LEXINGTON, Ky. – Samantha Drake, who suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in her left knee last season, has decided not to play her senior season and will instead focus on her academics and graduating in the spring.
“I would like to thank Mr. Barnhart, all of my teammates and coaches for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this amazing women’s basketball program at UK,” Drake said. “I was given the chance to show my talent and be a part of a lot of success during my four years. Although I won’t be playing anymore, I’ll still be the biggest cheerleader for the team. I am going to turn my focus on academics and walking across that stage in May to receive my degree.”
The 6-foot-3 center from Bardstown, Ky., injured her knee in the first half vs. Central Michigan on Nov. 13 just three games into her senior season. She also missed time as a freshman with a left knee injury. Overall, Drake played in 88 career games with 23 starting assignments and held career averages of 3.4 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. She is set to graduate in May of 2015 with a degree in family science and a minor in health promotion.
“We support Samantha and her decision to forego playing her senior year,” UK Hoops head coach Matthew Mitchell said. “Samantha contributed to so many victories during her career and we are grateful for her efforts. We will continue supporting her any way we can as she works toward graduation.”
The Wildcats return returns seven letter winners, including key players in seniors Bria Goss (Indianapolis) and Jennifer O’Neill (Bronx, N.Y.), returning starting point guard junior Janee Thompson (Chicago) and sophomore guards Linnae Harper (Chicago) and Makayla Epps (Lebanon, Ky.). 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.
UK will debut at Big Blue Madness on Friday, Oct. 17 at Rupp Arena. Tickets for the event will be available Saturday, Sept. 20 at 7 a.m. ET at the Memorial Coliseum ticket windows on Euclid Avenue and online at UKathletics.com and Ticketmaster.com. Madness times and broadcast info, as well as more ticket information, will be released at a later date.