UNC women host UK tonight

IC previews Kentucky and talks to a former UK player about the 2001 Cats.

The 24th-ranked University of North Carolina women's basketball team (5-1) hosts Kentucky (2-1) on Wed., Nov. 28. Tipoff is 6:30 p.m. at Carmichael Auditorium.

Kentucky, a member of the Southeastern Conference, is 2-1 on the season following wins over Temple (64-55) and Sam Houston State (100-55) and a loss at Memphis (63-55).

Sophomore center Selia 'SeSe' Helm leads the team in scoring with 19.0 points per game and also is Kentucky's top rebounder, averaging 7.7 per game. Also scoring in double figures is junior guard Rita Adams with 16.7 points per game.

Kentucky averages 73.0 points per game and has allowed 57.7 to opponents.

The Wildcats finished 6-21 last season, 2-12 in the SEC. All five starters return from that team.

UNC and Kentucky have meet twice previously, with UNC taking both games.

Many basketball fans know about Kentucky's coach, Bernadette Mattox. Some may not recognize the name at first glance but remember Maddox as being the first female D1 assistant when she served under Rick Pitino in 1990. Coach Maddox was also an All-American as a player at Georgia and coached US squads on the international level.

IC got the lowdown on Kentucky from a former UK player - Katie Veith. Veith, a 6-3 center, played for UK from 1996-1999.

IC - Tell us about the style of offense Kentucky plays?

KV - This year Kentucky is made up of mostly sophomores and freshman. Last year the freshman gained a lot experience playing or even starting in most or all the games. Kentucky's usually plays an inside out game. When I was playing we had some great outside shooters and some good size in the middle. This year that seems to be true. They try to run a motion type offense were penetration is key. UK will try to spread the offense out in order to open the middle up for the posts. The great thing about the post's game is the fact they can shoot outside and knock down the 15 footer consistently. That makes the defense have to respect that portion of their game.

IC- Kentucky plays a pressing defense normally, how effective does that have to be against a team that starts three guards, any one of which could be the point?

KV - It has to be very efficient. If you have 3 guards playing your 1,2 and 3, breaking a press comes naturally to them. The defense has to be active and relentless and the Cats can't miss any assignments or they can get burned. A lot of times when you play against that type of quickness the press is intended to contain the offense, to slow them down in order to get them out of their style of game.

IC - What do you think are the Wildcats strengths this season?

KV -UK's strengths this year, all their players are back from last years team. They have gained valuable experience at all their positions. The Cats have some valuable leadership in Tonya McDole and Rita Adams. They have some great outside shooters and so far this year the Helms-Adams inside out connection has been working well.

IC -At Carolina, Coach Hatchell has held players out of preseason and even early season games over conditioing. Considering Coach Maddox likes an up-tempo game, were your preseason conditioning workouts difficult?

KV -When playing an up-tempo style of basketball you have to be in good shape. Preseason was always challenging. At that time, Chris Rounds was our strength and Conditioning coach. We would have workouts five days a week. This would include running on the track, treadmill workouts, sprint workouts, cardio workouts on the bike, agility work on the court (working on foot speed and defense) and our 3 day a week individual instruction where the players could work on skills for certain amount of time per week and finally our pick-up games of basketball.

IC - You played in the paint during your time at UK - tell us about SeSe Helm.

KV -Playing in the SEC is rough, especially for a post player. You have to be strong inside offensively and defensively in order to be successful. SeSe is a player with a strong body and a nice touch. She has the strength to be a great player in the SEC. She has a great shot. She can beat you on the inside and outside on any given night. Defensively, she will gain her skills in time. Once she finds them, she'll be unstoppable.

UNC sports information contributed to this report

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