LEXINGTON, Ky. – Senior guard Makayla Epps scored 31 points and classmate Evelyn Akhator had a double-double with 17 points and 17 rebounds as 19th-ranked Kentucky beat Union University 78-60 Thursday night in an exhibition contest at Memorial Coliseum.
“We had to work for 40 minutes and we know a lot more about what we need to work on,” Kentucky head coach Matthew Mitchell said.
Epps scored nine of Kentucky’s first 11 points as the Wildcats raced to an 11-0 lead early in the first period. Epps would score 17 points in the frame as Kentucky took a 25-13 lead at the end of the period. The senior from Lebanon, Kentucky hit six-of-seven from the field, including all four of her 3-point attempts, and added a free throw to account for her 17 points in the first period.
“She’s worked hard on it,” Mitchell said of Epps’ shooting from long-range. “(Epps and Akhator) are going to have to really produce.”
After taking control in the first period, Kentucky was able to stretch its lead to as many as 19 points in the second quarter. The Wildcats were able to get a number of players involved in the offensive attack. Makenzie Cann hit a pair of 3-pointers in the quarter and Maci Morris added four points as Kentucky took a 49-32 lead into the half.
In the third quarter, Kentucky hit only three-of-16 from the field, but the Wildcats held Union to just three-for-11 from the floor in the frame. Kentucky extended its lead to 63-39 after three periods.
Union was able to cut into the lead in the fourth quarter, but the Bulldogs could get only as close as 16 before Kentucky settled for an 18-point victory.
Cann, playing in a Kentucky uniform for the first time, came off the bench to score 10 points, including three-of-five from 3-point range. She was the only other Wildcat in double figures.
Kentucky dominated the boards, winning the rebounding battle 50-25. The Wildcats had 25 offensive rebounds, which they turned into 28 second-chance points. Kentucky also forced 14 Union turnovers, while only committing eight turnovers of their own in the game.
The Wildcats hit 10-of-25 3-point shots in the game, which was one shy of their best from last season. Kentucky made a season-best 11 3-pointers in a home win over Colorado on November 22, 2015.
Union’s Chelsea Bodiford and Tiffany Rechis each had 15 points to lead the Bulldogs, an NCAA Division II school located in Jackson, Tennessee, that has won five NCAA Division II National Championships, including its last in 2014.
Kentucky opens the regular season on Friday, Nov. 11, hosting No. 14Miami (Fla.) in game one of the Kentucky Classic at Memorial Coliseum. Tipoff for that game is set for 7 p.m. ET and the game can be seen on SEC Network+.