#18 Kentucky Women's Basketball 2016-2017 Preview

Kentucky Wildcats
Overall Rank: #18
Conference Rank: #4 SEC
Kentucky has reached seven straight NCAA Tournaments and this year should be number eight. Last year the Wildcats reached the Sweet Sixteen and with Makayla Epps back, they should have similar success in 2016-2017. The senior guard averaged 17.1 points, 4.5 assists and 4.8 rebounds. Epps attacks the basket extremely well and there are not many defenders who can keep her from scoring effectively.
2015-16 Record: 25-8, 10-6
2015-16 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Matthew Mitchell
Coach Record: 219-89 at Kentucky, 249-118 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Janee Thompson, 12.6 ppg
Alexis Jennings, 10.0 ppg
Batouly Camara, 5.1 ppg
Ivana Jakubcova, 1.1 ppg
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Makayla Epps, Senior, Guard, 17.1 ppg
Evelyn Akhator, Senior, Forward, 11.5 ppg
Maci Morris, Sophomore, Guard, 8.5 ppg
Taylor Murray, Sophomore, Guard, 6.8 ppg
Alyssa Rice, Junior, Center, 2.4 ppg
Key New Players
Makenzie Cann, Junior, Guard, Transfer from Cincinnati
LaShae Halsel, Sophomore, Forward (did not play last year)
Jessica Hardin, Senior, Guard, Transfer from Bellarmine
Paige Poffenberger, Freshman, Guard
Jiada Roper, Freshman, Guard
Ogechi Anyagaligbo, Sophomore, Forward, Transfer from Stony Brook, not eligible this season
Kentucky will miss double-digit scorers Janee Thompson and Alexis Jennings, but Coach Matthew Mitchell has plenty of other talent that can step up. Evelyn Akhator is a superb interior force who averaged 11.5 points and 9.3 rebounds during her junior season. Allysa Rice will have to provide much of the depth in the frontcourt since the Wildcats lack in that area. Players like LaShae Halsel and the bigger guards on the roster will at least have to help out on the glass. Maci Morris is not going to do too much rebounding, but she is a very good three-point shooter who can have some big scoring games. Makenzie Cann, a transfer from Cincinnati, is a very good shooter and, at 6-1, has the size to assist on the glass. As long as Kentucky can replace the rebounding lost with Jennings, Epps will do more than enough to keep the Wildcats competing for an SEC title.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 74.7 (24th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 60.6 (101, 10)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.5 (18, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 37.2 (64, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 4.7 (236, 9)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.6 (26, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.7 (141, 6)
Rebound Margin: 5.5 (44, 3)
Assists Per Game: 14.4 (80, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 15.4 (132, 5)
Madness 2017 WNBA Draft Rankings:
#12 Makayla Epps