A'ja Wilson Continues to Collect All-America Honors
April 1, 2017
COLUMBIA, S.C. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬” South Carolina junior forward A’ja Wilson added First-Team All-America recognition from the WBCA to her collection of award this season, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association announced Saturday night in Dallas. It marks the second season Wilson has earned the WBCA honor and the fourth-straight season the organization has recognized a Gamecock. Senior center Alaina Coates earned honorable mention as well.
Wilson has powered the Gamecocks to the brink of an NCAA championship for the first time in program history. This season marks South Carolina’ second NCAA Final Four appearance in Wilson’s three-year career so far. Handling all the attention that a national player of the year finalist and one of the most dynamic post players in the nation draws, she has continued to deliver, averaging 18.4 points and 8.6 rebounds in NCAA Tournament action. She has two double-doubles in five games of the event and a pair of 20-point outings. Her ability to rise to the challenge in a tight fourth quarter has been unmatched, boosting her team past a two-point deficit against Arizona State in the Sweet 16 and holding on to a four-point advantage over Stanford in the Final Four heading into the final period of play.
On the season, Wilson has amassed 10 double-doubles and a career-high 13 20-point games. Averaging 17.7 points and 7.8 rebounds overall, she lifted those averages to 18.7 points and 8.8 rebounds against ranked opponents, against whom six of her 20-point games came. She is 15th in the nation in field goal percentage at .588 and 21st in blocked shots (2.5 per game).
Injury shortened Coates’ career by several games, but her resume still stands among the best to wear a Gamecock uniform, highlighted by being the first to earn All-SEC honors all four years of her career. This season’s domination included averaging a double-double overall (12.9 ppg/10.7 rpg), in SEC action (12.7 ppg/11.1 rpg) and against ranked opponents (11.8 ppg/11.4 rpg). Coates owned the glass on both ends of the floor, leading the team in rebounds 20 times in her 28 outings and ranking fourth in the SEC in offensive rebounds and ninth in the nation with an SEC-best 7.4 defensive boards per outing. Among active NCAA Division I players, she is second in career rebounds (1,230) and double-doubles (57), ranking second in school history in both categories as well. Coates is just the third Gamecock all-time to reach the 1,000-rebound plateau and the first since 1980-81 to amass 50 career double-doubles.
No. 3/4 South Carolina will play in Sunday’s NCAA National Championship game against SEC-rival Mississippi State, ranked seventh in the nation. Tipoff from American Airlines Center in Dallas is set for 6:15 p.m. ET on ESPN.
WBCA All-America Team
Kalani Brown, So., C, Baylor
Napheesa Collier, So., F, UConn
Kelsey Mitchell, Jr., G Ohio State
Chantel Osahor, Sr., F, Washington
Alexis Peterson, Sr., G, Syracuse
Kelsey Plum, Sr., G, Washington
Katie Lou Samuelson, So., G/F, UConn
Brianna Turner, Jr., F, Notre Dame
Gabby Williams, Jr., F, UConn
A’ja Wilson, Jr., F, South Carolina