UK Women's Basketball

Epps’ triple-double part of UK’s big night

Kentucky guard Makayla Epps (25) stole the ball from Morehead State guard Kay Kay Tate (22) during the second half at Memorial Coliseum Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, in Lexington, Ky.
Kentucky guard Makayla Epps (25) stole the ball from Morehead State guard Kay Kay Tate (22) during the second half at Memorial Coliseum Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, in Lexington, Ky. Herald-Leader

Makayla Epps’ dad wasn’t even playing for Kentucky yet the last time a player (male or female) had a triple-double in a Wildcat uniform.

Anthony Epps’ daughter made her own kind of UK history on Wednesday night getting a triple double (with a quarter to go) to lift No. 13 UK over Morehead State 112-57 at Memorial Coliseum.

And even though she’s been wearing UK blue since she was in a crib, the junior guard had no idea the exclusive club she joined as just the second women’s player ever and just the third Kentucky player in school history to do it.

"I didn’t know," said Epps, who finished with 21 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists for the Cats. "That’s crazy because now I got one up on my dad."

Epps said her father, a star point guard for Kentucky who won a national championship in 1996, likes to tease her that she’s matched him with a Sweet Sixteen title, but she’s still short a national title.

"I can’t wait to go get to my phone," Epps laughed, saying she was going to mention first: "You ain’t never got a triple-double."

Few have. The only women’s player in school history to do it was Leslie Nichols, who had 18 points, 13 rebounds and 11 steals against Louisville in 1986. Chris Mills remains the only men’s player at UK to do it with his 19 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds in 1988.

"That’s big time," senior Janee Thompson said after the victory where she was one assist shy of her own double-double with 22 points (a new career high), nine assists to go with five rebounds and four steals.

For the first time since 1989, three different UK players finished with double-doubles, led by Alexis Jennings’ 28 points and 13 rebounds, both career highs., Evelyn Akhator had 12 points and 16 rebounds.

And of course Epps’ big night.

If Thompson had gotten one more assist, it would’ve been the first time in program history that four different players recorded double-doubles in the same game.

Some other Kentucky stats were still pretty impressive with the Cats managing 32 assists on 43 made field goals. It was two assists shy of the school record and the most since 1989.

"We all genuinely care for each other and we want to make each other better, so it takes giving up the ball for your own shot, that’s what you have to do to be successful," said Jennings, who set career highs in points and rebounds.

The sophomore forward was a big reason UK outrebounded the Eagles 67-42, so was Akhator, who also had five blocks and three steals before she sat the rest of the game with a tweaked ankle.

The Eagles (1-2), who were averaging 111 points a game two games into the season, were held to 17.9 percent shooting in the second half and 25.6 percent for the game. They were paced by Eriel McKee’s 16 points and seven boards.

Originally, it didn’t look like it was going to be a monster night for Epps, who made just three of her first 13 shot attempts. Knowing her shot wasn’t falling, the guard tried to help others make plays.

So she had a career-high tying seven assists before the end of the first quarter and the number grew from there. She finished 8-for-21 from the field.

"She just can really make plays when you need them," Morehead State Coach Greg Todd said. "Tonight they didn’t really need her to score. She’s probably not top echelon athletically, but she knows how to win. She’s the kind of player any coach would love to have."

Kentucky was happy to have her on Wednesday night.

And while she liked having some bragging rights on her old man, Epps was happy that UK improved to 3-0.

"I would rather not score at all as long as we keep winning," Epps said. "As long as we keep winning, I’m going to be fine with that."

No. 13 KENTUCKY 112, MOREHEAD ST. 57

MOREHEAD ST.

Min

FG-A

FT-A

Reb

A

PF

PTS

Steele

21

1-11

4-5

1-5

0

5

6

McKee

34

5-14

3-5

1-7

1

2

16

Crockett

35

7-14

0-0

7-8

3

2

14

Greenwell

23

1-10

0-0

1-1

2

4

2

Wells

27

2-9

0-0

0-4

1

4

5

Foutch

0

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Campbell

13

0-1

0-0

0-3

0

1

0

Todd

16

0-2

0-0

1-3

0

1

0

Tate

27

4-15

3-6

0-6

1

3

14

Bailey

2

0-1

0-0

0-0

0

1

0

St Louis

2

0-1

0-0

1-2

0

0

0

Totals

200

20-78

10-16

13-42

8

23

57

Percentages: FG .256, FT .625. 3-Point Goals: 7-32, .219 (McKee 3-7, Tate 3-12, Wells 1-6, Bailey 0-1, Greenwell 0-6). Team Rebounds: 3. Blocked Shots: 5 (Steele 2, Campbell 2, Greenwell). Turnovers: 26 (McKee 5, Tate 5, Steele 5, Crockett 5, Greenwell 4, Campbell 2). Steals: 5 (McKee 4, Wells). Technical Fouls: None.

KENTUCKY

Min

FG-A

FT-A

Reb

A

PF

PTS

Jennings

30

12-21

4-8

4-13

1

1

28

Akhator

24

5-14

2-3

8-16

0

3

12

Thompson

34

9-14

0-0

2-5

9

0

22

Morris

14

1-3

2-2

0-1

1

5

5

Epps

40

8-21

4-5

4-11

12

0

21

Camara

10

3-6

2-3

1-8

2

4

8

Jakubcova

17

2-3

0-0

0-5

1

2

4

Murray

31

3-10

5-6

1-4

6

3

12

Totals

200

43-92

19-27

22-67

32

18

112

Percentages: FG .467, FT .704. 3-Point Goals: 7-22, .318 (Thompson 4-7, Morris 1-3, Murray 1-6, Epps 1-6). Team Rebounds: 4. Blocked Shots: 9 (Akhator 5, Camara 2, Jakubcova, Jennings). Turnovers: 17 (Murray 4, Thompson 3, Camara 2, Jakubcova 2, Epps 2, Jennings 2, Morris). Steals: 14 (Thompson 4, Murray 4, Akhator 3, Morris 2, Epps). Technical Fouls: None.

Morehead St.

12

20

11

14

57

Kentucky

27

27

28

30

112

A—4,895. Officials—Tina Napier, Lawson Newton, Pualani Spurlock.

Next game

Colorado at Kentucky

Sunday, 2 p.m. (SEC Network Plus)

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