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Women’s Basketball

Former Wildcat Shines for Puerto Rico in Pan-Am Games

@KentuckyWBB

A former University of Kentucky star almost upset Team USA in the Pan-Am Games.

Representing Puerto Rico, Jennifer O’Neill scored a game-high 19 points and added three rebounds and three assists in a three-point semifinal loss to the Americans. Even though O’Neill’s squad lost, they still made it to the podium after defeating Columbia in the third-place game.

O’Neill’s best game in Peru was a 23-point performance against Brazil, the team that ultimately defeated the United States in the Gold Medal Game.

Before she began competing internationally, O’Neill starred for Matthew Mitchell’s Cats, finishing her career 14th on the program’s all-time scoring list. The 5-6 guard from the Bronx also ranks third in three-pointers made. You probably remember her best for her school-record 43 points in a four-overtime victory over Baylor in the ice game at Jerry World in 2013.


UK coach Matthew Mitchell singing his way to recruiting

UK women’s basketball head coach Matthew Mitchell is a man of many talents. When most fans think of him, they immediately think of his dance moves during Big Blue Madness. Others may know of his talent behind the microphone and singing.

This week, Mitchell and his staff hit the road to begin a new recruiting process. Yesterday, he posted a video on his way to Indianapolis where he mentioned how excited he was to start the new recruiting process. Like any true performer, he used the opportunity to show off his pipes.

While on his way back to the Bluegrass today to continue his recruiting trail, Mitchell checked back in to continue in the singing pattern:

This shows off the fun loving personality of Mitchell and should help relate to the younger generation.

The UK women have a bright future ahead of them with some strong players coming in and Rhyne Howard returning for her sophomore season.

The question I have to ask is why we don’t get a John Calipari singing video on the way to recruit? We have had a rapping governor and a singing women’s coach, so the ball is in Cal or Mark Stoops’ court. How will they take it?


Former Wildcat Finds New Home

One former Kentucky women’s basketball player is taking her talents to the state of Tennessee.

Lipscomb University announce it has added former Wildcat center Dorie Harrison to its roster. A McDonald’s All-American and Top 100 recruit, Harrison averaged 6.7 points and 3.8 rebounds as a freshman in 2017-18. Last season she sat out for personal health reasons.

Harrison took a not-so-subtle shot at her former head coach in the Lipscomb press release.

“I believe in the vision Coach Sumski has for the program, and I am excited to evolve and progress with it, but mostly I honestly believe she supports me as a person first before anything else, which is so rare to find,” Harrison said.

““I’m truly humbled and blessed to be transferring into a culture in which young women are faithfully empowered, encouraged, and cultivated to be great.”

A Nashville native, Harrison’s older sister, Isabelle, was an All-SEC performer at the University of Tennessee and is currently a member of the WNBA’s Dallas Wings.


Former WBB star Valerie Still inducted into Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame

Former WBB star Valerie Still inducted into Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame

@KentuckyWBB

Kentucky’s all-time leading scorer has officially been inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

Former Wildcat star Valerie Still, who played at Kentucky from 1979 to 1983, was inducted this evening at the Historic Tennessee Theatre in Knoxville, Tennessee.

I’ve seen a lot of orange this weekend and that’s fine, but there’s a lot of Kentucky blue in here tonight and I’ve seen it and love it!” Still said during her acceptance speech. “I want to thank that little, little girl from Camden, NJ that was told she was crazy to follow her dreams … I didn’t have money, a fancy car, a house with a white picket fence, AAU ball, etc., but I did have dreams. That’s all I needed.”

In her time at Kentucky, Still finished as the school’s all-time leader (men or women) in career scoring (2,763) and rebounding (1,525). The three-time consensus All-American led the program in scoring four-straight seasons with a career average of 23.2 points. At one point during the 1981-82 season, she led the nation in both scoring and rebounding before finishing second in both categories (24.8 PPG and 14.3 RPG).

In September of 2005, Still was inducted into the charter class in the newly-created UK Athletics Hall of Fame, where she was the only female of 88 total inductees.

Congratulations to the former Wildcat on such an incredible honor!


Kentucky WBB forward Dorie Harrison transfers to Gulf Coast State Junior College

University of Kentucky women’s basketball forward Dorie Harrison is no longer with the program.

According to a release from UK, the 6-foot-3 sophomore will not return to Kentucky for the 2019-20 academic year and will transfer to Gulf Coast State Junior College this season.

“Dorie is an important member of our Kentucky family and we all fully support her and the steps she is taking,” said head coach Matthew Mitchell.

Harrison played in 32 games in 2017-18 as a freshman with eight starts, averaging 6.7 points per game and 3.8 rebounds per game for the Wildcats. The Nashville, TN native was named SEC Freshman of the Week back on January 30, 2018 after finishing with 15 points and five rebounds against Alabama, along with 16 points and four rebounds at Arkansas.

She missed last season due to personal health reasons.

Out of high school, Harrison was named a 2017 McDonald’s All-America nominee and held offers from Ole Miss, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Vanderbilt, and Tennessee.


UK Athletics

Rhyne Howard named to USA Women’s U19 World Cup Team

UK Athletics

Rhyne Howard continues her domination. After spending a weekend of tryouts in Colorado, the Kentucky freshman has qualified for the 2019 USA Women’s U19 World Cup Team. She’s one of just 12 players from across the nation selected to participate, and she’ll be traveling around the globe to prepare and compete.

After leaving the trials, held at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, she’ll have some time at home before heading to Tokyo, Japan in early July for a scrimmage against the Japanese team. Then, she’ll spend several days in Bangkok, Thailand in mid-July to compete for the country’s eighth gold medal.

There were 30 women competing for a spot on the team, and the final 12-player roster includes some of the top talent in the nation, including 10 returning gold medals (including Howard) and two NCAA Champions. Selections were made by the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee, chaired by George Washington University head coach Jennifer Rizzotti.

via USAB

This summer won’t be the first Howard spends competing on the international stage. She spent last summer in Mexico, helping the U18 team to a 5-0 gold-medal run, earning MVP honors along the way.

This year, she’s the only current SEC player to make the cut. Here’s the rest of the roster:

Francesca Belibi (Regis H.S./Centennial, Colo.); Aliyah Boston (Worcester Academy, Mass./St. Thomas, USVI); Cameron Brink (Southridge H.S./Beaverton, Ore.); Paige Bueckers (Hopkins H.S./St. Louis Park, Minn.); Caitlin Clark (Dowling Catholic H.S./West Des Moines, Iowa); Queen Egbo (Baylor/Houston, Texas); Naz Hillmon-Baker(Michigan/Cleveland, Ohio); Rhyne Howard (Kentucky/Cleveland, Tenn.); Jordan Nixon (Notre Dame/New York, N.Y.); NaLyssa Smith (Baylor/Converse, Texas); Celeste Taylor (Long Island Lutheran/Valley Stream, N.Y.); and Hailey Van Lith (Cashmere H.S./Wenatchee, Wash.).

Howard is the real deal, and she’s representing Matthew Mitchell and the UK women’s basketball team on the international stage (again). It’s going to be fun watching her skills continue to develop over the next three seasons.