Epps scores career-high 29 points; Cats overcome eight-point deficit with 91 seconds remaining
Kentucky 92, Oklahoma 88 (ot)
Cats and Sooners meet for second time in school history
Epps leads Kentucky with 20 points
Illinois 77, Kentucky 71
UK practiced for the third time this fall on Thursday.
Kentucky women's basketball head coach Matthew Mitchell previews the Sweet 16 and matchup with Delaware.
Mitchell Previews Miami (Ohio)
UK Hoops will take on Morehead State at 4 p.m. on Friday in Memorial Coliseum.
UK Hoops rebounded from its first loss of the season with a win over High Point on Saturday.
Hoops falls to Illinois University 77-71 on Thursday, November 27, 2014, in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.
Hoops defeats Morehead State 91-62 on Wednesday, November 19, 2014, at Lexington's Memorial Coliseum.
Hoops defeats Baylor 74-64 on Monday, November 17, 2014, at Lexington's Rupp Arena for the Pack the House game.
UK Hoops defeats Pikeville 141-63 on Thursday, November 6, 2014, at Lexington's Memorial Coliseum.
Men's basketball beat Pikeville 116-68 in an exhibition on Sunday, November 2, 2014, in Lexington's Rupp Arena.
Kentucky head coach Matthew Mitchell's teams are known for using three "winning tools" for success: honesty, hard work and discipline. So it's no surprise that in just seven seasons at the helm, Mitchell is UK's all-time winningest coach with a 170-71 overall record and year after year he assembles teams who are synonymous with winning on and off the court.
In the last five seasons, UK has advanced to a school-record five consecutive NCAA tournaments, including three Elite Eights. Kentucky is one of just seven schools to make it to the Sweet 16 in at least four of the last five seasons, joining Baylor, UConn, Duke, Notre Dame, Stanford and Tennessee.
UK has finished in the top four of the Southeastern Conference race four straight seasons, including winning the SEC regular season championship in 2012, its first in 30 years. Under Mitchell, the Cats have advanced to the SEC Tournament championship game four of the last five years and have charted 25-plus wins five straight seasons, one of just 10 schools in the country to accomplish that feat. The Wildcats have ranked in the top 25 of both national polls 84 consecutive weeks, including ranking in the top 10 of the final Associated Press poll two straight seasons.
Mitchell's teams have brought excitement for women's basketball in the Bluegrass like never before. The Cats have ranked in the top 25 in average attendance all seven years of the Mitchell era, and have recorded a remarkable 78-7 record at home over the last five seasons. In 2013-14, UK broke the school record for average attendance (6,727) and total attendance (121,089) and also set a new single-season record when 23,706 fans attended a sold out game vs. No. 2 Duke on Dec. 22, 2013 in Rupp Arena. It marked the largest crowd ever to see a college women's hoops game in the Commonwealth.
Under Mitchell, 16 different players have received All-SEC accolades. A UK player has won the AP SEC Player of the Year four of the last five seasons and three of his players, Victoria Dunlap, A'dia Mathies and DeNesha Stallworth, have been WNBA draft picks, including two in the first round. Dunlap was the 11th overall pick by the Washington Mystics in the 2011 Draft, while Mathies was the highest draft pick in school history, chosen as the 10th overall pick by the Los Angeles Sparks in the 2013 WNBA Draft.
His players also excel in the classroom. Twelve Wildcats have been SEC Academic Honor Roll members and 100 percent of his players in their final season of eligibility have received their degree.
In 2012-13, Mitchell assembled one of the most successful seasons in UK Hoops history. The Wildcats won a school-record 30 games and advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season and third in the last four years. The Cats set school records for consecutive wins (17), consecutive home wins (34), 3-point field goals made (240), 3-point field goals attempted (731), blocks (181) and steals (429) in a single season. They also won a school-record tying 13 games in SEC play, and advanced to the SEC Tournament championship game for the third time in the last four seasons.
Mitchell, a former assistant coach under Mickie DeMoss at Kentucky, was named the head coach in the spring of 2007 when DeMoss resigned as head coach after four seasons at the helm.
When Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart interviewed Mitchell, he was the head coach at Morehead State and fresh off two exciting campaigns in which he had revived a declining Lady Eagles women's basketball program with a 30-29 record (.508) - the third-highest coach's winning percentage in school history.
Mitchell's two-year MSU conference record of 24-16 (.600) marks the second-highest OVC winning percentage in school history. He was only the third coach in the program's history to post an overall winning record during his tenure.
Barnhart also was impressed with Mitchell's coaching pedigree. He had served as an assistant coach and recruiter at Florida under Carol Ross beginning in 2000. He helped the Gators compile a 51-36 record, and during his first two seasons the Gators recorded a 19-9 league record en route to two NCAA Tournament (2001 and 2002) appearances. With Mitchell's help, the Gators had a program-tying 24 wins and tied the school record with 11 SEC wins in 2001. He stayed at Florida to serve under then-new UF Coach Carolyn Peck during the 2002-03 season. As the primary recruiter at UF, Mitchell brought in the nation's ninth-ranked recruiting class in 2002 and the No. 2-ranked class by All-Star Girls Report in 2003.
The Louisville, Miss., native began his collegiate coaching career as a graduate assistant at Tennessee under Hall of Fame Coach Pat Summitt during the Lady Vols' run to the Final Four in 2000. UT advanced to the national championship game before losing to top-ranked Connecticut. The Lady Vols finished No. 2 in the national polls with a 33-4 overall record and a 13-1 mark in the SEC.
Prior to his stint at Tennessee, Mitchell spent one year in Yazoo City, Miss., as a coach and teacher at Manchester Academy. He taught American history and served as both the boys' and girls' head basketball coach.
A 1995 graduate of Mississippi State, Mitchell's first head-coaching experience came in 1996 at Central Holmes Academy High School in Lexington, Miss. Mitchell performed multiple duties at the school, including head coach of both basketball teams as well as the track and golf teams. He also served as the defensive coordinator for the football team.
Mitchell, 43, is married to Jenna Ramsey Mitchell of Amelia Island, Fla., and they have three daughters, Lacy Mitchell, of Starkville, Miss, Saylor Rose and Presley Blue. The couple is very active in community service as Jenna serves on the board of the Children's Advocacy Center and Matthew volunteers his time for several area charities and organizations. Matthew also is an honorary Rotarian in the Lexington chapter. After receiving a new seven-year contract in 2012, Mitchell gave $100,000 of his new seven-year contract back to the University of Kentucky for academic purposes. The Mitchell Family Foundation also donated over $40k to the Pat Summitt Foundation in February of 2014 in conjunction with "We Back Pat" Week. In the summer of 2014, he and Jenna made one of the largest donations ever by a UK employee back to their employer when they pledged to donate $1 million to the UK Athletics department over the next 10 years.