UK Women's Basketball

UK women's notes: Injured Dunlap says she'll play against Duke

Victoria Dunlap's knee is still a bit swollen and slightly sore, but the Kentucky senior said she won't miss Tuesday night's game at No. 3 Duke.

"It feels good," she said Monday after her first full practice since suffering a bone bruise in a game Thursday against Tennessee-Martin.

"I did some half-court stuff, warmed up and was able to run on it," she said.

Before practice Monday, Coach Matthew Mitchell said the plan was to have Dunlap go light on the injured knee to have her ready for the battle of top-10 teams.

"She'll practice today, and she'll try to go tomorrow night full speed," he said. "We'll limit her activity today, but we expect, unless we have a real severe setback today, we expect her to be in the starting lineup tomorrow night."

Dunlap, who also worked on the bike extensively Monday, said she couldn't imagine missing such a big game.

"I'm just ready to show more of the world about Kentucky and that we can play basketball, that we are ranked where we should be ranked. I'm just real excited to show more of our team," she said.

"To play with a team like Duke and their program would show we're a threat to be reckoned with and we have a serious program here."

No Smith decision yet

Kentucky is still a few weeks away from knowing exactly what will happen with senior point guard Amber Smith this season.

The team's emotional leader, who tore her anterior cruciate ligament in late July, has said she was rehabbing it with the hope of returning this season. She has a red-shirt season available to her.

Mitchell said nothing has been determined.

"She's progressing nicely," he said. "She can do some shooting. ... There are a lot of things laterally she can't do, but she's running straight ahead. She's out there with us."

The coach said he expects a decision will be made near the end of January.

"There will be a lot of factors going into it, and we're not trying to pull a surprise on anyone or withhold information," he said. "It just isn't the time to make the decision."

Cozy Cameron

It's been more than 50 years since any Kentucky basketball team has played at the famed Cameron Indoor Stadium, and it will be a first for the UK women.

The men played at Duke's basketball venue twice in the late 1950s but not since then.

Both times the UK women have faced Duke, it has been on neutral courts, and the Cats have lost.

Cameron has been a cozy home for the women, who have won 38 of their last 39 games there. Duke is averaging 4,696 fans for home games. The largest crowd for a women's game this season was 6,114 against No. 7 Texas A&M.

Duke Coach Joanne P. McCallie called it a "special place" that seems to bring out the best in every team, not just the Blue Devils.

"Funny things happen at Cameron," she said Monday. "People get so excited to play here. All sorts of things happen. You never know. We seem to get great basketball from everybody we play."

UK's Dunlap said she was intrigued by the fans there.

"The games they have on TV, both the guys' games and the girls' games, their fans are pretty good," she said, "and I'm pretty excited about it."

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