David Cloninger

A’ja Wilson cleans up All-SEC awards

A’ja Wilson finished a banner year with two SEC superlative awards.
A’ja Wilson finished a banner year with two SEC superlative awards. tglantz@thestate.com

South Carolina sophomore A’ja Wilson was named SEC Player of the Year and SEC Defensive Player of the Year on Tuesday, capping a season in which she led the league in blocks and finished in the league’s top five in scoring and rebounding.

Wilson, who joked in the preseason that she wanted to win the defensive prize, earned it by averaging more than three blocks a game and she brought the player of the year award to USC for a third straight season.

She’s only the second player to win each award in the same season, and the third sophomore to win SEC Player of the Year. USC is the first team in league history to have three straight SEC Players of the Year.

Teammates Tiffany Mitchell and Alaina Coates, also candidates for player of the year, made the coaches’ all-SEC first team. Mitchell was named to the first team for the third straight year but missed becoming the first three-time SEC Player of the Year in league history. Coates made the first team after being on the second team in the past two years.

Coach Dawn Staley, after guiding a team that dealt with injuries to the second 16-0 season in SEC history, won her third straight SEC Coach of the Year award. She’s the first coach in league history to earn it three years in a row.

The Gamecocks joined the SEC in 1992 and had two individual superlatives through 2012. Since 2013, they’ve had 12.

The Associated Press all-SEC awards will be announced in two weeks.

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First-team All-SEC

Shacobia Barbee, Georgia

Alaina Coates, South Carolina

Makayla Epps, Kentucky

Jessica Jackson, Arkansas

Tiffany Mitchell, South Carolina

Victoria Vivians, Mississippi State

Courtney Walker, Texas A&M

A’ja Wilson, South Carolina

Second-team All-SEC

Evelyn Akhator, Kentucky

Sophie Cunningham, Missouri

Jordan Frericks, Missouri

Tiaria Griffin, Georgia

Jordan Jones, Texas A&M

Janee Thompson, Kentucky

Courtney Williams, Texas A&M

Ronni Williams, Florida

All-defensive team

Shacobia Barbee, Georgia

Dominique Dillingham, Mississippi State

Jordan Jones, Texas A&M

Simone Westbrook, Florida

A’ja Wilson, South Carolina

All-freshman team

Eleanna Christinaki, Florida

Te’a Cooper, Tennessee

Sophie Cunningham, Missouri

Anriel Howard, Texas A&M

Teaira McCowan, Mississippi State

Maci Morris, Kentucky

Caliya Robinson, Georgia

Cierra Porter, Missouri

SEC Player of the Year

A’ja Wilson, South Carolina

SEC Freshman of the Year

Sophie Cunningham, Missouri

SEC Defensive Player of the Year

A’ja Wilson, South Carolina

SEC 6th Woman of the Year

Chelsea Jennings, Texas A&M

SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year

Marjorie Butler, Georgia

SEC Coach of the Year

Dawn Staley, South Carolina

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