UK women prep for basketball season with Thursday exhibition

13th-ranked UK Women meet Lee University Thursday night

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ/UK Athletics) –  The official start of the 2021-22 season is getting close and in preparation for the upcoming season the No. 13 University of Kentucky women’s basketball team will host its lone exhibition of the season Thursday at 7 p.m. ET vs. Lee University inside Memorial Coliseum.

“We are so excited about the start of the season. Basketball season is officially here, and I look forward to getting started tomorrow,” UK head coach Kyra Elzy said. “It is always good to play someone besides yourself and we had the opportunity to do that in our closed scrimmage last Saturday. A couple of things of note, I am really excited about this team and how hard we play. We have really committed to fitness, which I have alluded to before, but it showed in our closed scrimmage. Our defensive hustle is where I want it to be. We have room to grow, obviously, but the tone is there, and I was pleased with that. We shot the ball well and that is always good to see the ball go in the basket. I am excited to see the different players that are going to step up. This is going to be an exciting journey. Obviously, it will come with ups and downs, but we look forward to what the season holds.”

Admission to the game is free and season ticket holders will have their reserved seat locations. Although a ticket is not required, Thursday is a good opportunity for season ticket holders to practice their mobile tickets for entry into Memorial Coliseum. For more on mobile tickets, visit UKathletics.com/mobiletickets.

Regardless of vaccination status, all guests will be required to wear a mask while visiting Memorial Coliseum. Fans will not be required to show proof of vaccination to enter, but face coverings – covering the nose and mouth – are required for all fans as they watch the game from their seat and enter, exit, and move around Memorial Coliseum. Children 2 and younger will not be required to wear a mask. If spectators are unable to wear masks, they are encouraged not to attend in person for the sake of their health and the health of others.

Doors to Memorial Coliseum will open one hour prior to tip. All bags must adhere to the UK Athletics Clear Bag policy. All bags and items will be searched. To avoid additional touch points, fans are strongly encouraged to not bring unnecessary bags to Memorial Coliseum. More on UK Athletics’ Clear Bag policy can be found online, here.

Parking for games is available starting three hours prior to tip off in a majority of surface lots surrounding Memorial Coliseum, including the High Street Lot, East Maxwell Lot, Joe Craft Center Lot, College View Lot, Alumni Center Lot and Career Center Lot. The Cornerstone Garage and Parking Structure 2 open two hours prior to tip. The Gatton Student Center Lot is pay-to-park while all other parking options are free. The JCC Lot is primarily used limited mobility/handicap parking. No shuttles are being offered from any lot this season.

Thursday’s game will not be televised, however Darren Headrick will have the call on the UK Sports Network on 630AM WLAP in Lexington. Live stats and free live audio will be available online at UKathletics.com.

Thursday will be Kentucky’s lone exhibition game of the season. The Wildcats did have a closed scrimmage this preseason against EKU. UK will officially start the season Tuesday, Nov. 9 against Presbyterian inside Memorial Coliseum at 7 p.m. ET. The game will air on SEC Network+.

For the 13th time since 2007, UK will begin its season ranked or receiving votes in the national polls as the Associated Press tabbed Kentucky at No. 13 in its preseason poll. This marks the third straight season that Kentucky has started ranked in the top 15 of the AP Top 25.

UK returns nine players from last year’s team. In all, UK returns 70% of its scoring, 3-pointers made and assists, while it brings back 63% of its rebounding and 58% of its steals. Rhyne Howard enters the season as a preseason first-team All-American by the AP while league coaches and league media tabbed her the SEC Preseason Player of the Year. Howard is also on the Cheryl Miller Award Preseason Watch List.

Howard has 1,655 career points which ranks seventh most in program history. She needs 37 more points to tie Maci Morris for sixth all-time and 135 more points to move into the top five all-time.

It was a successful first season for the Kentucky women’s basketball program under Elzy, who became the first UK women’s basketball head coach to lead his or her team to the NCAA Tournament in their first season at the helm.

During the 2020-21 season, Kentucky defeated five ranked opponents, including back-to-back against top-15 teams for the first time since 2013. The two wins led Elzy to be named the espnW National Coach of the Week and the United States Basketball Writers Association tabbed UK its first-ever team of the week. UK was one of 10 teams in the nation to have four wins against top-25 NCAA NET teams entering the tournament.

Elzy announced officially Wednesday that senior guard Blair Green did sustain a ruptured Achilles and will miss the 2021-22 season. Elzy said that Green has successful surgery Tuesday and was recovering nicely.

Lee is coming off a 15-8 season a year ago as the Flames were picked to finished second in the Gulf South Conference this season. Haley Schubert was named Preseason All-GSC by league coaches. Overall, veteran head coach Marty Rowe brings back 11 players from last year’s squad.

For more information on the Kentucky women’s basketball team, visit UKathletics.com or follow @KentuckyWBB on TwitterInstagramFacebook and TikTok.

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