Cann’s Hot Shooting Paces Kentucky Past New Hampshire

Makenzie Cann The UK women's basketball team defeats UNH 92-43 Thursday, November 17, 2016 at Memorial Coliseum.  Photos by Britney Howard

Makenzie Cann
The UK women’s basketball team defeats UNH 92-43 Thursday, November 17, 2016 at Memorial Coliseum.
Photos by Britney Howard

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky women’s basketball team sailed past the University of New Hampshire on Thursday afternoon 93-43 inside Memorial Coliseum in Lexington. The game was UK’s annual “Winning Tools Education Day” – a tribute to head coach Matthew Mitchell’s three core principles of honesty, hard work and discipline.

Junior transfer Makenzie Cann was the headline of the game, scoring a career-high 20 points on 6-of-7 shooting from 3. Cann was one of six Kentucky players to score in double figures, joining Evelyn Akhator, Jessica Hardin, Maci Morris, Makayla Epps and Alyssa Rice. For Hardin, it is her first-career double-figure scoring game at UK.

Kentucky did a great job of taking care of the basketball Thursday, only turning the ball over five times – the lowest turnover output in a single game for UK since March 21, 2015 in an NCAA Tournament game vs. Dayton – when UK had five turnovers as well.

Akhator continued her torrid start to the 2016 campaign, scoring 17 points and collecting 11 rebounds for her third double-double in three games this season. The Lagos, Nigeria, native went 7-of-9 from the floor shooting and also contributed three assists. She did not commit a foul in the game.

Alyssa Rice scored 10 points in the game, eclipsing her career high of nine set vs. LSU a season ago. Rice also had seven rebounds on 5-of-9 shooting from the floor in 26 minutes of action.

Newcomers Paige Poffenberger and Jaida Roper both scored their first-career points in Thursday’s fourth quarter – both ending the game with two points.

The Wildcats had 22 assists on 36 made baskets – with Roper leading the way with a team-high six assists. Epps had five with five other players also recording at least one assist in the game.

With the win, Kentucky moves to 3-0 on the season and will be on the road in Boulder, Colorado on Saturday night against the CU Buffaloes.

Team Records and Series Notes

–          Matthew Mitchell is in his 10th season with Kentucky. Mitchell is 252-118 overall as a head coach and 222-89 during his tenure at Kentucky.

–          Kentucky is 128-19 all-time in Memorial Coliseum under Mitchell.

–          The Wildcats moved up to No. 15 in the latest Associated Press Top 25, while it stayed at No. 19 in the USA Today/Coaches Top 25. The Wildcats have been ranked for a school-record 134 straight weeks.

–          Today’s attendance was 4,793.

–          The Wildcats now own a 1-0 all-time record against New Hampshire, as today’s game was the first-ever meeting between the two programs.

–          Kentucky will return to action Nov. 19 at 9 p.m. ET, when the Wildcats travel to Boulder, Colo., to take on Pac-12 opponent Colorado. The game will stream live on as well as being broadcast on the UK Sports Radio Network in Lexington on 630AM WLAP.


Team Notes

–          Kentucky used the starting five of Makayla Epps, Evelyn Akhator, Maci Morris, Alyssa Rice and Taylor Murray.

o   UK is 3-0 this season with that starting-five combination.

–          Today’s win brings UK’s record to 3-0 overall, after defeating No. 14 Miami and Albany in the Kentucky Classic this past weekend.

o   This is the fourth straight season that UK has opened 3-0.

–          Kentucky holds a 3-0 all-time edge vs. America East Conference opponents.

o   UK had not seen an AEC opponent since March 22, 1990, when the Wildcats defeated Maine, before facing Albany on Nov. 12 and New Hampshire today.

–          Kentucky has won 59 consecutive regular-season non-conference games inside Memorial Coliseum, dating back to Dec. 19, 2008 vs. Alabama A&M.

–          The Wildcats held New Hampshire to single-digit scoring in both the first and third quarter, only allowing 9 apiece.

–          UK’s performance featured a balanced attack today, as six players scored in double figures, which is the most yet this season.

–          In the first quarter, Kentucky dominated in the paint, scoring 14 of its 17 points in the paint. Additionally, New Hampshire only had two points in the paint in the period.

–          With Epps’ layup 1:08 into the game, Kentucky put the first points on the board and never trailed during the game.

–          Kentucky had a 14-0 run, 12-0 run and 10-0 run in the game. 

o   Kentucky has recorded seven 10-0 or more runs this season.

o   Late in the second quarter, UK used a 12-0 run to increase its lead to 20.

o   UK went on a 14-0 run to start the third quarter as part of a 26-3 run overall.

o   UK later posted a 10-0 run late in the third quarter.

o   The Wildcats have not allowed an opponent to go on a 10-0 or more run this season.

–          Kentucky’s 44 first-half points is the highest first-half total yet this season.

–          Kentucky’s three turnovers in the first half is the lowest in a half during the 2016-17 season.

o   It was the lowest since having five turnovers against Tennessee on Jan. 25, 2016.

–          Propelled by Makenzie Cann’s six 3-pointers, the Wildcats went 12-of-23 from beyond the arc.

–          Kentucky only committed five turnovers in the outing, which is the lowest since March 21, 2015, when the Wildcats had only five turnovers against Dayton in the second round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament.

o   Kentucky has recorded 12 or fewer turnovers in every game this season.


Individual Notes

–          Makenzie Cann had game-high 20 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the 3-point line.

o   Cann’s 20 points is her highest scoring effort while at Kentucky.

o   Her six 3s matches her career high overall, as she was 6-of-11 from 3 against UCF while at Cincinnati (03/06/15).

o   She also added five rebounds and four assists in the game.

o   This was Cann’s third appearance for UK. She sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules after transferring from Cincinnati.

–          Evelyn Akhator ended the game with 17 points and 11 rebounds for a double-double.

o   Akhator now has 16 double-doubles in her career, which ties for the seventh most in program history.

o   This is also the fourth consecutive double-double for Akhator, dating back to her performance in the NCAA Tournament against Washington (03/25/16).

o   Four consecutive double-doubles is the most for Akhator in her career.

o   Akhator is the first UK player with four consecutive double-doubles since Victoria Dunlap in 2008-09.

–          Alyssa Rice added career-high 10 points to go along with seven rebounds.

o   Rice’s 10 points surpassed her previous record of 9 points.

o   Rice has seven rebounds or more in two of her three games played.

–          Makayla Epps scored 14 points in the contest to go along with five assists.

o   With tonight’s performance, her career-points total climbs to 1,260.

o   Epps needs 173 points (1,433 total) to enter Kentucky’s top-10 scorers in school history.

o   Epps now has scored in double figures in 63 career games.

–          Maci Morris also posted 10 points in the contest.

o   Morris went 2-of-5 from 3.

o   Morris has scored in double figures in two of her three games played this season.

–          Jessica Hardin scored 11 points with five rebounds.

o   Hardin went 4-of-7 from the field and 3-of-5 from 3.

o   Her 11 points marks her highest scoring performance while at UK.

–          Taylor Murray posted six points, three rebounds and two rebounds in the win. 

o   Tonight’s game was Murray’s third career start.

–          Paige Poffenberger and Jaida Roper both made their first career baskets for the Wildcats, adding two points apiece.

o   Roper also added six assists, which is a career high.

o   Poffenberger grabbed three rebounds.

–          Rachel Potter earned her first career action for Kentucky in the game.

o   Potter played two minutes.



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