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Kentucky women to honor lone senior Janee Thompson in home finale against Missouri

Looking to extend a four-game winning streak in the Southeastern Conference, the No. 15 University of Kentucky women’s basketball team will honor lone senior Janee Thompson on senior night Thursday when the Wildcats play host to No. 24 Missouri at 7 p.m. at Memorial Coliseum.

Thompson, who will be honored prior to tipoff, has played in 111 career games with 74 career starts with Kentucky, collecting a 99-31 record with her on the roster the past few seasons.

Kentucky senior Janee Thompson will be honored prior to Thursday's game against Missouri

Kentucky senior Janee Thompson will be honored prior to Thursday’s game against Missouri (UK Athletics Photo)

The Chicago native saved her best season for last, averaging 12.2 points per game this year with career highs in field-goal percentage, 3-point field-goal percentage, free-throw percentage and assists. Prior to her senior season, Thompson had made 36 career 3-pointers, while she has hit 43 already this season, while adding a team-best 128 assists to rank top 50 nationally in assists per game.

Kentucky (19-6, 8-6) enters the game on a four-game winning streak, posting double-digit wins over LSU, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and Arkansas. During the stretch, Kentucky is shooting 48.1 percent from the floor, including 37.5 percent from three range and scoring 75.2 points per game. The Wildcats have averaged 15.3 assists per game during that stretch, while forcing opponents into 15.8 turnovers per game in the four games.

Overall, Kentucky ranks 14th in the nation and second in the SEC in field goal percentage at 46.1 percent, while the Wildcats rank 35th in the nation and second in the SEC scoring 74.2 points per game. Kentucky is hitting 36.8% from the 3-point line, ranking 14th in the nation and first in the SEC in that category.

Junior guard Makayla Epps leads the team in scoring with 16.5 points per game, adding 4.9 rebounds per game, 4.6 assists per game and 30 steals. Thompson is second on the team in scoring and leads Kentucky in 3-point field goals made, while junior Evelyn Akhator is averaging 11.4 points per game with 9.1 rebounds per game. Sophomore post player Alexis Jennings is averaging 10.0 points per game with 6.9 rebounds per game, adding 21 blocks.

Missouri has compiled a 21-6 record, with all six losses coming in SEC play. Like the Wildcats, the Tigers did not lose a game during their nonconference schedule and started the season with a 13-0 run before being upended by then-No. 12 Tennessee on Jan. 4, 71-55.

Like Kentucky, Missouri is currently on a winning streak heading into Thursday’s contest. Mizzou took down Alabama, Arkansas and Auburn, with its last loss coming against Mississippi State on Feb. 7.

The Tigers are led in scoring by Sophie Cunningham and Jordan Frericks, who average 13.3 and 12.4 points, respectively. Frericks also paces the team in rebounds per game, with 7.8, and has recorded the most steals on the team with 36 and the second-most blocks with 20.

As a team, Missouri has been shooting at a .438 percent clip this year, including hitting 32.4 percent of its shots from beyond the arc. The Tigers average 69.9 points per game and allow just 57.6 ppg from their opponents, while holding opposing teams to 35.4% from the field.

Since the Tigers joined the Southeastern Conference in 2012, the two teams have squared off just five times in the history of the two programs. UK leads the all-time series 4-1, including a flawless 3-0 record since Mizzou joined the SEC. The Wildcats lead the all-time series in games played in Lexington, 2-0. Matthew Mitchell is 3-0 in his tenure at Kentucky against Missouri.

Last year, Kentucky defeated Missouri 83-69 in Columbia in the lone meeting between the two teams. Five Wildcats scored in double figures in that game, including 18 points and 10 rebounds from Epps, while Jennings had 10 points and six rebounds. UK forced Missouri into 22 turnovers and scored 23 points off those miscues.

The game will be available on the SEC Network+ with Jeff Piecoro and Christi Thomas calling the action. The game can be seen through WatchESPN on computers, smartphones or tablets. The SEC Network will show parts of all seven conference games played on Thursday as part of the SEC Network Whip Around Coverage.

Now in his 11th season, Neil Price will have the call on the UK Sports Network. Fans in Lexington can hear Price’s call on 630AM. Live stats and free audio will be available online at ukathletics.com.

Thursday’s game will be part of “Student Fandemonium” as students in attendance have a chance to win numerous prizes, including a 60-inch Vizio Smart TV, Apple TV, Beats wireless headphones, mountain bike and fitbit, Xbox Elite with controller and two games, Apple watch, GoPro with waterproof case, and mini iPad.

Thompson named to SEC community service team

Thompson has been named to the Southeastern Conference Community Service Team for her strong community service work in the Lexington since arriving on campus, it was announced by the league office on Wednesday.

It marks the 18th year for the SEC Community Service Team for women’s basketball. All league-sponsored sports have had a Community Service Team since 2004, with at-large teams for men’s and women’s sports being chosen from 1999-2003. The SEC began this concept with a football Community Service Team in 1994.

Thompson led Kentucky in community service hours volunteering all over campus, including visiting patients at UK’s Markey Cancer Center, UK’s Children Hospital and Habitat for Humanity, where she helped repair a local playground.

Earlier this year, after a large fire in the Lexington area, Thompson delivered cookies and donuts to a local firehouse on campus as part of Firefighter Appreciation Day.

From UK Athletics

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