UK-Notre Dame women pits former LexCath stars Snowden, Novosel

N.D.'s Novosel, UK's Snowden stay friends

jsmith3@herald-leader.comNovember 21, 2010 

Lexington Catholic loyalties will be tested on Sunday.

That's when Natalie Novosel's No. 12 Notre Dame team comes to Lexington to take on Keyla Snowden's No. 9 Kentucky team.

Both were star guards on the Lady Knights' teams that won back-to-back state championships and went an impressive 71-2 in a two-year span.

They played basketball together since Snowden was in sixth grade, she said.

She said they are still good friends even though their hectic schedules keep them from being able to see each other as much as they want.

But they won't be pals once they hit the floor at Memorial Coliseum Sunday.

"When we step on the court, we're not friends," Snowden said Saturday, laughing. "For 40 minutes, we're definitely not friends."

There hasn't been any trash talk leading up to the game, though.

"Definitely not," Snowden said. "It's all about good sportsmanship."

Snowden said she's heard from several of their former mutual teammates that they plan to come to the game, but will decline to root for one player over the other.

The current version of the Lady Knights will be in the Memorial Coliseum stands for the Pack the House game at 1 p.m. Sunday. That team is now coached by former Lexington Catholic standout and Kentucky player Chelsea Chowning.

Novosel and the Irish were in the same NCAA Tournament regional as UK last season.

At the time, Novosel called it a "roller-coaster season" for her as far as playing time and losing confidence when she lost her starting spot early in the season.

But in three games this season, she's seemingly found her place and is tied with teammate Skylar Diggins as Notre Dame's leading scorer (14.3 points).

Novosel tied her career high with 19 points in the Irish's double-overtime loss to No. 15 UCLA on Thursday.

Jump shots

Kentucky will face Notre Dame for the first time in school history Sunday.

UK Coach Matthew Mitchell said Irish Coach Muffet McGraw wanted to give Novosel a chance to play in her hometown. Mitchell lamented that Novosel didn't opt to go to Kentucky and play in front of those fans full time.

"While my feelings were hurt that Natalie didn't want to come to Kentucky," he said half-joking, "that's how much I thought of her from the recruiting process that we would welcome (the game) if we could do that for Natalie Novosel."

UK will travel to South Bend next season.

■ Kentucky has a 19-game home win streak on the line Sunday, the second-longest in school history.

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