LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky women’s basketball guard Makayla Epps (pictured) has been no stranger to praise due to her performances this season, and has been named to another watch list. In addition to being a candidate for the Naismith Trophy, which is given to the nation’s top collegiate player, Epps is one of 18 guards that has been named to the Dawn Staley Award Mid-Season Watch List.
The Dawn Staley Award, named after the present coach (pictured, left) of No. 2/2 South Carolina, is given to the most outstanding collegiate guard in the country. The honor will be bestowed upon a player who exemplifies the skills that Staley possessed during her career: ball handling, scoring, the ability to distribute the basketball and a will to win. The award will be announced during the Final Four weekend on April 3-5, and the award ceremony will be held at the Union League of Philadelphia in April.
A preseason All-SEC First Team selection, Epps is just four points away from becoming the 31st member of Kentucky’s 1000-point club. She currently leads the No. 18 Wildcats in scoring, averaging 17.6 points per game while handing out 4.7 assists per contest. She is on a streak of 20-plus point performances, as she is 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.
Epps is one of four players on the list from the Southeastern Conference. Joining her are Brandy Montgomery (Auburn), Courtney Walker (Texas A&M) and Tiffany Mitchell (South Carolina).
UK returns to the court Thursday night, Feb. 4, to square off against the Staley-coached Gamecocks in Columbia, S.C. The Wildcats are looking to get back into the win column after dropping a pair of games to Vanderbilt and Florida. South Carolina has yet to lose a game this season, and came back from a halftime deficit to claim a 73-62 victory over Kentucky when the two teams last met on Jan. 14.
Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. inside Colonial Life Arena, and will be broadcast on SEC Network with Paul Sunderland, Carolyn Peck and Steffi Sorensen on the call. 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.
Photos by Jamie H. Vaught