UK Women's Basketball

Kentucky’s Epps named to Wade Trophy watch list

Kentucky guard Makayla Epps (25) drives to the basket against LSU during the first half Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016 in Lexington, Ky.
Kentucky guard Makayla Epps (25) drives to the basket against LSU during the first half Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016 in Lexington, Ky. Herald-Leader

University of Kentucky junior guard Makayla Epps was one of 30 players named Friday to the watch list for the Wade Trophy, which annually honors the nation’s most outstanding NCAA Division I women’s basketball player.

In addition to performance on the court, the Wade Trophy recognizes the player who excels athletically and also serves as a positive role model both on and off the court.

The Wade Trophy, named after the late, legendary head coach Lilly Margaret Wade, a three-time national champion at Delta State University, debuted in 1978 as the first women’s national player of the year award in college basketball. The Women’s Basketball Coaches Association will announce the Wade Trophy winner during its national convention, held in conjunction with the women’s Final Four in Indianapolis.

Epps is among seven players from the Southeastern Conference named to the watch list, joining Alaina Coates (South Carolina), Diamond DeShields (Tennessee), Tiffany Mitchell (South Carolina), Victoria Vivians (Mississippi State), Courtney Walker (Texas A&M) and A’ja Wilson (South Carolina).

The watch list honor comes a day after CollegeSportsMadness.com named Epps a first-team All-American. The junior has a lengthy list of honors this season, including becoming the fourth player in program history to earn multiple SEC All-Tournament Team honors and becoming only the third player in the Matthew Mitchell era to be named first-team All-SEC multiple seasons.

Epps has played in 29 games this season, averaging a team-best 16.5 points per game, hitting .474 from the field, with 4.5 assists per game and 4.8 rebounds per game. She became the 31st member of Kentucky’s 1,000-point club and currently ranks 24th all-time in points scored with 1,140.

UK was defeated by South Carolina in the semifinals of last weekend’s SEC Tournament and now awaits its placement in the NCAA Tournament. The women’s draw takes place Monday night.

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