On Tuesday, Kentucky Women’s Basketball Coach Matthew Mitchell spoke at Media Day and it seemed clear he was very excited for the beginning of the 2019-20 season. It would be easy to assume that losing Maci Morris and Taylor Murray to graduation, the coach might have a little apprehension about filling that void. And after losing in the 1st game of the SEC tournament, then losing in the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament, there would seem to be at least some reservations about how the team would perform this year.
We’re through 20 practices and a scrimmage so far, and we know a few things about
our team and we really like the possibilities we have this season. I think this is a team that has
tremendous capability to have a special season. We have some versatility, we have some
depth, we have some great attitudes working right now.
The more Mitchell spoke, though, the easier it was to share in his excitement. After all, there is National Freshman Player of the Year, Rhyne Howard on the roster. Mitchell said,
Great ball handler, big, strong, athletic, so I think if you try to face guard her she’s athletic enough that we can find a way to get her the ball and then, she is just one of the best passers on the team, one of the best shooters on the team and, and then can really make an impact on the boards and defensively.
On Blair Green:
“Well, she’s improved her body, she got stronger last season, she’s more athletic, she’s quicker,
stronger and is just a better athlete, and she has great length and athleticism, and she really works at shooting the ball, she’s in the gym constantly shooting the ball. We’re trying to transition her from playing the four to a little bit more on the wing.
On Sabrina Haines:
She makes a bunch of shots. She is very strong, hard to keep out of the paint, can get to the basket, can finish with contact, has a mid-range jumper, so she can score at all three levels there in the offense, three-point line mid-range and at the basket, so that’s valuable. She’s a good ball handler, and has really worked hard to improve on the defensive end, so I think she’s a player that could be a double-digit scorer for us, that’s the kind of skill she possesses.
On Jaida Roper:
She has just grown in every single way you can grow. She’s grown as a person, she’s changed her body physically, she’s increased her skill level. And she’s made big plays for us, you know she made really big plays last year for us. So, just want her to bring her enthusiasm and her ability to really infect the team with great energy, she’s just an energy player and I think she sees the court great for us to distribute the basketball, and she has worked hard on her scoring moves this summer and fall. I think she’ll have a great senior season.”
As for the style of play fans can expect to see, Mitchell says the 40 minutes of pressing should continue this season.
We want to be known for great hustle, and we want to be that team that the opponent knows, listen this is going to be 40 minutes of all out get after it and they’re going to hustle their way through the 40 minutes.
I feel pretty certain that as long as these Cats stay healthy, they could indeed be in store for a very special season. The talent is there, the chemistry is there, and there are so many returning players that the coaching staff won’t have to start at square one with the team. One thing is for sure, these ladies are going to have a lot of fun and they hope you’ll come watch them.
Follow me on Twitter @ForeverBigBlue