Makayla Epps on WBCA’s 30-Member Wade Trophy Watch List
LEXINGTON, Ky. – After being named a first-team All-American honoree Thursday, University of Kentucky junior guard Makayla Epps has been selected to the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association 30-member Wade Trophy Watch List, which annually seeks to honor the nation’s most outstanding NCAA Division I women’s basketball player, it was announced Friday morning.
The Wade Trophy is not only presented to the nation’s best player, but one who excels athletically and also serves as a positive role model both on and off the court. The acclaimed Wade Watch list, from which the Wade Trophy recipient is chosen, consists of players selected on the basis of game and season statistics, leadership, character, overall playing ability and the positive impact on her respective team.
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-ever women's national player of the year award in college basketball. The WBCA will officially announce The Wade Trophy winner during the WBCA National Convention, held in conjunction with the NCAA® Women’s Final Four® in Indianapolis.
Epps is one of 30 players nationwide to be selected to the team, including one of seven players from the Southeastern Conference, 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 selection. 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. A member of the Naismith Trophy Women’s College Player of the Year Midseason 30 Watch List and Dawn Staley Award Midseason Watch List, Epps was the espnW National Player of the Week and SEC Player of the Week on Dec. 14 for her strong outings against Louisville and Middle Tennessee State.
On the season, Epps has played in 29 games, 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. Epps has scored 20+ points 10 times this season, while scoring in double digits 26 times. Earlier this season, Epps posted the second triple-double in program history with 21 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds against Morehead State. During SEC play, Epps became the 31st member of Kentucky’s 1,000 point club and currently ranks 24th all-time in points scored with 1,140.
The star shone the most on the biggest of stages this season. During the regular season against highly-ranked Louisville, Duke, South Carolina (twice), Tennessee, Mississippi State and Texas A&M, Epps averaged 18.4 points per game, hitting .486 from the field with 29 assists and 33 rebounds. Those performances continued in the SEC Tournament as Epps led the team averaging 18.3 points per game with 5.3 rebounds per game, 12 assists and an impressive .553 clip from the field.
For more information on the Kentucky women’s basketball team, visit UKathletics.com or follow @UKHoopCats on Twitter and Instagram, or Kentucky Women’s Basketball on Facebook.