One of the coldest Kentucky summers on record is winding down, and hasn’t really left us with much to talk about. Coach Mark Stoops and the rest of the football staff have once again spent the summer holding out to announce the starting quarterback, while the men’s basketball team spends time in the Bahamas with new assistant coach Barry “Slice” Rohrssen. Other than that, pretty much nothing notable has happened. The UK Hoops’ offseason has also been slow from a news point of view, except for some changes to the coaching staff.
Earlier this summer in Part I, I took a look at women’s basketball news from the season’s end on March 29 up until June 3. Let’s look at what has gone on since then:
August 4: ESPN Announces Tip-Off Marathon, Features UK
At the beginning of every college basketball season ESPN shows 24-straight hours of basketball as part of the Tip-Off Marathon. This year, the event will begin with a rematch between the UK Hoops team and the Baylor Bears on Monday, November 17 at 7pm on ESPN2. Last season, Kentucky split two games with the Bears, both at neutral sites. In Jerry World on December 6, UK defeated Baylor in a 4OT thriller in the first game of the double-header with the men. The game, played in a mostly empty arena due to an ice storm in Dallas, broke a women’s college basketball record for points scored in a game, with the final score of 133-130. That was not the only record broke that night: O’Neill’s 43 points off the bench were the most in Kentucky school history. The Lady Bears were able to get revenge, though, beating UK 90-72 in the Sweet 16. The game this season against the Bears will be apart of the women’s “Pack the House” event. During the event last season, UK took on Duke in front of a sold out Rupp Arena crowd of over 23,000.
The marathon that begins with UK Hoops in Rupp Arena, will conclude in Indianapolis during the State Farm Champions Classic, where the men will take on Kansas at 9:30 on Tuesday on ESPN. Some other noteworthy games during the Tip-Off:
SMU vs. Gonzaga
UConn vs. Stanford (women)
Auburn vs. Colorado
Miami vs. Florida
Manhattan vs. UMass
Baylor vs. South Carolina
Wichita State vs. Memphis
Marquette vs. Ohio State
Texas Tech vs. LSU
August 5: Big Blue Madness Campout Set for September 17
Expecting a huge number of campers again this year, UK announces that you will be able to set up camp three days before ticket distribution. Tickets will be given out on Saturday, Sept. 20 at 7am outside of Memorial Coliseum, as usual. The Madness will be held at Rupp Arena on Friday, Oct. 17 to unofficially kickoff another basketball season in the Bluegrass.
August 13: Tamika Williams Added to Staff
Coach Matthew Mitchell announces that former UConn player, Tamika Williams, has been hired as an assistant coach. Mitchell in a statement said, “I have been a long-time admirer of Tamika Williams and her contributions to the game of basketball… Tamika has experienced success as a player, coach, broadcaster and in the business world. Her knowledge of the game coupled with the wisdom she can provide our players will be an invaluable asset to the Kentucky program. Tamika is a tremendous role model for our players and I couldn’t be happier to welcome her as the newest member of the Big Blue Nation.” As the number-one girl’s high school player in America, Williams chose to play her four years of basketball at UConn from 1998-2002, where she won two NCAA championships. She was chosen 6th overall in the WNBA draft, and experienced success during her professional career, leading the league in field goal percentage during a season. Over the past few years she has worked with nonprofit organizations as well as broadcasting for ESPN. Before that she was a graduate assistant at Ohio State and Kansas.
Williams will also be joined by new assistant coaches Adeniyi Amadou and Christian Stefanopoulos.
August 14: 2014-2015 Non-Conference Schedule Announced
With just two months until Big Blue Madness, and only three until the first regular season game, it’s time to get excited. When the conference schedule comes out and we get closer to the start of the season, we’ll preview this upcoming year, where Coach Mitchell hopes to have another deep postseason run — stay tuned!