Jen Smith on Basketball

Cats will be without Murray for SEC Tournament semifinals

If Kentucky is going to make a run at the Southeastern Conference Tournament championship, it’s going to be doing it without sophomore Taylor Murray.

Before the semifinals against defending champion South Carolina, a UK spokesman confirmed that the speedy point guard would be sidelined by a neck strain and whiplash.

Murray, who had a career-best 29 points against the No. 6 Gamecocks less than a week ago, suffered what looked like a head injury with 11 seconds to go against Alabama on Friday.

UK’s guard slammed into a screen at midcourt and crumpled to the floor a game ago.

“She ran right into that kid full speed,” Mitchell said of Murray, who walked off the floor on her own and went back to the locker room with ice on her neck. “She doesn't feel great right now, but it's too early to tell what's going to happen. It was a terrible, terrible collision.”

The UK coach was quick to point out that it was a “clean, legal play.”

Just unlucky, Mitchell added.

“Taylor was hustling, and it is a bad break for us if it is anything that lingers,” he said.

Coming into the tournament, Murray was averaging 12.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.5 assists for the Cats.

If UK’s tournament run ends against the Gamecocks, Murray will have a decent amount of time to recover from her injury before Kentucky has to play in the NCAA Tournament again.

The NCAA selection show is March 13 and the first rounds of the tournament begin nearly two weeks from now on March 17.