UK Hoops dominated tonight against the University of Albany Great Danes with a final score of 70-46.
Senior Evelyn Akhator was explosive from the beginning, winning the tip-off for the Wildcats and securing the team’s first 7 points. As things settled down, the Cats continued to score while holding the Great Danes to just seven points for much of the first quarter. With three minutes left in the period and the shot clock about to expire, senior guard Jessica Hardin fired up a three pointer and was fouled, scoring her first three points of the game. At the end of the first, the Cats led 19-11.
In the second, the Cats continued to dominate on both ends of the court. Throughout the entire quarter, Kentucky held Albany to just eight points, and the Great Danes were scoreless for the final 4:56 of the half. Akhator continued to shine, ending the half with 15 points, seven rebounds and three blocks, while sophomore Maci Morris added six points and two assists. The Wildcats shot 41.8% from the floor, while the Great Danes clocked in at just 23.8%. At the end of the half, UK led 36-19.
But something was missing.
Makayla Epps, an SEC preseason all-American and the team’s usual leading scorer, had a quiet first half. Scratch that — she had a silent first half. Heading into the locker room, Epps had zero points and zero rebounds in just 13 minutes of play. Her first points of the game came from a pair of free throws late in the third quarter. Immediately after, she picked up her third personal foul and was back on the bench. She ended the night with eight points.
Maybe it was two games in two days, or maybe it had something to do with the slight limp she’s been fighting recently, but Epps was simply not herself tonight.
Despite Epps’ struggles, the team prevailed. Akhator finished with yet another double-double, scoring a career-high 28 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.
“Once we got into some rhythm and slowed down, [Akhator] made some great decisions,” said Coach Mitchell after the game. “She told me before the game she was going to have a big night, and we needed her tonight.”
When asked how she knew tonight would be a good night for her, Akhator replied she “just had a feeling.”
“Akhator really stuck it to us,” said Albany head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee. “That was definitely not our game plan.”
UK Hoops will be back in action in Memorial Coliseum on Nov. 17 as they take on the New Hampshire Wildcats at 11:00 a.m.