Soft-spoken senior set to lead Kentucky women’s basketball


Junior guard Taylor Murray gets ready to pass the ball during the game against California on Thursday, December 21, 2017 in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky was defeated 62-52. Photo by Olivia Beach | Staff

A leader for a basketball team is supposed to be one of the most talkative players on the court, making sure the communication between the team stays efficient and constant.

Taylor Murray will be one of the leaders for the Kentucky basketball team this season, but she won’t be the leader that can be heard from the opposite side of the court.

“She talks plenty and is verbal but doesn’t project her voice,” head coach Matthew Mitchell said at media day. “She’s a bit mild mannered with the volume of her voice and just her willingness to communicate and get out of her comfort zone.”

Murray has been that way since she first arrived to campus. As a freshman, Murray wasn’t required to speak much, but now as a senior leader, it’s required.

Murray said she is comfortable being a leader, even if she is unable to speak loudly.

“My voice isn’t very projective like most of my teammates but whatever I can do so they can hear me is always beneficial for me,” Murray said at media day.

Murray won’t be the only one tasked with leading this team, however, as one of Murray’s closest friends and Kentucky-native Maci Morris is also in her senior season. Morris is also expected to have a big leadership role with this team.

Morris has been with Murray ever since they both stepped foot on campus as freshmen in 2015. They have been through three seasons of basketball together plus hundreds of hours of practice.

Murray and Morris have developed a relationship of trust and comfort, and Morris has seen Murray grow from a shy freshman to who she is now.

“Tay (Murray) is really not a shy person once you get to know her, but like at first, if she’s not used to you or she don’t know you, she’s definitely going to be interior and not come out of her shell,” Morris said. “Once you get her out of her shell, she’s a really good person and she’s fun.”

As a shy freshman, Murray had a bigger role with the 2015-2016 team than most freshman typically do. She averaged 23 minutes per game, getting valuable experience that few freshmen get.

Murray has averaged more than 30 minutes a game in her two seasons since, and is expected to average the same this year as a senior. While Murray has developed her leadership during that timespan, she also has developed her skillset, and Mitchell said he believes her minutes as a freshman helped Murray get to where she is now.

“So excited for all of you to see Taylor Murray and just how she is playing offensively with a lot of confidence and shooting the ball well and scoring the ball well around the bucket in real creative ways in different ways,” Mitchell said.

As Murray gears up for her final season, she said she is excited about the opportunity to lead the team and showcase her skills one last time.

“I think Coach Mitchell has helped me in a lot of different ways just growing for being a leader,” Murray said. “I think Amber (Smith) has helped me really as well with my game so I’m really excited for this season.”