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Kentucky women host Western Carolina tonight

Taylor Murray (Vicky Graff Photo)

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 18 University of Kentucky women’s basketball team continues its five-game home stretch tonight when it welcomes the Western Carolina Catamounts to Memorial Coliseum for a 7 p.m. ET tip. 

The game will be streamed on SEC Network+ with Christi Thomas and Dick Gabriel on the call. The action can also be seen through WatchESPN on computers, smartphones or tablets. Darren Headrick will have the call on the UK Sports Network on 630 AM in Lexington. Live stats and free live audio will be available online at UKathletics.com.   

Single-game tickets are $10 (all ages) in reserved seating areas, while general admission tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children (ages 6-18) and seniors (age 65+). Senior guard Paige Poffenberger is scheduled to sign autographs following the game on the main concourse near the Lexington Avenue entrance. Young fans are encouraged to take advantage of the Kid Zone pregame with games, poster making stations, coloring stations and more.

Spectator parking is located in all E-lots surrounding Memorial Coliseum and are off control 3 hours prior to tip. Additionally, the South Limestone Garage (PS#5) and the Rose Street Garage (PS#2) are available 2 hours prior to tip. With the Gatton Student Center lot and expansion of North Craft lot there are 238 additional parking spots for spectators this season around Memorial Coliseum. The Bill Gatton Student Center is available as a pay-to-park option. Availability is based on the Gatton Student Center Event Schedule.

The Lexington Parking Authority Transit Center Parking Garage, located between High Street and Vine Street is available for parking after 5 p.m. during the week and all day on the weekends. Additionally, a free shuttle service will pick up in the High Street lot beginning 2 hours prior to tip. UK Athletics Event Staff will be at the Transit Center Garage Entrance to assist with directing patrons to the correct shuttle pick-up location.

Parking is prohibited in any R (Residential) lots. Vehicles parking in R lots without a proper permit, along yellow curbs, grass spaces, or other non-specified and unapproved areas may be subject to ticket and/or tow. Disabled spectator parking is available with a valid, state issues disabled hangtag in the E lot North of the Craft Center. These spaces are available on a first-come, first-served basis until full.

Shuttles are available beginning 2 hours prior to tip off and pick up and drop off near the South Limestone Garage (PS#5) and near the Transit Center Parking Garage and High Street Lot. Shuttles will start back up after halftime to return guests to their parking areas, the shuttle will discontinue service 1-hour post-game.

Doors to Memorial Coliseum open 1.5 hours before tip and UK Athletics encourages women’s basketball fans to arrive early to ease traffic and parking congestion around the Coliseum. For more information on parking around Memorial Coliseum and other game-day questions visit UKathletics.com.

Kentucky (10-1) is coming off a strong performance over the weekend against Middle Tennessee, taking down the Blue Raiders 72-55 behind an impressive first half. The Wildcats shot a season-best 71.4 percent from the field in the first half, going 15-for-21 overall and 5-of-7 from long range. For the game, UK shot a season-best 56.8 percent from the field and 60 percent from 3. Senior guard Maci Morris led Kentucky with 14 points, going 4-of-6 from the field, 1-of-1 from 3 and 5-of-5 from the charity stripe. Sophomore forward KeKe McKinney posted a career-high 13 points with a career-high five blocks in the game, while freshman guard Blair Green had 11 points and went 3-of-3 from long range.

The Wildcats have been led this season by freshman guard Rhyne Howard, who is averaging 17.9 points per game and 6.9 rebounds per game. The native of Cleveland, Tenn., has added 26 steals, 25 assists and 13 blocks. Morris is averaging 16.5 points per game and has hit a team-best 29 3-pointers this season at 42.6 percent from long range. Senior guard Taylor Murray is averaging 14.8 points and leads UK with 46 assists and 38 steals.

Western Carolina enters Tuesday’s game with a 2-8 record, including a 0-5 mark on the road. The Catamounts have had 14 days off since they last played on Dec. 4 against USC Upstate, earning a 68-64 overtime win. WCU is averaging 57.1 points per game this season, hitting 36.7 percent from the field and 28.2 percent from long range. The Catamounts are averaging 23.4 3-point attempts per game and hitting 6.6 of those tries. WCU has a -5.7 turnover margin entering the game averaging over 20 turnovers per game.

Freshman guard Jewel Smalls leads the Catamounts this season by averaging 9.1 points per game, adding 4.9 rebounds per game and team-best 20 steals. Senior guard Angel Allen is averaging 8.4 points per game with 4.3 rebounds per game and 22 assists while Junior forward Tess Harris is averaging 8.0 points per game and has hit a team-best 19 3-pointers. Junior guard Judith Martin Ruiz leads the team in assists with 41, but also has 51 turnovers this season.

This is the first all-time meeting between Kentucky and Western Carolina.

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