Wilson & Mitchell Make Top 10 For Naismith Trophy
By USC SID
COLUMBIA, S.C. (USC SID) — South Carolina senior guard Tiffany Mitchell and sophomore forward A’ja Wilson are among 10 semifinalists for the Naismith Trophy, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today. The three-time SEC champion Gamecocks (28-1, 16-0 SEC) are one of two programs with multiple entries on the list, which features Mitchell for the second-straight season.
Mitchell recently earned First-Team All-SEC honors behind a season that has her ranked seventh in the SEC with 14.9 points per game as she posted 27 double-digit scoring games in 29 outings. In league play, the two-time All-American further dominated, ranking among the league’s top 11 in five stats – points per game (5th, 15.6), free throw percentage (2nd, .833), made 3s per game (6th, 1.7), steals per game (8th, 1.9) and assists per game (11th, 2.8). She scored in double figures in every league game except one in which she missed the second half due to injury and played key roles in wins over Vanderbilt, at #9/9 Kentucky, at #10/10 Mississippi State, at #10/10 Texas A&M, at #24/- Tennessee and against Georgia.
Named the SEC Player and Defensive Player of the Year earlier this week, Wilson has thrived in her sophomore season, stamping her authority on games throughout the season. She scored 20 points in seven of her 24 double-digit scoring games, including four against nationally ranked SEC foes. Wilson ranks 11th in the nation in blocks per game (3.1) and is also among the SEC’s top five in scoring (4th, 16.6 ppg), rebounding (4th, 8.7 rpg), field goal percentage (2nd, .547) and double-doubles (2nd, 11). Her late-game heroics helped deliver wins over #6/10 Ohio State, at UCLA, against #16/18 Arizona State, vs. #14/13 Duke, at #9/9 Kentucky and at #10/10 Mississippi State.
The semifinalist list will be narrowed to four finalists on March 18 with the Naismith Trophy winner being named on April 4.
No. 3/2 South Carolina (28-1, 16-0 SEC) begin play in the 2016 SEC Tournament in Jacksonville, Fla., on Fri., March 4, at noon ninth-seeded Auburn.
2015-16 Naismith Trophy Semifinalists
Rachel Banham, Sr., G, Minnesota
Nina Davis, Jr., F, Baylor
Moriah Jefferson, Sr., G, UConn
Kelsey Mitchell, So., G, Ohio State
Tiffany Mitchell, Sr., G, South Carolina
Kelsey Plum, Jr., G, Washington
Breanna Stewart, Sr., F, UConn
Brianna Turner, So., F, Notre Dame
Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, Jr., G, Maryland
A’ja Wilson, So., F, South Carolina