Four UK Hoops Players Set to Graduate Saturday

May 9, 2015

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky women's basketball seniors Azia Bishop, Bria Goss, Jennifer O'Neill and Jelléah Sidney are set to participate in commencement exercises Saturday, May 9 in Rupp Arena.

Eclipsing the 500 rebound mark against Auburn this year, Bishop scored in double figures 13 different times in her career, including eight times in her senior season. She played in 134 games, the most of any active Wildcat player, including 30 starting assignments and 24 of those this year. She had two double-doubles in her senior season and averaged 6.3 points per game, the best year of her four-year career. She currently ranks fourth on UK's blocks list with 152 in her career, and finishes her career ranked No. 4 on UK's all-time games played list.

"I am very thankful for the opportunity that Coach Mitchell gave me," Bishop said. "Being a student-athlete at the University of Kentucky is not an easy task. All of the love that the support staff has provided me with on and off the court the last four years has been unbelievable. Without them, I would not be walking across that stage this afternoon. I'm so thankful to be a part of the Big Blue Nation, and I will always bleed blue!"

Averaging 2.5 points per game in her 75-game career, Sidney was known for her strength and tenaciousness in the post. She saw action in 20 games this season while earning 11 starts after battling knee pain and made the most of her time on the court, averaging 3.6 rebounds this season and 2.6 per game in her career. She saw action in all 35 games of her sophomore season, including a tremendous defensive performance against Delaware to propel UK into the Elite Eight in 2013. Sidney played at Kentucky for three seasons, after transferring in from Chipola Community College in Florida. Sidney is getting her degree in Social Work.

"Determination, motivation, courage and strength have brought me where I am today," Sidney said. "To be a graduate of the University of Kentucky means so much to me because I know that I am part of the best. On the court and off the court required hard work and dedication and I would not trade my experience for the world. Being part of such a dynamic team has allowed me to grow as a woman and has instilled many positive morals and values that I will carry for a lifetime. I want to thank my teammates that will forever be family, my coaches, and the entire staff that has helped and encouraged me to go above and beyond. Coach Mitchell takes pride in us all and for that I thank him tremendously for his unconditional love and support. I am appreciative of my family, friends, and fans for all they have done. Without them this would not be possible! I will forever bleed blue!"

Bria Goss is what coach Matthew Mitchell described as "The Epitome of what we want a Kentucky player to be" and has been an active member of the Lexington community since stepping foot in the Bluegrass. She was recently named to the WCBA Allstate Good Works Team and is another one of Kentucky's McDonald's All-Americans. She played in 134 career games with starts in 120 of them. She scored in double-figures in 72 career games, including 14 this season and six of the last seven since her return to the lineup. Goss finished her career ranking sixth on UK's career free throw list at .882 and set a new school record last season, shooting .901 from the line. Goss averaged 9.3 points per games this season and 9.8 in her prolific four-year career. Hailing from Indianapolis, Indiana, she is set to graduate on Saturday with a degree in Communications.

"I am so thankful to be a part of the University of Kentucky, and today's graduation marks another step in what has been an amazing four-year journey," Goss said. "I have to thank Coach Mitchell and Tiffany Hayden for all of their amazing guidance the last four years. Without them, I would not have been able to be at this point. I loved my time in Lexington and I can't wait to use this diploma that I am receiving today to the best of my abilities and represent UK the best way I know how."

Finishing her career at No. 12 on the UK all-time scoring list with 1,356 in her career, O'Neill will go down as one of the best pure shooters in Kentucky history, with 197 career 3-pointers, which ranks second on UK's all-time list. She scored in double-figures 74 times in her career, including 11 games of 20 more points, and one game of 43, which she scored against Baylor a season ago in Kentucky's four overtime win over the Lady Bears. She averaged 14.4 points per game this season, which was second on the team and seventh in the Southeastern Conference. She was named to the SEC Second Team in 2014 and the Co-SEC Sixth Woman of the Year in 2014 as well. She was the first McDonald's All-American to ever commit to the University of Kentucky and has been named the SEC Player of the Week on four different occasions. She was the Nasmith Watch list and was also named to the preseason All-SEC First Coaches' Team. She is graduating on Saturday with a degree in kinesiology.

"I accomplished this degree by going by the saying `Don't ever let anyone tell you that you can't do something.' O'Neill said. "I am the first person in my family to graduate from a four-year college, and I take great pride in that. I really want to thank Tiffany Hayden and Coach Mitchell for all of their guidance and assistance. I will always be a Wildcat!"

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