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    University of Louisville senior Sara Hammond, the only in-state player on the women’s basketball team, is 0-for-Kentucky in her career.

    She hopes to change that Sunday. That’s when the Cardinals (8-0), who are No. 7 in both national polls, will try to end their three-game losing streak to their archrivals - the 13th-ranked Wildcats (7-1). Tip-off for the Battle of the Bluegrass is set for 2 p.m. at the KFC Yum! Center.

    “Being a Kentucky girl, I bleed red and so being at home all the time I get a lot of negative talk about that,” Hammond, a native of Mt. Vernon, Rockcastle County HIgh School graduate and the 2011 Kentucky Miss Basketball, said Thursday night after scoring a game-high 19 points in Louisville’s 86-52 win over Iowa in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. “

    Personally for me, this is a big game, being from Kentucky. We all know what this rivalry is about. It’s kind of bragging rights for the rest of the year, and since I’ve been here, we haven’t beaten them. We kind of gave it away the last couple years.”

    Kentucky, which leads the all-time series between the two 32-17, has won the last three meetings 74-54, 48-47 and 69-64. Last year the Wildcats outscored the Cards 42-28 in the second half on their way to a five-point win in a battle of unbeatens and Top 10 teams.

    “It’s the next game on our schedule,” UofL coach Jeff Walz said. “It’s a big game. Every one is a big game. It’s a top-10 program, a top-10 team. They might be 12 or 13 right now but they’re a top-10 team. It’s an exciting game. I hope we have a large crowd in here. It’s our ‘Pack the House’ night. Hopefully the weather cooperates. It’s a great day to come out and cheer. It’s going to be fun. They’re all fun.”

    Walz had a little fun at UK coach Matthew Mitchell’s expense earlier this fall when, after Mitchell unleashed another of his famous dance routines during the school’s Big Blue Madness, he was asked why he didn’t dance.

    “I’m not much of a dancer. I prefer to just try and coach in Final Fours,” said Walz, who has led Louisville to two national championship game appearances (2009 and 2013) while the Wildcats have never advanced as far as the national semifinals.

    That off-the-cuff comment may add a little heat to the rivalry, but don’t look for any pre-game pushing and shoving like what occurred between the school’s football teams last weekend.

    “That’s football. I don’t think you’re going to have that at halfcourt here. (That's) just my guess, (but) I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Walz said, tongue-in-cheek, Thursday night. “It was entertaining to watch, but no, I don’t expect that during the basketball game.”

    But it’s not just any other basketball game.

    “For me, Bria (Smith) and Jude (Schimmel) especially, we want to go out with just one win over UK,” Hammond said.  

    Here’s what else there is to watch and/or follow in


    sports this weekend:

    • The men’s basketball team (6-0), which is ranked No. 5 in both national polls, hosts Florida International (5-3) at 7 p.m. Friday night as it continues its pre-conference schedule. The Cards are coming off a fairly impressive 64-55 win over previously unbeaten, and nationally-ranked, Ohio State on Tuesday night.

    • The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams continue to compete in the USA Short Course Nationals, which began Thursday and will end Saturday, in Greensboro, N.C.

    • The football team (9-3), which is ranked 21st in the College Football Playoff Rankings and the Associated Press Top 25, finds out its postseason fate at 5:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon when the ACC announces what bowl games its members will play in on its website -


    Photo courtesy of the University of Louisville Women’s Basketball Facebook Page

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