ST. THOMAS, Virgin Islands — Kentucky was fortunate to walk away with an overtime victory over Oklahoma.
Makayla Epps scored nine of her career-high 29 points in overtime and Linnae Harper added 22 to help No. 9 Kentucky beat Oklahoma 92-88 on Friday night in the Paradise Jam.
"It was a shame that one of those teams is now 0-2 in this tournament," Kentucky Coach Matthew Mitchell said. "I just thought Oklahoma showed some great fight. We also showed some great fight. We started the game down 9-0 and just battled back and kept fighting. It looked very bleak. I think we were down seven with one minute left and it was a very tough deficit that we overcame."
The ninth-ranked Wildcats trailed 78-70 with 1:31 left in the second half, before rallying to 79-78 on Epps' layup with 23 seconds left.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Lexington Herald-Leader
After Thompson missed the go-ahead layup with 5 seconds left, Nicole Kornet grabbed the rebound and was fouled. Oklahoma's forward slammed the ball down in frustration and was charged with a technical foul.
Epps missed the first free throw, but hit the second to tie it with 1.1 seconds left.
With Kornet out of the game because of fouls, Oklahoma chose Derica Wyatt to shoot the free throws for the foul that had been committed on the rebound. She missed both of them and Sharane Campbell's jumper hit the rim as time expired in regulation.
"We were very fortunate that their kid missed two free throws there at the end. You hate to see that as a coach, but that was a tough game for either team to lose," Mitchell said. "Both teams really fought tonight to earn the victory and I'm so proud of the girls for fighting through and getting the win. Oklahoma is a great team, and we were lucky to get out with a win."
Kentucky (5-1) kept the momentum going in overtime scoring eight of the first 10 points to go up 87-81 on Azia Bishop's layup with 2:42 left.
"Great strides taken tonight by our team," Epps said. "Coach Mitchell pulled us in to watch film today and we probably watched film for a good two hours. It was all about playing hard, having to play with determination and playing with heart. Even though we are here in the Virgin Islands, which is a beautiful place, we just came down here to win some games and that's exactly what we did tonight."
Kornet scored 21 points and Campbell added 20 for the Sooners (3-2).
There were 70 combined fouls in the game and the teams shot 86 free throws. Oklahoma was 18-for-33 from the line.
Kentucky: Forced 29 turnovers which resulted in 24 points. The Wildcats have forced 20-plus turnovers in all six games this season. ... Jennifer O'Neill scored 12 points and passed Tedra Eberhart (1991-94) at No. 25 on UK's career scoring list with 1,079 points.
Oklahoma: This was the second meeting between the schools. Oklahoma beat the Wildcats 88-68 in the Elite Eight of the 2010 NCAA Tournament.
Kentucky: plays South Florida in its final game of the Paradise Jam on Saturday.
Oklahoma: plays Illinois in its final game of the Paradise Jam on Saturday.