Women's basketball: How No. 7 Kentucky and No. 4 Louisville match up

November 30, 2013 

Kentucky Marist Basketball

Kentucky's Samarie Walker, center, drives the ball as Kastine Evans (32) looks on during the first half of an NCAA women's basketball game against Marist at the McCann Arena, Friday, Nov. 8, 2013 in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. (AP Photo/Karl Rabe)

KARL RABE — AP

UK's starters

Sophomore point guard Janee Thompson was the star of last season's 48-47 comeback victory over Louisville. In that game, Thompson came off the bench to score 13 points — all in the second half — including the go-ahead three-pointer with 8 seconds left. She has started all seven games this season and leads the Cats with 25 assists.

Senior forward DeNesha Stallworth is UK's leading scorer — 13.7 points per game — and ranks third in the Southeastern Conference with a 62.7 field-goal percentage. She is the only Wildcat on the 50-player watch list for the Naismith Trophy, which was released on Monday.

Senior forward Samarie Walker is the SEC's leading rebounder — 10.3 boards a game — and one of only two players in the conference averaging a double-double this season. She'll be a key player against a Louisville team that — like UK — is ranked among the best in the country in rebounding.

Senior guard Kastine Evans has been the team's best three-point shooter this season — 13-for-25 (52 percent) — after making just 26.7 percent of her three-point attempts last season. Evans is second on the team in scoring at 13.1 points per game.

Junior guard Bria Goss is one of five Wildcats to lead the team in scoring over the first seven games of the season. She's made her last 10 free-throw attempts and ranks seventh on UK's all-time list at 78.6 percent.

Louisville's starters

Senior guard Shoni Schimmel is the only Cardinal on the 50-player watch list for the Naismith Trophy. She's already U of L's all-time leader in three-pointers and will likely finish her career among the school's top three players in scoring, assists and steals.

Junior Bria Smith is listed as a point guard, but she's not a threat to shoot it from long range. Smith has not attempted a single three-pointer in seven games this season and has made only three in her career. She does lead the Cards in field-goal percentage, making 27 of 40 attempts (67.5 percent).

Senior guard Antonita Slaughter is a Louisville native and the team's third-leading scorer (10.7 points per game). Slaughter is also the only Cardinal making more than 35 percent of her three-point attempts (35.3 percent). She had a career-high nine rebounds in last season's loss to UK.

Senior forward Asia Taylor missed all of last season with a hip injury but has started all seven games for the Cardinals this season. She recorded a career-high 23 points in U of L's big victory over Louisiana State last month.

Junior forward Sara Hammond is Louisville's leading rebounder (7.4 per game) and second-leading scorer (11.0 per game). The former Rockcastle County standout was the first women's player from Kentucky chosen for the McDonald's All-American Game.

UK's bench

Junior point guard Jennifer O'Neill leads the group of Kentucky reserves, which includes six players that average more than 10 minutes per game.

O'Neill — who started 32 games last season — averages 11.0 points per game and is second on the team with 21 assists.

Junior post player Azia Bishop averages 6.4 rebounds in just 16.1 minutes per game. Senior guard Bernisha Pinkett has been one of UK's most-efficient scorers. Freshmen McDonald's All-Americans Linnae Harper and Makayla Epps also provide a spark off the bench.

Louisville's bench

Like UK, the Cardinals have a deep bench that includes six players averaging double-digit minutes per game.

Senior guard Tia Gibbs was the leading scorer and played more minutes than any of the starters in the Cards' overtime victory over No. 11 Oklahoma last month. Junior guard Jude Schimmel is second on the team behind her older sister with 25 assists.

Sophomore forward Cortnee Walton is among U of L's top rebounders, though she has only two total in the last two games.

Intangibles

Strength of schedule: U of L has had to face tougher competition early in the season, which could give them an advantage in a close game down the stretch. The Cards already have wins over two Top 20 teams — LSU and Oklahoma — as well as last week's hard-fought victory over well-regarded Florida State.

UK's toughest contest was at Middle Tennessee. Four of the Cats' seven games have been decided by 39 or more points.

Memorial Magic: UK has won the last 15 times these teams have played in Memorial Coliseum. The Cardinals have not won a game in the building since 1979.

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