Feb. 17, 2016
COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina senior guard Tiffany Mitchell and sophomore forward A’ja Wilson were named to the John R. Wooden Award Late Season Top 20 List, the organization announced on Wednesday. The pair of Gamecocks earned spots on the award’s final ballot last season, and Mitchell was tabbed a finalist for the national player of the year honor. South Carolina is one of four teams with multiple selections to the late season list.
Mitchell, a two-time SEC Player of the Year, has once again been a force in league play. The Charlotte, N.C., native ranks sixth with 15.4 points per game against SEC opponents, and her field goal and free throw percentage stand as the fourth-highest marks. Mitchell has been one of South Carolina’s most reliable scorers in crunch time, as the guard has continued to take over games in her final season. Seven-straight fourth-quarter points from the senior helped the Gamecocks pull away from No. 10/10 Mississippi State (Jan. 24), and she scored 18 of her 20 points in the second half in South Carolina’s win at No. 10/10 Texas A&M (Jan. 31).
Wilson has anchored the Gamecocks on both ends of the floor this season, leading the team with 16.7 points per game and an SEC-best 3.2 blocks per contest. Her 53.8 shooting percentage is good for the second-best mark in the conference, and the sophomore also ranks in the top five in scoring and rebounding. Wilson is one of just two players in the SEC to boast double-digit double-doubles on the year, and she has played especially well against the nation’s top competition, averaging 19.3 points and 9.8 rebounds in games against top-25 foes.
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. 3/2 South Carolina (24-1, 12-0 SEC), which has already claimed at least a share of the SEC regular-season title for the third-straight year, returns to action on Thur., Feb. 18, when it hosts Georgia at Colonial Life Arena. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. ET, and the game can be seen on SEC Network+.
2016 Wooden Award Late Season Top 20
Jillian Alleyne, Oregon
Ameryst Alston, Ohio State
Rachel Banham, Minnesota
Jordin Canada, UCLA
Nia Coffey, Northwestern
Nina Davis, Baylor
Moriah Jefferson, UConn
Brionna Jones, Maryland
Kelsey Mitchell, Ohio State
Tiffany Mitchell, South Carolina
Kelsey Plum, Washington
Aerial Powers, Michigan State
Azura Stevens, Duke
Breanna Stewart, UConn
Morgan Tuck, UConn
Brianna Turner, Notre Dame
Victoria Vivians, Mississippi State
Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, Maryland
Courtney Williams, South Florida
A’ja Wilson, South Carolina