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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…