The dust has finally settled on Thursday night’s successful NBA Draft. After months of interviews, →
By Haley Simpson on ©June 23rd, 2017 @ 7:45pm
Since the beginning of the Calipari era, the NBA Draft night has become like an added holiday for Kentucky fans.
It always seems like the draft is historic in some way for men’s side of the table, but this year they weren’t the only ones.
For the women’s basketball program, center Evelyn Akhator became the highest WNBA draft pick in program history as the number three overall pick by the Dallas Wings. A record previously held by A’dia Mathies who was the 10th pick in 2013.
History happened again 30 picks later as Makayla Epps was selected by the Chicago Sky. Before this year, two Cats had never been selected in the same WNBA draft.
Last night was obviously a huge night for Kentucky’s program as the newest NBA Cats just added on to already record-breaking numbers. For instance: all 21 one-and-done’s at Kentucky have done in the first round, Calipari has more former players (24) in the NBA than all other Kentucky coaches behind (23) and finally, for the third time in program history, Kentucky had three lottery picks, more than any other school.
Not too shabby y’all, not too shabby.
By Kindsey Bernhard on ©May 28th, 2017 @ 11:00am
Matthew Mitchell announced on Thursday that Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer Lin Dunn signed a contract extension for the 2017-18 season.
“I am thrilled that Lin is returning for another year,” Mitchell said. “The contributions she has and will continue to make in our program are immense. Like all of us, Lin is focused on helping Kentucky be the premier environment for young women to come develop into the very best students, players and citizens they can be. It is an honor to work by her side every day.”
Dunn joined the Kentucky women’s basketball staff as an assistant coach in May 2016, coming out of retirement to continue her coaching career. Dunn spent 10 years coaching in the WNBA and over 25 years coaching at the collegiate level.
“It has been great working with Matthew, Kyra, Niya and Amber and I am really looking forward to us continuing to work together next season,” Dunn said. “The great thing about our staff is that we all have similar core values that make it easy for us to work together. I want to continue to help them build a program that wins championships and invests in its players. I love the Big Blue Nation and cannot wait to be back on the sidelines.”
This is the first off-season with no assistant coaching turnover since the 2011-12 season.
According to UK Athletics, this women’s basketball staff has 93 years of coaching, 264 All-Conference honors, 69 All-America honors, 187 professional players and 237 academic honors.
Makayla Epps is officially a member of the Chicago Sky. Epps is one of three rookies to make the roster for the 2017 season opener.
Epps was picked 33rd overall by the Sky in the third round of the WNBA Draft in April. She will continue to wear the #25.
Epps begins her WNBA career tomorrow against the Minnesota Lynx at 6:00 p.m. CT. The game will be broadcast locally on The U Too and streamed on WNBA League Pass.
I know all of Big Blue Nation is ready to watch Epps ball out in the WNBA.
|Jessica Breland||F||North Carolina||5|
|Shayla Cooper||F||Ohio State||R|
|Tori Jankoska||G||Michigan State||R|
|Cheyenne Parker||F||Middle Tennessee State||2|
|Tamera Young||F||James Madison||9|
|*players have not reported yet|
Tonight, two dreams will become a reality in New York.
After seeing their season end too soon, Makayla Epps and Evelyn Akhator are looking to become the WBNA’s next stars following tonight’s draft.
Both players are poised to go in the second round according to DraftSite.com with each round only having 12 picks. Epps is projected to go as the first pick in second round as the 13th pick to the Connecticut Sun, while Akhator is projected to go as the 16th pick to Connecticut as well.
However, SB Nation is looking at Akhator potentially being an upset and going as the fourth overall pick to the Dallas Wings.
Being second round picks, both players may have to prove themselves to get on a roster to begin next season, but both players can make a splash in the upcoming years.
Tune into the draft at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.
By Maggie Davis on ©March 31st, 2017 @ 8:00pm
With all the talk of the men’s team’s season ending and countless conversations about which (if any) of this year’s starters will return (cough, cough: probably none of them), Kentucky’s women’s team often gets overlooked. After a season that went better than expected after last year’s mass exodus, the Wildcats (22-11) ended their run with a loss to Ohio State in the second round of the tournament. Although the game ended in defeat, one thing was the same as it had been nearly every game that season: the two seniors gave outstanding performances.
