Epps' Career Night Leads Hoops to Wild OT Win Over Oklahoma
ST. THOMAS, Virgin Islands (AP) - Kentucky was fortunate to walk away with an overtime victory over Oklahoma.
"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.
After Thompson missed the go-ahead layup with 5 seconds left, Nicole Kornet grabbed the rebounds 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).