Versatile Cann Causing Problems at New Position

The start for Kentucky was a little ragged on Thursday morning. The Wildcats had scored just six points through a little less than six minutes, allowing visiting New Hampshire to hang around.

Then Makenzie Cann made her first 3-pointer.

“I thought when Cann got going it just took a lot of pressure off everybody else,” Matthew Mitchell said.

From there, the Wildcats didn’t look back, and neither did Cann. The junior – who sat out last season after transferring from Cincinnati – buried six 3-pointers and scored 20 points en route to a 92-43 victory for UK (3-0).

Cann had her big game at a position unfamiliar to her, at least until recently. She is sharing time equally with Evelyn Akhator and Alyssa Rice in the post.

“It was definitely a big adjustment because I have never played the four,” Cann said, “but I told (Mitchell) I would do whatever the team wanted. And if that’s what I have to do, then that’s what I have to do, so I just try my best to do it.”

Cann is only 6-foot-1 and lacks the muscle of many of the opponents she’ll face this season, but that’s not stopping her. And on the other side of things, Cann – who also had five rebounds and four assists – is a matchup nightmare at her new position. 

“The thing I think that makes her very dangerous is you have to get out there and guard her, but then she can put the ball on the floor,” Mitchell said. “She got to the basket some today. She had some really nice passes. She has a great feel (for the game). The thing about Makenzie is she’s not just an offensive player.”

Mitchell has always believed that about Cann, even when others didn’t. She took notice of that faith even during the recruiting process.

“Well, I definitely think it shows a big progression, because coming out of high school I was known as, ‘stand over there and shoot,’ ” Cann said. “So, it’s definitely been a big progression – and that’s what I’ve always wanted. That’s one of the reasons that I chose to come to UK, because I knew that Coach Mitchell believed that I could be more than a shooter and not put me in that box.”

Cann, with her versatile skillset and new position, is going to defy classification all season long. She knows that will make for some unique challenges, but she knows how to approach them.

“I think it’s just if you put the hard work in and work your butt off, I think Coach Mitchell is really understanding of I’m trying my hardest then that’s all that he can ask for,” Cann said.