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March 16, 2010

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina freshman center Kelsey Bone earned SEC Newcomer of the Year honors from the Associated Press, the organization announced today. Bone, also named to the All-SEC Second Team by the voters, is the first Gamecock to win the newcomer award since South Carolina joined the SEC for the 1991-92 season.

“We are really happy for Kelsey to have achieved one of the goals she set out for herself this season,” South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley said. “It is a tremendous accomplishment to lead a league of this caliber in rebounding in your first season, and she did it as the focus of every scouting report an opposing coach put together. This is just the first of what we believe will be many accolades for Kelsey throughout her Gamecock career.”

Bone led the SEC with 9.2 rebounds per game and was the league’s ninth-highest scorer at 14.0 points per game. Her rebounding average ranks among the nation’s top 50 and is the fifth-highest by any freshman in the country. Bone posted nine double-doubles this season, the most for a Gamecock freshman since 1978-79 and the most by any Gamecock since 2002-03. She scored in double figures 22 times in the team’s 29 contests, including six 20-point games and a 32-point outing at Clemson. Bone pulled down double-digit rebounds 13 times and was the team’s leading rebounder 20 times.

Bone was a central figure in a Gamecock team that improved to 7-9 in SEC play after turning in a 2-12 record last season. South Carolina’s schedule was ranked 11th-toughest in the nation, second among SEC teams. The Gamecocks won three games against nationally-ranked teams, the most since the 2002-03 campaign, during which South Carolina was also ranked among the nation’s top 25.

AP SEC Coach of the Year
Matthew Mitchell, Kentucky

AP SEC Player of the Year
Victoria Dunlap, Kentucky

AP SEC Newcomer of the Year
Kelsey Bone, South Carolina

AP All-SEC First Team
Victoria Dunlap, Kentucky*
Allison Hightower, LSU*
Bianca Thomas, Ole Miss
Angie Bjorklund, Tennessee
Kelley Cain, Tennessee

AP All-SEC Second Team
Ashley Houts, Georgia
Kelsey Bone, South Carolina>br> Shekinna Stricklen, Tennessee
Alexis Rack, Mississippi State
Jence Rhoads, Vanderbilt

* indicates unanimous selection