Makayla Epps Named to Naismith Trophy Midseason 30

Vicky Graff Photo

Vicky Graff Photo

LEXINGTON, Ky. – After being named to the 2015-16 Naismith Trophy Women’s College Player of the Year Early Season Watch List in December, Kentucky women’s basketball junior guard Makayla Epps has been selected to the Midseason 30 on Wednesday.

The original 50-player watch list was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Selectors, which based its criteria on player performances from the previous year and expectations for the 2015-2016 college basketball season. From the 30 athletes on the midseason watch list, the field will be cut to 10 semifinalists on March 3.

The four finalists will be announced on March 18, and the Naismith Trophy Women’s College Player of the Year will be announced during the NCAA Women’s Final Four on April 4.  The winner is determined by a board of selectors in conjunction with fan voting. The Naismith Women’s College Player of the Year presented by AT&T will be awarded on April 4, 2016, in Indianapolis.

Epps is the first Wildcat to make the midseason watch list since two-time Southeastern Conference Player of the Year A’dia Mathies earned the distinction in 2013.  Five other athletes from the SEC appear on the watch list alongside Epps, including Alaina Coates (South Carolina), Tiffany Mitchell (South Carolina), Victoria Vivians (Mississippi State), Courtney Walker (Texas A&M) and A’ja Wilson (South Carolina).

Epps recently became the 31st member of Kentucky’s 1,000-point club and is the third-fastest Wildcat to accomplish the feat within the Matthew Mitchell era, playing 87 games in her UK career to amass 1,000 points.  She currently leads the No. 18/18 Wildcats in scoring, averaging 17.0 points per game while handing out 4.6 assists per contest.  Epps recently strung together a streak of 20+ point performances, becoming the first UK player since Sara Potts in 2004 to score at least 20 points in four consecutive games.

The Lebanon, Ky. native has accomplished numerous impressive feats in her junior season, which include becoming the second player in Kentucky history to record a triple-double with her outburst against Morehead State, tying the third-most efficient performance in school history after 10-of-11 shooting against Louisville, and tying the program record for single game free throw percentage with a flawless 12-of-12 effort against Ole Miss.

UK has a bye week for this week’s Thursday matchup, and will return to the court against Vanderbilt on Sunday, Feb. 14.  The Wildcats will look to avenge a 71-69 loss to the Commodores earlier this year, with tipoff slated for 4 p.m. ET.  The game will be broadcast on SEC Network and can also be heard on the UK Sports Radio Network with Neil Price on 630AM WLAP.

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