The basketball season didn’t end the way they wanted it to, but A’ja Wilson and Tiffany Mitchell got off to a great start in award season.
The two South Carolina standouts were named All-Americans by the Associated Press on Monday, Wilson earning first-team honors and Mitchell on the second team. It was the third All-American season for Mitchell, who made the WBCA team and the AP third team as a sophomore and was first-team by the WBCA, USBWA and AP as a junior. Wilson was third-team AP and WBCA honorable mention as a freshman.
Wilson is the seventh first-team All-American by at least one service in USC history. She led the Gamecocks with 16.1 points per game and was second with 8.7 rebounds. The sophomore was the SEC’s Player and Defensive Player of the Year.
She was joined on the first team by Connecticut’s dynamic duo of Breanna Stewart, a two-time National Player of the Year and favorite to win it a third time, and Moriah Jefferson. Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell and Minnesota’s Rachel Banham rounded out the first team.
"That's something I always grew up thinking about. I've always wanted to achieve a lot of things. That's an honor. I'm blessed to be in this position and I can't really put it into words," Wilson told the AP. "I have so much work to do to put into my game — to have that honor when I'm just a sophomore really does warm my heart."
Tiffany Mitchell made the second team after averaging 15.1 points per game and leading the team in assists. She was joined on the second team by UConn’s Morgan Tuck, Notre Dame’s Brianna Turner, Baylor’s Nina Davis and Oregon State’s Jamie Weisner.
Wilson and Mitchell are also two of the four finalists for the Naismith trophy, two of 15 semifinalists for the Wade Trophy (along with honorable mention AP All-American Alaina Coates) and two of the semifinalists for the Wooden Award. All three trophies are presented to the most outstanding player in college basketball and winners will be announced this week.
Coates was on the honorable mention list after averaging a double-double this season (12.1 points, 10.1 rebounds).
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AP ALL-AMERICAN TEAM
Breanna Stewart, UConn, 6-4, senior, North Syracuse, N.Y., 19.2 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 4.0 apg, 58.2 fg pct, 41.2 3pt, 82.2 ft, 3.5 blocks, 1.7 steals (32 first-team votes, 160 total points).
A’ja Wilson, South Carolina, 6-5, sophomore, Hopkins, S.C., 16.4 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 54.4 fg pct, 3.1 blocks (29, 154)
Moriah Jefferson, UConn, 5-7, senior, Glenn Heights, Texas, 12.6 ppg, 5.4 apg, 55.1 fg pct, 39.4 3pt, 90.7 ft, 2.7 steals (28, 152).
Kelsey Mitchell, Ohio State, 5-8, sophomore, Cincinnati, 25.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 3.3 apg, 40.2 3pt, 85.1 ft, 36.6 minutes, 1.7 steals (22, 140).
Rachel Banham, Minnesota, 5-9, senior, Lakeville, Minn., 27.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 4.0 apg, 39.9 3pt, 85.6 ft, 2.0 steals (21, 132).<
Nina Davis, Baylor, 5-11, junior, Memphis, Tenn., 15.6 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 54.1 fg (7, 99).
Brianna Turner, Notre Dame, 6-3, sophomore, Pearland, Texas, 14.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 59.6 fg pct, 3.2 blocks (6, 98).
Tiffany Mitchell, South Carolina, 5-9, senior, Charlotte, N.C., 15.0 ppg, 2.5 apg, 82.9 ft, 1.8 steals (4, 66).
Morgan Tuck, UConn, 6-2, junior, Bolingbrook, Ill., 12.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 3.2 apg, 50.2 fg (1, 60).
Jamie Weisner, Oregon State, 5-10, senior, Clarkston, Wash., 17.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2.2 apg, 44.5 3pt, 87.3 ft (1, 55).<
Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, Maryland, 5-11, junior, Aliquippa, Pa., 19.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 3.3 apg, 54.9 fg, 54.0 3pt, 2.0 steals (2, 50).
Kelsey Plum, Washington, 5-8, junior, Poway, Calif., 26.2 ppg, 3.8 apg, 37.9 minutes, 89.5 ft, 1.6 steals (0, 44).
Brittney Martin, Oklahoma State, 6-0, senior, Syracuse, Utah, 20.3 ppg, 11.2 rpg, 2.3 apg, 36.9 minutes, 50.1 fg, 2.9 blocks (3, 40).
Jillian Alleyne, Oregon, 6-3, senior, Fontana, Calif., 19.0 ppg, 13.6 rpg, 2.0 apg, 58.5 fg (1, 30).
Aerial Powers, Michigan State, 6-0, junior, Detroit, 21.9 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 2.8 apg, 84.0 ft, 1.9 steals (0, 30).<
Honorable Mention (in alphabetical order)
Ameryst Alston, Ohio State; Imani Boyette, Texas; Madison Cable, Notre Dame; Jordin Canada, UCLA; Alaina Coates, South Carolina; Nia Coffey, Northwestern; Lexi Eaton Rydalch, BYU; Makayla Epps (1), Kentucky; Nathalie Fontaine, Ball State; Bashaara Graves, Tennessee; Ruth Hamblin, Oregon State; Myisha Hines-Allen, Louisville; Bria Holmes, West Virginia; Chanise Jenkins, DePaul; Alexis Jones, Baylor; Brionna Jones, Maryland; Jonquel Jones, George Washington; Niya Johnson (1), Baylor; Jackie Kemph, Saint Louis; Whitney Knight, Florida Gulf Coast; Kelsey Minato, Army; Jasmine Nwajei, Wagner; Shereesha Richards, Albany; Azura Stevens, Duke; Courtney Walker, Texas A&M; Sydney Wiese, Oregon State; Courtney Williams (1), South Florida.