Kentucky women’s basketball learns its ACC/SEC Challenge opponent

The second annual ACC/SEC Challenge promises strong matchups and the reuniting of familiar faces once more.

Kentucky women’s basketball fans learned of the Wildcats’ opponent in this year’s ACC/SEC Challenge on Wednesday afternoon. The Wildcats will play North Carolina in Chapel Hill on Dec. 5, setting UK head coach Kenny Brooks (and former Virginia Tech head coach) against UNC head coach Courtney Banghart for the 13th time since 2019. Brooks holds a 10-2 record against Banghart’s Tar Heels teams during that time. Kentucky trails North Carolina 1-5 in all-time meetings.

Other notable ACC/SEC Challenge matchups include Oklahoma at Louisville on Dec. 4, and Duke at South Carolina, Texas at Notre Dame and Stanford at LSU on Dec. 5.

The Tar Heels finished eighth in the highly competitive ACC last season, and finished the year with an overall record of 20-13 (11-7 ACC). North Carolina reached the Round of 32 in the 2024 NCAA Tournament before falling to the eventual national champion Gamecocks.

New Kentucky women’s basketball coach Kenny Brooks is 10-2 against North Carolina since 2019.
New Kentucky women’s basketball coach Kenny Brooks is 10-2 against North Carolina since 2019.

North Carolina graduated leading scorer Deja Kelly, who transferred to Oregon in May. UNC also saw transfer portal exits from now-Kentucky Wildcat Teonni Key, as well as freshman center RyLee Grays (Virginia), sophomore guard Paulina Paris (Arizona), graduate forward Anya Poole and graduate forward Alexandra Zelaya (UNC Wilmington).

The Tar Heels signed a pair of transfers in sophomore guard Trayanna Crisp (Arizona State) and graduate point guard Grace Townsend (Richmond). Banghart has also signed a trio of top-70 recruits in the class of 2024 — 6-5 center Blanca Thomas (No. 32), 5-9 point guard Lanie Grant (No. 59) and 5-11 guard Jordan Zubich (No. 69).

The Wildcats return just two players from last year’s roster, guards Cassidy Rowe and Saniah Tyler, following the firing of former head coach Kyra Elzy and the hiring of new head coach Kenny Brooks. Graduate transfer point guard Georgia Amoore (Virginia Tech) is expected to lead UK in scoring this season, as well as orchestrate the offense. Amoore averaged 18.8 points, 2.6 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game with the Hokies last season during their ACC regular season championship campaign. Brooks has also signed impact transfers in graduate guard Dazia Lawrence (Charlotte), who averaged a team-high 18.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.8 steals per game last season, and graduate guard Jordan Obi (Penn), who averaged 14.8 points, a team-high 7.7 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game last year.

UK’s 2024 signing class includes 6-1 guard Tanah Becker of Hamilton Heights Christian Academy, 6-2 guard Lexi Blue (No. 40 in espnW) of Lake Highland Prep, 6-3 junior forward Amelia Hassett of Eastern Florida State College and 6-7 center Clara Silva, a 2024 Team Portugal U20 selection who is considered one of the class of 2024’s top international prospects.

Most recently, Brooks signed 6-1 sophomore guard Dominika Paurová from Oregon State. Paurová was a 2023-24 PAC-12 All-Freshman Team Honorable Mention. Gabby Brooks, Brooks’ daughter who redshirted her freshman season last year at Virginia Tech, is also listed on the Wildcats’ 2024-25 roster online, but no official announcement regarding her signing has been announced by the program.

The Wildcats will also host the first installment of a new home-and-home against Purdue on Dec. 14, with the expectation that Purdue will host a nonconference game during the 2025-26 season. Tip times and TV designations for both the Purdue game and the SEC slate will be announced at a later date.

UK will also play Louisville in the regularly scheduled rivalry game on a to-be-announced date.

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