Morris-Scholar Athlete

Bell County graduate and University of Kentucky senior guard Maci Morris has been named the SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

The announcement was made earlier this week as the All-SEC teams were revealed. Morris was joined on the All-SEC First Team by freshman Rhyne Howard. Taylor Muray made the All-Defensive Team. Howard was named the SEC Freshman of the Year and was joined on the SEC All-Freshman team by Blair Green. UK coach Matthew Mitchell was named SEC Co-Coach of the Year.

Morris is the third player under Mitchell to earn SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year as UK has earned that award consecutive seasons after Alyssa Rice claimed the honor in a three-way tie last season.

It’s been a tremendous season for Morris and the UK women. Kentucky is 24-6 overall and 11-5 in SEC play heading into Friday’s meeting with Missouri in the SET Tournament quarterfinals.

Morris has been fantastic for the Wildcats this season averaging 15.1 points per game with 68 3s and a team-best 44.7 percent from long range. The guard has scored in double figures in 24 games, including eight games of 20 or more. Morris' best game came at Tennessee where she played 31 minutes before fouling out and scored 27 points with four 3s, three rebounds and three steals.

She’s left her mark on the UK program as one of the best to ever play for the Wildcats. Morris ranks sixth all-time in scoring with 1,647 points while her 245 career 3s made ranks second. The guard has connected on 40.9 percent of her 3-point attempts during her career, which ranks first in program history. In all, Morris has hit at least one 3 in 105 of 126 career games.

Howard has had one of the best rookie seasons in program history, leading the team with 16.0 points and 6.7 rebounds per game while sitting tied for the team lead with 68 3s made. The rookie ranks second on the team with 65 steals and 70 assists while her 21 blocks ranks third. Howard won eight SEC Freshman of the Week honors this season, which broke the league record for most honors in a year.

The native of Cleveland, Tenn., is currently fourth among freshman nationally and first in the league in points per game while she is the only freshman in the nation with 460+ points, 60+ 3s made, 60+ steals and 70+ assists. Howard ranks top-five in program history for freshman in points, points per game, rebounds, rebounds per game, field-goals made, 3s, 3PFG percent, steals, double-figure scoring games and double-figure rebounding games.

Harlan County graduate Blair Green has also enjoyed a strong first season at UK averaging 5.7 points per game and is one of only three players on the team to play in all 30 games this season. The guard is hitting 42.9 percent from the field this season and has really shot the ball well during league play at 47.9 percent from the field and 40.9 percent from 3.

Green was a perfect 5-of-5 from the field and 2-of-2 from long range at Auburn scoring 12 points with three rebounds, a block and an assist. Green played a season-high 33 minutes against Florida scoring eight points with five rebounds and two steals playing at the top of UK's press while she scored 13 points in the season opener, which was tied for the seventh most points by a UK player in their varsity debut in program history.

Murray has saved her best season at UK for last averaging 12.4 points per game while leading the team with 111 assists and 92 steals. In just 19 games played this season, Murray already had more steals than she had in 32 games played last season (67). A semifinalist for Naismith Defensive Player of the Year, Murray ranks fifth all-time at UK with 275 career steals while she is just four assists away from ranking top five in program history.  Murray is on pace to become only the fourth player in program history to lead UK in steals all four years of her career.

The native of Odenton, Md., has had some great performances this season including a game-high 21 points with four rebounds, four steals and two assists vs. Missouri. Murray scored 19 points in the second half alone vs. the Tigers with all of her steals coming in the final 20 minutes. Murray nearly had a triple double against North Carolina, scoring 23 points with 10 assists, seven steals and six rebounds. Against Auburn, she recorded six steals with 17 points going 7-of-12 from the field.

Mitchell has led Kentucky to a 20-win season for the ninth time in his tenure after UK had just 10 20-win seasons in 33 years of basketball before he was hired. The 12th-year head coach has led Kentucky to a top-four finish in the SEC for the 10th time in his tenure after the Wildcats went 15-17 last season and were picked by league media to finish seventh this season. Mitchell won his 300th career game earlier this season and has 280 wins at Kentucky.

— — —

2018-19 ALL-SEC AWARDS

Co-Coaches of the Year: Matthew Mitchell, UK and Vic Schaefer, MSU

Player of the Year: Teaira McCowan, MSU

Freshman of the Year: Rhyne Howard, UK

Defensive Player of the Year: Teaira McCowan, MSU

6th Woman of the Year: Cierra Porter, MIZ

Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Maci Morris, UK

 

ALL-SEC FIRST TEAM

Sophie Cunningham, MIZ

Teaira McCowan, MSU

Chennedy Carter, TAMU

Caliya Robinson, UG

Anriel Howard, MSU

Rhyne Howard, UK

Ayana Mitchell, LSU       

Maci Morris, UK

 

ALL-SEC SECOND TEAM

Tyasha Harris, SC

Chelsea Dungee, AR

Te'a Cooper, SC

Janiah McKay, AU

Rennia Davis, UT

Alexis Jennings, SC

Mariella Fasoula, VU

Crystal Allen, UM

 

ALL-DEFENSIVE TEAM

Taylor Murray, UK

Teaira McCowan, MSU

Caliya Robinson , UG

Janiah McKay, AU

Jazzmun Holmes, MSU

 

ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM

Rhyne Howard, UK

Zaay Green, UT

Destanni Henderson, SC

Victaria Saxton, SC

Brinae Alexander, VU

Akira Levy, MIZ

Robyn Benton, AU

Blair Green, UK