WKYT | Lexington, Kentucky | Sports

UK sweeps SEC women's basketball honors

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Continuing one of the best seasons in school history, the 19th-ranked Kentucky women’s basketball team has been awarded three major postseason honors, the conference office announced Tuesday. Junior forward Victoria Dunlap was named Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, freshman guard A’dia’ Mathies was named Freshman of the Year and head coach Matthew Mitchell was named Coach of the Year.

It marks just the second time in SEC history that one team has won all three of the top honors. Tennessee’s Pat Summitt, Chamique Holdsclaw and Tamika Catchings also accomplished the feat in 1998 en route to its sixth NCAA Championship title.

Despite being picked to finish 11th in the preseason polls by the league’s coaches and media, Mitchell has led the Wildcats to a remarkable turnaround, going from 16-16 overall, 5-9 in the SEC last season, to an impressive 23-6 overall record, including a school-best 11-5 mark in conference play. He becomes just the second coach in UK history to earn SEC Coach of the Year honors.

Dunlap (Nashville, Tenn.) receives the school’s first Player of the Year nod after ranking in the top 10 of seven different SEC statistical categories. She is the only player in the league to rank in the top five in scoring (fifth - 17.2) and rebounding (third - 8.4), and she also ranks 13th nationally leads the SEC in steals (3.1), ranks fifth in blocks (1.9) and is seventh in field goal percentage (.490).

Dunlap also was elected to the All-Defensive team and was a unanimous choice for first-team All-SEC. She is just the ninth player in school history to be named to the All-SEC first team and the first since Stacey Reed in 1994.

Mathies (Louisville, Ky.), who Mitchell calls a “difference marker,” was named UK’s first Freshman of the Year after following Dunlap in nearly every statistical category. She is averaging 12.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game and is tied for 11th overall in scoring and third overall in steals (2.5) in the SEC. Mathies has scored in double figures in 21 of 29 games, including 11 of 16 league contests. All four of her 20-point scoring outings were against SEC competition. She ranks among UK’s all-time freshman leaders in 11 categories, including setting a new school record for steals by a freshman with 72. She also was named to the All-SEC second team and was a unanimous choice for the All-SEC freshman team.

This is the seventh consecutive season UK has had at least one player selected to the All-SEC teams.

The 2010 SEC Women's Basketball Tournament begins Thursday, March 4 and runs through Sunday, March 7 in The Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga. SEC’s regional sports network (Fox Sports South, Fox Sports Southwest and Sun Sports) will televise all games on Thursday and Friday. Saturday’s semifinal games will be broadcast on ESPNU and ESPN2 will carry the championship game.

The Cats have secured the No. 2 seed and will face either No. 7 seed Florida or No. 10 seed Auburn on Friday, March 5 at 2:30 p.m. EST. The Cats’ No. 2 ranking marks their highest finish in the SEC’s current 12-team format and their highest since UK was the East’s No. 2 seed in 1983 when the SEC had a 10-team divisional format.

The complete 2010 SEC Women's Basketball Postseason Awards follow:

First Team All-SEC

Ashley Houts, UG

*Victoria Dunlap, UK

*Allison Hightower, LSU

Bianca Thomas, UM

Alexis Rack, MSU

*Angie Bjorklund, UT

Kelley Cain, UT

Jence Rhoads, VU

Second Team All-SEC

Alli Smalley, AU

A’dia Mathies, UK

Shekinna Stricklen, UT

LaSondra Barrett, LSU

Armelie Lumanu, MSU

Kelsey Bone, SC

Valerie Nainima, SC

Merideth Marsh, VU

All-Freshman Team

Jennifer George, UF

Jasmine Hassell, UG

*Jasmine James, UG

*A’dia Mathies, UK

*Kelsey Bone, SC

Elan Brown, VU

*Tiffany Clarke, VU

All-Defensive Team

Victoria Dunlap, UK

Allison Hightower, LSU

Armelie Lumanu, MSU

Chanel Mokango, MSU

Kelley Cain, UT

Coach of the Year

Matthew Mitchell, Kentucky

Player of the Year

Victoria Dunlap, Kentucky

Freshman of the Year

A’dia Mathies, Kentucky

Defensive Player of the Year

Armelie Lumanu, Mississippi State

6th Woman of the Year

Alyssia Brewer, Tennessee


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