By LARRY VAUGHT
After failing to make the NCAA Tournament last year, Kentucky women’s basketball has had a terrific non-conference run this season. The only loss was at No. 4 Louisville where the Cats made a dramatic fourth-quarter rally before losing.
Middle Tennessee coach Rick Insell thinks Kentucky has three players that would start for any team in the Southeastern Conference.
“Rhyne Howard is one of them, Maci Morris is a gifted shooter, and then point guard Taylor Murray doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. She is tough,” Insell said after Kentucky beat his team.
“I think they have three as good of players as anybody. They keep getting better. They are going to cause some problems in the SEC. I think they are as good as Tennessee. Mississippi State is pretty good, but you never know on a night when you get them here at home and you shoot and rebound the ball well, anything could happen.”
Insell said coach Matthew Mitchell has a “lot better ball team” than he did a year ago when the Cats lost at Middle Tennessee.
“Last year I think we just out-toughed them, This year, they have gotten stronger and are more experienced and seem to have a little bit more of a swagger about them,” Insell said.
Mitchell wants to make sure, though, his team understands any swagger can quickly disappear in the SEC.
“I think what is important for our team right now is to embrace the process of trying to improve and get better. There is not much wiggle room for us,” the Kentucky coach said. “If we are not playing max effort and max positive attitude, we look really, really different.
“It is so important for us right now to maintain a positive attitude, to come every single day and build the habits of staying strong with max effort. I think those two things can really help us be the team we want to be.”