UK Women's Basketball

Notes: Dunlap set to return to UK women's lineup

UK's Victoria Dunlap left, looks to return to her All-America form Sunday against Louisville after sitting out two games due to injury.
UK's Victoria Dunlap left, looks to return to her All-America form Sunday against Louisville after sitting out two games due to injury. Charles Bertram | Staff

Victoria Dunlap had to sit out most of the last two games after suffering a mild concussion at a tournament in Mississippi last week.

But she's ready to get back on the court on Sunday.

"I don't have a headache anymore," she said Friday. "I'm feeling pretty good."

Despite the bump on the head, Dunlap said she welcomes what she knows will be "an aggressive, physical game."

"I'm looking forward to the battle it's going to be," she said. "It's not going to be easy, but I think it's going to be a fun, intense game."

The reigning Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, who is averaging 15.5 points, 9.8 rebounds, 3.3 steals and 2.8 assists, drew big praise from Louisville Coach Jeff Walz.

He compared her to former Louisville star Angel McCoughtry, who had her number retired during the Cards' season opener.

"Victoria Dunlap is a kid on film that works as hard as Angel works," he said. "She's a Kodak All-American for a reason. There's never a question of what she's going to do. She goes out there and gives it everything she's got."

Dunlap was dominant last season in the game against Louisville at Memorial Coliseum. She scored 27 points, grabbed nine rebounds and had a career-high eight steals and four blocked shots.

Coincidentally, last season she also sat out the game before Louisville with a minor injury.

Pack the new house

If Louisville manages to literally pack the house (Yum Center capacity 22,000), it would be the largest crowd in which the UK seniors have played in their career.

In the center's first game, the Cardinals drew a crowd of 22,124 for their opener against Tennessee.

UK's seniors of Dunlap, Carly Morrow and Amber Smith played in front of 19,259 at Tennessee their freshmen year. The next season, there was a rowdy crowd of 16,337 at Freedom Hall.

"I'm expecting it to be crazy," UK junior Keyla Snowden said. "I'm really excited to see what (the new arena) looks like, but I'm more excited to go out and beat Louisville."

Testing loyalties

Two Kentucky starters admitted that they grew up Louisville fans and have family members who still cheer on the Cardinals.

My family says "they're Kentucky girls' basketball fans because of me, but other than that they're still Louisville fans," said guard A'dia Mathies, who is from Louisville and had the Cardinals on her final list of schools before opting to go to UK.

Since her family still cheers for Louisville, does this mean Mathies does, too?

"Uh, no," she said.

Samantha Drake, a freshman forward from Bardstown, said her family made a smooth transition from red to blue when her brother signed to play football at UK.

Both schools have four players from their home state. UK has Mathies, Drake and Lexington natives Snowden and Sarah Beth Barnette.

The Cards have Louisville natives Monique Reid, Tia Gibbs and Antonita Slaughter as well as Shelby Harper.

Drake noted just how many houses get divided when the rivals play in any sport.

"When you're a kid from the state of Kentucky, it's a big game you always look forward to," she said. "It means a little more to us."

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