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Makayla Epps, Evelyn Akhator Named WBCA All-Region Honorees

Makayla Epps (Vicky Graff Photo)

LEXINGT­­­ON, Ky. – University of Kentucky women’s basketball seniors Makayla Epps and Evelyn Akhator have been named to the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Region 2 All-Region Team, making the stars eligible for the 2017 WBCA All-America Team, which will be announced during the WBCA convention on April 1.

The honor is the second straight for Epps, who was also named an all-region selection last season. This is the first such honor for Akhator. Both players have received praise this offseason for their strong senior seasons. Epps was named first team All-Southeastern Conference by the Associated Press and league coaches, while Akhator was named first team All-SEC by league coaches and second team All-SEC by the AP.

Epps had a great senior season for Kentucky, averaging a team-best 17.7 points per game while sitting tied for the team lead with 118 assists. The senior ranks second on the team in 3-point field-goal percentage, while sitting third in overall field-goal percentage, rebounds per game and steals per game. Epps is the only player to end the regular season ranked top 10 in the SEC in points, field goal percentage and assists.

The native of Lebanon, Ky., ended her career with six games of 30 or more points, which is the third most in program history. Epps is the only player in school history to rank top five in UK history in scoring and top eight in career assists. The explosive guard scored in double figures 30 times this season, including 14 games with 20 or more points.

Epps posted a game-high 31 points with nine rebounds and three assists against No. 5 South Carolina in the SEC Tournament and continues her strong postseason play in the NCAA Tournament first round against Belmont with 30 points and five assists. The guard posted 21 points with four assists in the second round against Ohio State. 

Akhator took her game to a new level this season, sitting second on the team with 15.9 points per game and first on the squad with 10.8 rebounds per game. Akhator also ranks second on the team with 45 steals while leading the Wildcats with 29 blocks. The native of Lagos, Nigeria, had 18 double-doubles on the year, which ranked top 20 nationally and second in the league. Akhator also ranked top 20 nationally in field-goal percentage, total rebounds and rebounds per game. The senior scored in double figures 27 times this season with double-digit rebounds in 20 games.

During conference play, Akhator become only the second player in school history to score 24 or more points with 15 or more rebounds in consecutive games. Although she was only on campus for two years, Akhator ended her career tied for third in school history in double-doubles, second in all-time rebounding averaging, eighth all-time in scoring average and fourth in field-goal percentage.

The senior was brilliant in Kentucky’s two games in the SEC Tournament, averaging 23.5 points with 10.0 rebounds per game. In the quarterfinals against Alabama, Akhator had 23 points with nine rebounds and three assists, going 7-of-13 from the field and 9-of-12 from the free-throw line. She followed that performance with 24 points and 11 rebounds – including seven offensive boards – against No. 5 South Carolina. Akhator had a double-double in each of UK’s NCAA Tournament games with 22 points and 10 rebounds vs. Belmont and 14 points and a UK NCAA Tournament game record 23 rebounds against Ohio State.

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