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Wilson named AP Player of Year; Coach Schaefer, Vivians, McCowan honored

 

Mississippi State women’s basketball coach Vic Schaefer holds the net he finished cutting down following his team’s 76-55 victory against  then-No. 17 Texas A&M that clinched the  program’s first Southeastern Conference  regular-season title.

Mississippi State women’s basketball coach Vic Schaefer holds the net he finished cutting down following his team’s 76-55 victory against then-No. 17 Texas A&M that clinched the program’s first Southeastern Conference regular-season title. Photo by: Jim Lytle/Special to The Dispatch  Buy this photo.

 

By The Associated Press

 

 

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- South Carolina's A'ja Wilson is the Associated Press' Southeastern Conference Player of the Year for a third-consecutive season. 

 

Mississippi State teammates Teaira McCowan and Victoria Vivians joined Wilson as unanimous first-team selections on the All-SEC team announced Tuesday. The other first-team picks were Missouri's Sophie Cunningham and Texas A&M's Chennedy Carter. 

 

Carter, a freshman guard, also was a unanimous selection as SEC Newcomer of the Year. 

 

Wilson led South Carolina to the 2017 national title and has followed that up with a sensational senior season. The 6-foot-5 forward has 22.9 points per game to lead the SEC and also averages 12 rebounds to rank third in the conference. 

 

After being a unanimous pick as player of the year the last two seasons, Wilson got seven of the 11 votes this time. Three voters selected Vivians and one chose McCowan. 

 

Wilson's status for this week's SEC tournament in Nashville, Tennessee, is uncertain after a case of vertigo prevented her from playing in the eight-ranked Gamecocks' regular-season finale at No. 12 Tennessee, a game South Carolina lost 65-46. 

 

South Carolina coach Dawn Staley said after the Tennessee game that she'd be "on bended knee" hoping Wilson could return in time for the SEC tournament. 

 

Mississippi State's Vic Schaefer is the SEC Coach of the Year after leading the second-ranked Bulldogs to the first unbeaten regular season by an SEC team since Tennessee's 1997-98 national championship squad. 

 

The Bulldogs haven't lost since falling to South Carolina in last year's NCAA championship game. 

 

"We've had that target all year, starting with the first game for what we did a year ago," Schaefer said Sunday after Mississippi State capped its perfect regular season with a victory over Kentucky. "As we started winning games and the streak has continued, now you've got two big targets. It's stopping the streak and it's the team that was in the national championship game a year ago, so these kids have taken everybody's best shot." 

 

Second-team All-SEC picks include Tennessee teammates Jaime Nared and Mercedes Russell, South Carolina's Tyasha Harris, LSU's Chloe Jackson, and Georgia's Caliya Robinson. 

 

The All-SEC team was selected by a regional media panel.

 

 

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