The Kentucky women’s basketball team has been selected to participate in ESPN’s seventh annual College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon, the network announced Monday. UK will play host to the Baylor Lady Bears on Monday, Nov. 17 in Rupp Arena at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2. Two-time defending national champion Connecticut plays at Stanford in the second game at 9 p.m. ET.
ESPN’s seventh annual College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon – more than 24 hours of consecutive coverage to mark the start of the 2014-15 season over Monday, Nov. 17 and Tuesday, Nov. 18 – will feature 19 men’s and women’s college basketball games across ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU.
The Marathon will include nine straight games tipping off every two hours beginning Monday, Nov. 17 with an ESPN2 tripleheader at 7 p.m., 9 p.m. and 11 p.m., plus two games on ESPNU. ESPN’s schedule of five consecutive games starts at noon on Tuesday and concludes with the State Farm Champions Classic which will feature UK’s men’s team vs. Kansas at 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Kentucky, ranked sixth in the espnw.com 2014-15 pre-preseason top 25 poll, will play host to 13th-ranked Baylor in UK’s annual “Pack the House” event as the Wildcats will look to sell out Rupp Arena for the second straight season. Last year, UK met Duke in the downtown venue and set a new single-season attendance record with 23,706 fans. The attendance marked the largest crowd ever to see a college women's hoops game in the Commonwealth.
Lower level reserved tickets are available now for only $9 by calling the UK Ticket Office at 859-257-1818 or 1-800-928-2287. Office hours are 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. ET Monday-Friday. Seats will be assigned in September after the season ticket renewal deadline. Season tickets are also available for purchase for $65 by calling the UK Ticket Office.
Kentucky, which finished last season 26-9 and advanced to its school-record fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and third straight Sweet 16, returns seven letter winners, including top scorer and Southeastern Conference Co-6th Woman of the Year Jennifer O’Neill (Bronx, N.Y.), and starters Bria Goss (Indianapolis) and Janee Thompson (Chicago). O’Neill, a 5-foot-6 senior guard, dropped in a team-high 12.6 points per game last year, while Goss, a 5-10 senior guard, was the team’s third-leading scorer with 10.2 ppg. Thompson, a 5-7 junior point guard, dropped in 8.6 points per game a year ago, while dishing out a team-best 107 assists. Also returning is senior center Azia Bishop (Toledo, Ohio) who saw action in all 35 games last season with five starts and senior forward Jelléah Sidney (Queens Village, N.Y.) who averaged 3.1 points and 3.0 rebounds per game and was second on the team in steals with 41. The dynamic sophomore duo of Linnae Harper (Chicago) and Makayla Epps (Lebanon, Ky.) look to pick up where they left off last season. Harper, a 5-8 guard and member of the SEC All-Freshman team and SEC All-Tournament team, averaged 6.9 points per game overall, including 9.5 ppg in postseason play. Epps, a 5-10 guard, was one of the team’s best shooters, hitting .483 percent from the field (56-of-116).
New additions to the roster this season include junior college transfer and 6-foot-6 center Ivana Jakubcova (Bratislava, Slovakia), freshman shooting guard Jaycee Coe (Gainesboro, Tenn.), freshman and forward/center Alexis Jennings (Madison, Ala.) and freshman center Alyssa Rice (Reynoldsburg, Ohio). Sophomore forward Kyvin Goodin-Rogers (Lebanon, Ky.) also will be available for action after sitting out last season with a pulmonary embolism.
The Wildcats are 1-2 all-time vs. Baylor after two matchups last season. UK won the first meeting on Dec. 6 in the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The Wildcats defeated the ninth-ranked Lady Bears in a four overtime thriller, 133-130. The 263 combined points set a new NCAA record, besting the previous high for a Division I women's game of 252 points in SMU's 127-125 win over TCU, also in four overtimes, on Jan. 25, 1997. The Wildcats also set school records for points (133), free-throws made (49) and free-throws attempted (66). O’Neill came off the bench to net a school-record 43 points on 14-of-31 shooting, netting 33 in the second half and overtime periods. Thompson added a career-high 20 points in the matchup. Baylor came back to defeat the Wildcats on March 29 in the NCAA Tournament Regional Semifinals in South Bend, Ind., 90-72.
All telecasts of the Marathon will also be available through WatchESPN, accessible online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app, and streamed on televisions through Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox 360 or Xbox One to fans who receive their video subscription from an affiliated provider.