Kentucky's Mathies Repeats As SEC Player Of The Year
ATLANTA -- The Southeastern Conference women's player of the year has found a home in the Bluegrass State.
Kentucky guard A'dia Mathies was selected as the SEC's top player by The Associated Press for the second year in a row Tuesday - and ensured the Wildcats held on to the award for the fourth straight season.
Kentucky's Victoria Dunlap won in 2010 and 2011 before Mathies went back-to-back.
Tennessee claimed the other two awards announced by the AP. Holly Warlick, who took over for the ailing Pat Summitt, was a unanimous choice as coach of the year. Freshman center Bashaara Graves was picked as newcomer of the year on every ballot.
"To win the player of the year four straight seasons means a lot to our program," Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell said. "It's a tribute to our players and how hard they've worked."
"A'dia Mathies is the smartest basketball player I've ever been around and that I've ever had the chance to coach." Mitchell said. "I certainly haven't been around anybody that's been more meaningful to a program than she has been here at Kentucky."
Mathies was the SEC's fifth-leading scorer (15.9 points per game) and ranked second in 3-point percentage (.408), leading the NCAA-bound Wildcats (27-5) to a runner-up finish behind conference champion Tennessee.
In basketball-crazy Kentucky, the women's program has carved out its own niche thanks to players such as Mathies.
"She's really helped us get to a different spot than where we were when she entered the program," Mitchell said. "I hope we have a lot more games to watch her play in a Kentucky uniform but when it's all over, she will absolutely go down as one of the greats to ever play here."
Warlick also was chosen as coach of the year by her SEC colleagues.
The 17th annual AP All-SEC women's squad was selected by a regional media panel.
The Kentucky Women's team opens NCAA Tournament play Sunday against Navy in Queens, New York.