UK Hoops named a 2 seed

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UK Hoops celebrated its No. 2 seed and a program-record third-straight NCAA tournament appearance Monday night at head coach Matthew Mitchell’s house in Lexington.

“It’s a really historic night for us, and we’re so excited. It’s the first time in our school’s history that the women’s program has been to three straight tournaments. It’s the first time we’ve ever gotten a seed this high (since 1982),” Mitchell said. “It’s a great night for us and we couldn’t be more excited about advancing to the tournament and getting a two seed and having a chance to compete for a national championship. It’s a real, real exciting night for our program.”

The Cats will start play in Ames, Iowa, Saturday at 4:20 p.m. (ESPN2) against the McNeese State Cowgirls (26-7) of the Southland Conference.

The Cowgirls come in with a nine-game winning streak after winning the Southland Conference tournament championship.  They were 0-2 on the season against ranked opponents, losing 62-72 to Texas A&M and 50-90 to No. 1 Baylor.  They also dropped a 64-43 to SEC member LSU.

“I think it’s going to be tough. I don’t think anybody (has it easy),” junior guard A’dia Mathies said. “Whether it be Baylor or McNeese State, whoever we’re playing, it’s going to be tough every game.”

If the Cats defeat McNeese State they will advance to play the winner of  Green Bay (30-1) and Iowa State (18-2).

“That’s just the rub here in the tournament. It’s one of the difficult parts but I think it makes it exciting and makes it challenging,” Mitchell said when asked about the possibility of playing Iowa State on its home court.

The other potential second-round opponent, No. 10 Green Bay, has defeated several power-conference teams and has an NCAA RPI ranking of No. 22.

“Listen, our team has worked hard to earn this seed, we’ve had some great success this year and we’ve been able to beat a lot of good teams. This time of year you better play well and you better be ready to beat anybody,” Mitchell said.

The Cats were the No. 2 seed in the Kingston Region, tying for the highest seed ever in the program history (with the 1982 team).  The number one seed in the region is the Connecticut Huskies. The Sweet 16 and Elite Eight rounds of the region will be played in Kingston, R.I.

“We’re excited. A two seed, can’t really get better than that. We’re excited, no matter where we go,” senior guard Keyla Snowden said. “We’re always excited. This is a huge tournament and we’re just glad to be a part of it.”