon, Ind.) and freshman Carly Ormerod (Louisville, Ky.) follow in the scoring column with 11.5 and 11.0 ppg, respectively. Sophomore Eleia Roddy (Columbus, Ohio) leads UK on the boards and ranks second in the Southeastern Conference standings, averaging 9.2 rebounds per game.

Sarah Elliott's knee injury looms in the background as a potential factor, "She played a lot of minutes in California on a different playing surface. We are hoping her knee continues to heel."

Florida International, a member of the Sun Belt Conference, is coming off a 61-39 rout of Stetson in the Golden Panthers’ annual Thanksgiving Classic.

The 12 members of FIU’s team represent five nations — the United States, Croatia, Finland, France and Latvia. The Golden Panthers tie Jacksonville State with the nation’s highest percentage of foreign players at 50 percent with six of their 12 players from another country.

This is the second meeting all-time between the Wildcats and the Golden Panthers. The teams last met on Dec. 17, 2000, when UK defeated FIU 60-58 in the Baptist Health Systems Fab Four Orange Bowl Classic.

The Cats, who are 4-0 for the first time since the 1998-99 season, are coming off an impressive showing in their Thanksgiving tournament, bringing home the tournament title at the Pepperdine Classic in Malibu, Calif. UK defeated Indiana State in the first round, 68-58, and captured a 67-54 win over Hofstra in the championship round. It was UK’s first regular season tournament since the 2001-02 season.

"We are still trying to figure out who are go-to scorers will be on a consistent basis," DeMoss said, "But our defense is really sound and if we can keep rebounding well we should be in pretty good shape. We have a decent inside-outside punch. Sam Mahoney has the potential to put up big numbers every night.  She plays to the level of her competition, so she really stepped up in California.  Sarah Elliott, the same way, we had to go inside to her and she came through."

While in California, where they won a tournament at Pepperdine, the players got the opportunity to bond and develop some chemistry as a team, "The players have not really learned a lot about each other off the court.  And a lot of these girls had never been to California.  So, we gave them a chance to do some fun things - a lot of sight seeing.   While there, they didn't know anyone else so they had to get to know each other. But back on the court they got back to business."

The 4-0 Cats have begun to move the meter on a national scale. While they did not crack the top 25 rankings nationally, they did get some votes, "I just noticed that in the top 25 poll we got 16 votes, and this is the kind of encouragement that will motivate our players," DeMoss said, "When you are building a program with young players anything like this is a real encouraging sign.  I think we deserve it. I haven't seen all the teams of the top 25, but I think this team has certainly played well enough to deserve the recognition."

"I think our players grew ad matured while we were in California," DeMoss continued, "Carly Ormerod, the freshman, was really tested on this trip. She had to handle the ball against strong, physical pressure.  And Jenn'e Jackson gave us some valuable minutes."

Kentucky continues its three-game homestand by playing host to North Carolina A&T on Tuesday, Dec 6, and Georgetown University on Thursday, Dec. 8. The Georgetown game will be televised live on the Big Blue Sports Network.

Single-game tickets are available in the ticket office in Memorial Coliseum for $5 adults/$2 senior citizens and children ages 18 and under. UK students, faculty and staff are admitted free with valid identification based on availability. For ticket information, log on to ukathletics.com or call the UK ticket office at 859-257-1818 or 1-800-928-CATS (2287).

 

 


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