After four long and successful years, senior guard Maci Morris’ is nearing its end.
In her time as a Wildcat, she has broken records and been a mentor to many of her teammates and her leadership could be seen even as she was on the bench-- she cheered on her teammates and hyped up the crowd on her own senior night against LSU.
On Feb. 17, Morris passed both Pam Browning and Samantha Mahoney on Kentucky’s all-time scoring list when she posted 11 points for the Wildcats against Arkansas, placing her at No. 6 in the all-time scoring list.
Morris’ name will be etched in the record books for other statistics as well-- the Bell County native holds the school's highest career three-point field-goal percentage at 40.9 percent. She is second in all-time three-pointers--
one place higher than Taylor Murray, her friend and teammate of four years-- for career free throw percentage. Her 85.1 percent is the second highest recorded for the Wildcats.
Records and other accolades are great for a legacy, but Morris said that she will remember the people she met along the way the most.
“Teammates, coaches, staff, other classmates, so many people have so much impact on you,” she said.
The UK community will surely remember her. On senior day, 6,911 thankful fans came to support Morris and this year’s three other seniors: Murray, Paige Poffenberger and LaShae Halsel.
“I have a lot of gratitude for everyone that came out today, it was just amazing to see so many people that supported us,” Morris said.
A live-in-the-moment kind of person, she said that her mindset for senior day was “just trying to enjoy it and just take it all in.”
Morris has earned a reputation for being somewhat of a player/coach with the team. Head coach Matthew Mitchell said he has been calling her “Coach Morris” for years.
“She’ll often stop me at practice, and she’ll start telling us what we need to do,” Mitchell said.
This reputation has noticeably spread outside of Lexington as Morris was recently invited to the WBCA’s So You Wanna Be A Coach? program. Morris will head down to Tampa, Florida, in the beginning of April for this three-day workshop. Her father, Lewis Morris, is a high school coach and she may well follow in his footsteps.
Morris’ natural proclivity toward coaching has made her a valuable mentor for younger players on the team.
“Just always have high energy in practice and in games and just do what coach says,” Rhyne Howard said, describing Morris’ impact on her.
After a long and successful career, it’s not easy to narrow down a single moment, but Morris said that the most memorable would probably be “when we were in the SEC tournament and we were playing against Alabama and Tay (Murray) hit me on the wing for a three and it kinda sealed the game for us to move on in the tournament.”
Basketball is king in the bluegrass, and as a native Kentuckian, Morris knows how big an impact she has on others’ lives.
“Having a platform like we do and having people look up to us like they do, it inspires us and holds us accountable for our actions. We try to be the best that we can so we can inspire kids,” Morris said.
Addressing everyone from her home of Bell County and the rest of Eastern Kentucky, Morris said, “Thank you guys, y’all have supported me so much for four years, y’all supported me through high school and everything. I just can’t thank you enough.”