Makayla Epps, who played all 40 minutes, led the team in scoring, ending her night with 21 points and her career as a Kentucky Wildcat with 1,790 points, making her the fifth highest scorer in program history. Evelyn Akhator messed around and wound up with her 18th double-double of the season. She finished with a staggering 23 rebounds plus 14 points and four blocks.
So what’s next for these seniors? Hopefully, the WNBA. Current projections have Epps going in the first round and Akhator during the start of the second. Here’s a quick breakdown of some various opinions:
Epps: No. 12 pick – Minnesota
Akhator: No. 15 pick – Seattle
Epps: No. 17 pick
Akhator: No. 24 pick
Epps: not mentioned (which is weird, right?)
Akhator: No. 11
Something else worth noting: Not a single Connecticut player is slotted in the first round in any of these mock drafts. So, just in case you had any doubts, it looks like UConn will continue to dominate women’s basketball next season.
The draft date has been set for April 13, with the first-round picks beginning at 7 p.m. ET. The first round will be broadcast by ESPN2, while the second and third rounds – set to air at 8 p.m. – will be covered by ESPNU.
We now interrupt your Kentucky vs Wichita State pregame prep to bring you some very important UK Hoops coverage: UK Hoops lost to Ohio State82-68 and was knocked out of the tournament today.
Once again, it was another impressive game for seniors Makayla Epps and Evelyn Akhator. Epps had 21 points including shooting six in a row in the third to cut the lead and Akhator had her 18th double-double with 14 points and 23 rebounds (a season high for rebounds).
Ohio State controlled the pace of the game, mainly due to Junior superstar, Kelsey Mitchell. Dubbed by Ohio State media as “the greatest Ohio State basketball player ever” Mitchell’s fast pace was a match the Cats could not control. UK transfer Linnae Harper, had 12 points. Since transferring from UK, Harper is familiar with the teammates and style of play the Cats use – this definitely helped Ohio State. UK Hoops trailed the whole game despite a heartbreaking effort in the last few minutes.
It’s been one heck of a season for UK Hoops. I’ll miss our seniors and covering this team.
UK HOOPS IS MOVING ON TO THE SECOND ROUND. The #4 seed beat 13-seeded Belmont today in a close 73-70 game.
It was a tough game in Memorial for the Cats, but the home court advantage helped. You could feel the electricity in Memorial throughout the whole game. Yeah, it’s definitely March in Kentucky.
“Playing here again, it’s like senior night part two and Sunday will be senior night part three,” said Makayla Epps.
The Cats came out hot with Epps getting a three right after the tip. The Senior Superstar played all 40 minutes and scored 30 points. She shot 4-of-5 in the first quarter and ended shooting 11-of-18 overall. Evelyn Akhator also had an impressive game with 22 points and 10 rebounds ( her 17th double-double if you’re counting at home) . But, despite this impressive effort – Belmont didn’t go away.
“We felt some four seed pressure, our team didn’t want to lose today. We did what we had to do to win,” said Coach Matthew Mitchell.
Belmont fought hard. They out-rebounded and out-scored the Cats in the paint. Number 23 Kylee Smith scored a whopping 18 points in the first half and Kentucky couldn’t answer. In the third quarter, the Cats went on a 13-0 run but, Belmont got hot and back-to-back-to-back threes.
The game came down to free throws. With 37 seconds left, the Cats led 66-63. Maci Morris went to the line three times in the last seconds of the game and made all but one of her free throws. It was 71-68 with 10 seconds left. Belmont is known as one of the best three point shooting teams in the nation but, they couldn’t tie up the game.
“I just didn’t want to miss. Epps told me they would go in. My teammates have a lot of faith in me,” said Maci Morris.
UK Hoops will play either Western Kentucky or Ohio State on Sunday in Memorial for the second round or as Makayla Epps called it “senior night part three.”
Kentucky’s women’s basketball team won its first-rounder today in Lexington, defeating Belmont in one that was much closer than Big Blue Nation anticipated.
Belmont had the ball down three with three seconds to go, but the Wildcats escaped with the narrow 73-70 victory.
The Wildcats will host the second-round game on Sunday against the No. 5 Ohio State/No. 12 Western Kentucky winner.
More to come from this one…