Jan. 15, 2016
COLUMBIA, S.C. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬” South Carolina senior guard Tiffany Mitchell and sophomore forward A’ja Wilson were named to the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 20, the organization announced today. Both Gamecocks appeared on the award’s final ballot last season with Mitchell named a finalist for the national player of the year honor. South Carolina is one of three teams with multiple selections to the midseason list.
Mitchell has been dominating SEC play after working through offseason surgery in the first six weeks of the season. Still averaging over 14.2 points in non-conference play, the two-time SEC Player of the Year announced her renewed candidacy for that award once SEC action kicked in. She is third in the league with 17.3 points per SEC contest on 44.9 percent shooting, which ranks fifth in the league. Mitchell adds 3.3 assists and 2.0 steals per conference game as well, affecting opponents on both sides of the ball. She has also shown her trademark ability to take over a game when the Gamecocks most need her, delivering in key moments of wins at Vanderbilt (Jan. 7), vs. #20/- Missouri (Jan. 10) and at #9/9 Kentucky (Jan. 14).
Wilson is the Gamecocks’ top scorer this season with 16.4 points per game and averages a double-double in SEC play ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬” 17.3 points and 10.0 rebounds. Like Mitchell, she has been a key go-to option for South Carolina, hitting the game-winning free throws to edge out then-No. 16/18 Arizona State (Nov. 27) and dominating a second-half comeback at No. 9/9 Kentucky (Jan. 14). In addition to an SEC-best nine double-doubles this season, the agile 6-foot-5 forward has been focused on defense as well, leading the SEC with 3.1 blocked shots per game, including 3.5 in league play.
Created in 1976, the John R. Wooden Award is the most prestigious individual honor in college basketball. It is bestowed upon the nation’s best player at an institution of higher education who has proven to his or her university that he or she is making progress toward graduation and maintaining a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA. Since its inception, the John R. Wooden Award has contributed close to a million dollars to universities’ general scholarship fund in the names of the All American recipients.
No. 2/2 South Carolina is back in action at Colonial Life Arena on Sun., Jan. 15, against No. 15/11 Texas A&M. Tipoff is at for 1:30 p.m. with the game airing on ESPN2.
2016 Wooden Award Midseason Top 20
Jillian Alleyne, Sr. F, Oregon
Ameryst Alston, Sr., G, Ohio State
Rachel Banham, Sr., G, Minnesota
Nia Coffey, Jr., F, Northwestern
Nina Davis, Jr., F, Baylor
Diamond DeShields, So., G, Tennessee
Moriah Jefferson, Sr., G, Connecticut
Brionna Jones, Jr., C, Maryland
Kelsey Mitchell, So., G, Ohio State
Tiffany Mitchell, Sr., G, South Carolina
Kelsey Plum, Jr., G, Washington
Aerial Powers, Jr., F, Michigan State
Azura Stevens, So., F/G, Duke
Breanna Stewart, Sr., F, Connecticut
Morgan Tuck, Jr., F, Connecticut
Brianna Turner, So., F, Notre Dame
Victoria Vivians, So., F, Mississippi State
Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, Jr., G, Maryland
Courtney Williams, Sr., G, South Florida
A’ja Wilson, So., F, South Carolina