LEXINGTON, Ky. – Senior guard A’dia Mathies has been named Southeastern Conference women’s player of the year by The Associated Press for the second straight season. Mathies also was a unanimous first-team selection for the second year in a row, while junior center DeNesha Stallworth was named to the second team.
Mathies is Kentucky’s fourth consecutive AP SEC Player of the Year as former Wildcat Victoria Dunlap (2008-11) claimed the honor in 2010 and 2011. No other league school has won more than two consecutive player of the year awards since the AP began naming a top player in 1997.
“To win the player of the year four straight seasons means a lot to our program,” UK Hoops head 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. I certainly haven’t been around anybody that’s been more meaningful to a program than she has here at Kentucky. She’s really helped us get to a different spot than where we were when she entered the program so it’s really been a great, great experience and 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.”
Mathies, who was also named the SEC Co-Player of the Year and first-team All-SEC by the 14 league coaches, leads seventh-ranked Kentucky with 15.3 points per game. She has reached double figures in 30-of-32 games this season, including 23 in a row. She ranks in the top 10 on four UK single-season lists, including third in 3-point-field goal percentage (.408), tied for sixth in 3-point field goals made (64), tied for ninth in scoring (510) and eighth in 3-point field goals attempted (157). The Louisville, Ky., native is also a candidate for four national player of the year awards: the Naismith Award, John R. Wooden Award, Wade Trophy and Ann Meyers Drysdale Award.
Stallworth, who was a first-team All-SEC selection by the league coaches, is tied for the team lead in blocks (50) and ranks second in scoring (12.7 ppg), rebounds (5.9 rpg) and field-goal percentage (.482). Her 50 blocks ties for fourth on UK’s single-season blocks list. The Richmond, Calif., native also ranks in the top 20 in SEC scoring, rebounding, field-goal percentage and blocks.
On Monday, the Wildcats were awarded a two seed in the Bridgeport Regional, tying their highest seed ever. It is Kentucky’s 10th overall NCAA Tournament appearance, including school-record fourth consecutive. The Wildcats (27-5) will face 15th-seeded Navy in the first round Sunday, March 24 at Carnesecca Arena in Queens, N.Y. The game will air live on ESPNU and the UK IMG Sports Network at 12:05 p.m. ET.