Mitchell, Wildcats honored by SEC coaches

Five members of the UK women's basketball team have collected post-season honors, as voted by the SEC coaches.

Head coach Matthew Mitchell has been named Co-Coach of the Year; Rhyne Howard is the league Freshman of the Year; Mac Morris has been named Scholar-Athlete of the Year; Taylor Murray is on the SEC All-Defensive Team and Blair Green has been voted to the All-Freshman Team. Howard and Morris also were named All-SEC 1st team; Howard as well is a member of the All-Freshman Team.

Mitchell has led the Wildcats (24-6, 11-5 SEC) to another top-four finish in conference play, his team landing a double-bye heading into the SEC Tournament.

It's the second time Mitchell has been voted SEC Coach of the Year; he also won it 2010, as voted by the league coaches. Mitchell is now just the eighth coach in league history to win multiple coach of the year awards by league coaches. This is only the second time since the award began in 1984 that two coaches have shared the honor with the other being 2015.

Howard is the third player in program history to earn SEC Freshman of the Year joining A’dia Mathies and Bria Goss. She's the first UK freshman ever to be named first team All-SEC. Howard is the ninth SEC Freshman of the Year to also be named All-SEC First Team and the first since A’ja Wilson (South Carolina) in 2015.

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

Murray is only the third player under Mitchell to earn SEC All-Defensive Team honors fpr consecutive seasons joining Victoria Dunlap and Mathies.

This is the ninth time Mitchell has led UK to a 20-win. Prior to his arrival, the Wildcats had accomplished only 10, 20-win seasons in 33 years of basketball.

Now in his 12th year, Mitchell's team has finished in the SEC's top four the 10th time after finishing 15-17 last season. The Cats picked by league media to finish seventh this season.

Howard has had one of the best rookie seasons in program history, leading the team with 16 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. She is tied for the team lead with 68 three-pointers made. Howard ranks second on the team with 65 steals and 70 assists while her 21 blocks rank 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 freshmen nationally and first in the league in points per game. She's the only freshman in the nation with 460+ points, 60+ 3s made, 60+ steals and 70+ assists.

Morris this season has averaged 15.1 points per game with 68 threes 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 triples, three rebounds and three steals.

The Bell County, Ky., native has 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 threes-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.

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.

Green has had a strong season for Kentucky 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.

The native of Harlan County, Ky., 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.



 
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