UK Hoops Ranks in Top 15 of Preseason Magazines

Oct. 17, 2014

LEXINGTON, Ky. - After its school-record fifth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament and fifth consecutive season with 25-plus wins, the Kentucky women's basketball team has earned top-15 preseason rankings in several preseason publications, including Athlon Sports Magazine, Lindy's Sports Magazine and Sporting News.

Kentucky, which finished 26-9 in 2013-14 and advanced to its third straight Sweet 16, is ranked No. 11 by Athlon Sports, No. 12 by Lindy's Sports and No. 15 by Sporting News.

Seven letter winners return from last season's squad, including top scorer and Southeastern Conference Co-6th Woman of the Year Jennifer O'Neill (Bronx, N.Y.), and starters Bria Goss (Indianapolis) and Janee Thompson (Chicago). O'Neill, a 5-foot-6 senior guard, dropped in a team-high 12.6 points per game last year, while Goss, a 5-10 senior guard, was the team's third-leading scorer with 10.2 ppg. Thompson, a 5-7 junior point guard, averaged 8.6 points per game a year ago, while dishing out a team-best 107 assists. Also returning is senior center Azia Bishop (Toledo, Ohio) who saw action in all 35 games last season with five starts and senior forward Jelléah Sidney (Queens Village, N.Y.) who averaged 3.1 points and 3.0 rebounds per game and was second on the team in steals with 41. The dynamic sophomore duo of Linnae Harper (Chicago) and Makayla Epps (Lebanon, Ky.) look to pick up where they left off last season. Harper, a 5-8 guard and member of the SEC All-Freshman team and SEC All-Tournament team, averaged 6.9 points per game overall, including 9.5 ppg in postseason play. Epps, a 5-10 guard, was one of the team's best shooters, hitting .483 percent from the field (56-of-116).

New additions to the roster this season include junior college transfer and 6-foot-6 center Ivana Jakubcova (Bratislava, Slovakia), freshman shooting guard Jaycee Coe (Gainesboro, Tenn.), freshman and forward/center Alexis Jennings (Madison, Ala.) and freshman center Alyssa Rice (Reynoldsburg, Ohio). Sophomore forward Kyvin Goodin-Rogers (Lebanon, Ky.) also will be available for action after sitting out last season with a pulmonary embolism.

The Wildcats open up the 2014-15 season with an exhibition game against Pikeville on Thursday, Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. ET in Memorial Coliseum. Admission is free and the game will be streamed live on SEC Network +. Events on SEC Network + are exclusively available on SECNetwork.com  and on WatchESPN via computers, smartphones and tablets.

Follow UK Hoops on Twitter and Instagram at @UKHoopCats and on Facebook by liking University of Kentucky Women's Basketball.

Athlon's

  1. Connecticut
  2. South Carolina
  3. Texas A&M
  4. Notre Dame
  5. Michigan State
  6. Stanford
  7. Tennessee
  8. Baylor
  9. Texas
  10. Iowa
  11. Kentucky
  12. Duke
  13. North Carolina
  14. Nebraska
  15. California
  16. Louisville
  17. Dayton
  18. West Virginia
  19. Maryland
  20. Georgia
  21. DePaul
  22. Oregon State
  23. Rutgers
  24. Syracuse
  25. Albany

Lindy's Sports

  1. Connecticut
  2. South Carolina
  3. Notre Dame
  4. Stanford
  5. Tennessee
  6. North Carolina
  7. Maryland
  8. Baylor
  9. Texas A&M
  10. Louisville
  11. Duke
  12. Kentucky
  13. Oklahoma State
  14. West Virginia
  15. DePaul
  16. Nebraska
  17. California
  18. Purdue
  19. Gonzaga
  20. Michigan State
  21. Brigham Young
  22. Penn State
  23. Oregon State
  24. Texas
  25. Iowa 

Sporting News

  1. Connecticut
  2. Norte Dame
  3. South Carolina
  4. Stanford
  5. UCLA
  6. Baylor
  7. Texas A&M
  8. Tennessee
  9. Louisville
  10. Texas
  11. Duke
  12. California
  13. DePaul
  14. Nebraska
  15. Kentucky
  16. Michigan State
  17. Oklahoma State
  18. North Carolina
  19. Maryland
  20. West Virginia