University of Kentucky women’s basketball senior guards Maci Morris and Taylor Murray have been recognized by league coaches as two of the top performers in the Southeastern Conference this preseason as both have been named to the 2018-19 Preseason All-SEC Team, it was announced Tuesday.
Morris was tabbed to the first team after being named to the second team following last season. Murray earned second-team honors for the second straight year after being on the SEC All-Defensive team last season. The Wildcats were picked to finish seventh in the league.
Morris had one of the best seasons in Kentucky women’s basketball history last season, averaging 17.3 points per game and ranking second in the nation at 47.5 percent from long range. The high 3-point field-goal percentage was the best in a single season by a UK player in program history. Morris enters her senior season with 1,209 career points to rank 20th all-time while she ranks tied for third with 177 career 3s made and her 39.6 percent from long range ranks second in program history.
The native of Bell County, Kentucky was the only player in the Southeastern Conference to score 20 or more points in seven straight games against league opponents last season. The stretch came against some of the best teams in the country as she scored 22 at Missouri, 21 at Mississippi State, 20 vs. Arkansas, 35 at South Carolina, 20 at Ole Miss, 22 vs. Mississippi State and 25 vs. Alabama.
Morris, who recorded 10 or more points in 27 of her 31 games played in 2017-18, including 15 or more points in 23 games and 20 or more points in 12 games, posted a career-high 35 points at No. 8 South Carolina on Feb. 18, 2018, with a career-high 13 made field goals. That performance helped her become just the third player in program history to score 35+ points in an SEC game.
The guard set or tied career highs during the year in points, field-goals made, field-goals attempted, 3-pointers made, offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds, total rebounds, assists, blocks and steals.
Murray had a fantastic junior season for Kentucky finishing second on the team with 11. 5 points per game and 4.3 rebounds per game while pacing the team with 136 assists and 67 steals. Murray ranked third in the league in assist-turnover ratio at 2.19 and in free-throw percentage at 83.8 percent.
The guard had a stretch during league play in 2017-18 where she recorded eight straight double-digit scoring games, including three 20+ scoring games during that stretch. The native of Odenton, Md., became the first UK player to ever record 20 points and 10 or more assists in a SEC game when she accomplished the feat against Alabama last season.
Murray had some all-around impressive stat lines last season with 14 points, five rebounds and five steals vs. Auburn and 23 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals vs. Missouri.
Preseason All-SEC Coaches’ Predictions
Order of Finish
1. Mississippi State
2. South Carolina
6. Texas A&M
14. Ole Miss
Player of the Year
Teaira McCowan, Mississippi State
First Team All-SEC
Caliya Robinson, Georgia
Maci Morris, Kentucky
Anriel Howard, Mississippi State
Teaira McCowan, Mississippi State
Sophie Cunningham, Missouri
Tyasha Harris, South Carolina
Rennia Davis, Tennessee
Chennedy Carter, Texas A&M.
Second Team All-SEC
Malica Monk, Arkansas
Janiah McKay, Auburn
Unique Thompson, Auburn
Taylor Murray, Kentucky
Ayana Mitchel, LSU
Shandricka Sessom, Ole Miss
Amber Smith, Missouri
Alexis Jennings, South Carolina
Evina Westbrook, Tennessee
‑ GO CATS –
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