LEXINGTON, Ky. – Eight home games, including matchups vs. Duke and Louisville in Rupp Arena, and a road game at first-time opponent Arizona State highlight the University of Kentucky’s 2015-16 women’s basketball non-conference schedule, it was announced Thursday. Altogether, the Wildcats will face four teams that appeared in the NCAA Tournament last season, including three who finished in the Sweet 16.
“Once again, I think we put together a non-conference schedule that is challenging and one that our fans will enjoy,” UK Hoops head coach Matthew Mitchell said. “We will play four NCAA Tournament teams in Arizona State, Duke, Louisville and Tennessee State and two other teams, Eastern Michigan and Middle Tennessee, who advanced far in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament. This schedule should help us in the preparation for the always-rugged Southeastern Conference.”
Kentucky will open the 2015-16 regular season on Nov. 8 with an exhibition game vs. Union University of Jackson, Tenn., in Memorial Coliseum followed by the home opener against first-time opponent Rice on Nov. 13. The Wildcats will make their first trip to Wells Fargo Arena on Nov. 15, traveling to Arizona State, which advanced to Sweet 16 last season before earning a No. 8 final ranking.
UK returns to Memorial Coliseum to close out November with a four-game homestand vs. Morehead State (Nov. 18), Colorado (Nov. 22), Eastern Michigan (Nov. 25) and Jackson State (Nov. 29).
The month of December opens with a road contest at Northern Kentucky on Dec. 2, followed by the first of two “Pack the House” games on Dec. 10 vs. Louisville in Rupp Arena. UK has won the last four meetings in the rivalry and three straight in Lexington. The teams have met only three times in Rupp Arena, the last coming in 2007. UL holds a 2-1 lead in the downtown venue, claiming each of the last two contests in the legendary arena after UK won the first-ever contest in Rupp in 2003.
Rounding out the non-conference schedule is a road game at Middle Tennessee State on Dec. 13 before UK’s second game in Rupp Arena on Dec. 20 when Kentucky takes on Duke. The game will serve as the Wildcats’ second “Pack the House” game of the season. UK is 1-1 vs. Duke in Rupp Arena. Tennessee State will close out the non-conference portion of the schedule on Dec. 28 in Memorial Coliseum.
Kentucky, which is entering its 42nd season of varsity women’s basketball and ninth under head coach Matthew Mitchell, is coming off its school-record sixth consecutive NCAA Tournament berth. Six letter winners return in 2015-16, including senior Janee Thompson (Chicago) who will return after missing the final two months of last season with an injury, juniors Kyvin Goodin-Rogers (Lebanon), Linnae Harper (Chicago) and Makayla Epps (Lebanon) and sophomores Alexis Jennings (Madison, Ala.) and Alyssa Rice (Reynoldsburg, Ohio). Senior and 6-foot-6 center Ivana Jakubcova (Bratislava, Slovakia) will also be available for action after sitting out last season with an injury.
New additions to the roster this season include freshmen Batouly Camara (New York), Maci Morris (Pineville), Morgan Rich (Scottsville) and Taylor Murray (Odenton, Md.), along with junior college transfer Evelyn Akhator (Lagos, Nigeria). Oregon transfer Chrishae Rowe (Riverside, Calif.) will be available for action following the fall semester, while Cincinnati transfer Makenzie Cann (Lawrenceburg) will sit out the 2015-16 season due to NCAA transfer rules.
Game times and TV selections are still to be determined and the Southeastern Conference schedule is set to be released at a later date.
Season tickets are available for purchase for $65 online at UKAthletics.com/tickets or by calling the UK Ticket Office at (859) 257-1818 or (800) 928-2287. Lower level reserved tickets for UK’s game vs. Duke and Louisville in Rupp Arena are also available for only $14 (as a package) by calling the UK Ticket Office. Seats will be assigned in September after the season ticket renewal deadline. All other single-game tickets will go on sale in late October.