UK Women's Basketball

Mitchell hopes crowd is a factor for UK women, too

The Kentucky women's basketball team will make its sixth appearance in the WNIT — its fourth in the last five years — when it hosts Chattanooga on Thursday night at Memorial Coliseum.

The Wildcats, who received an at-large bid to the WNIT, have a 12-4 record all-time in the post-season event and claimed the title in 1990.

"We are looking forward to playing tomorrow night, especially at home in front of our fans," UK Coach Matthew Mitchell said on Wednesday. "It was an electric atmosphere in here last night for the men's NIT, and I think that all Kentucky fans can see how special Memorial Coliseum can be with a raucous crowd. If we can have one for our game tomorrow night, it can definitely help us play well. A big crowd would mean a lot to us."

The Cats are led by a pair of All-SEC second-team selections in Victoria Dunlap and Eleia Roddy.

Dunlap, a 6-foot-1 sophomore forward, ranks second in the Southeastern Conference in rebounding (9.0) and leads UK in scoring (12.6 per game), steals (53) and blocks (34).

Roddy, a 6-foot-3 senior forward/center, has endured four knee surgeries in her career but has finally been able to show her full potential in her final season as a Wildcat. She averages 12.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game and leads the SEC in double-doubles with 11.

Junior Amani Franklin also scores in double figures for the Cats with 11.4 points per game.

The Lady Mocs (22-9, 17-3 Southern Conference) won their 10th consecutive regular-season title but lost to College of Charleston 53-51 in the semifinals of the conference tournament.

Chattanooga is led by Southern Conference Player of the Year, Shanara Hollinquest. She led the conference in scoring (16.2) and field-goal percentage and is second in the league in rebounding with 7.9 per game.

Junior guard Jenaya Wade-Fray is sixth in the league in scoring and leads the Lady Mocs with 61 three-pointers on the year.

Senior forward Erin Ogan, averaging 11.7 points per game, is third in the conference in rebounding (7.7) and ninth in three-point field-goal percentage, making 39.1 percent of her attempts.

"We are playing a very tough opponent, and Chattanooga has a great program," Mitchell said. "They have been widely successful in their conference and have had one of the winningest programs in women's basketball over the last 10 or 12 years. They have some players that can cause us problems so we will have to be ready to play tomorrow night."

Should UK advance, it will play at Wisconsin in the second round at 2 p.m. Sunday.