LEXINGTON, Ky. – For the second time today, University of Kentucky senior guard Makayla Epps has been tabbed a top candidate for a player of the year award as the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced her as a member of the 2017 Naismith Trophy Top 30.
The 30-player list was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Selectors, which based its criteria on player performances so far during the 2016-17 college basketball season. The list will be cut to 10 semifinalists on March 2 with the women’s college player of the year announced during the Final Four. A complete list can be found here.
Epps is having a great season for Kentucky, leading the Wildcats in scoring by averaging 17.2 points per game. The senior also leads Kentucky with 89 assists and is third on the team with 22 steals. Epps has started all 24 games and ranks high in several national categories, including 38th nationally and third in the league in field-goals made and 49th nationally and second in the league in points scored with 413.
For her career, Epps is moving into elite company sitting fifth all-time with 1,620 career points and eighth all-time with 379 career assists. Epps is the only player in program history to rank top eight on both lists. Currently, Epps is on a career-high tying streak of scoring 20 or more points in four straight games. The native of Lebanon, Ky., has scored in double figures 21 times this season and 82 times in her career.
Epps is one of six players on the list from the Southeastern Conference. Joining her are Alaina Coates (South Carolina), Diamond DeShields (Tennessee), Mercedes Russell (Tennessee), Victoria Vivians (Mississippi State) and A’ja Wilson (South Carolina).
UK returns to the court Thursday night to square off against Georgia in Athens. The Wildcats are looking to continue its momentum from defeating Vanderbilt last Sunday in Memorial Coliseum. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. inside Stegeman Coliseum, and will be broadcast on SECNetwork+ through WatchESPN on computers, smartphones and tablets. Fans can also listen to Neil Price on UK Sports Network, heard in Lexington on 630AM WLAP. Free audio will also be available online at UKathletics.com.