LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky women’s basketball team was again honored for its season Tuesday, this time by The Associated Press. Junior guard A’dia Mathies was named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year by the AP, as freshman Bria Goss claimed SEC Newcomer of the Year honors and UK Hoops head coach Matthew Mitchell took home SEC Coach of the Year honors. Mathies was also a unanimous selection for first team All-SEC.
Mathies is UK’s first AP SEC Player of the Year since Victoria Dunlap claimed the honor in 2011. Mathies was also named the SEC Player of the Year by the 12 league coaches, and was named a member of the SEC All-Defensive Team and first team All-SEC by the league coaches. Mathies continued her strong play in the SEC Tournament, averaging 21.0 points, and was named to the SEC All-Tournament Team. The Louisville, Ky., native is also a candidate for four national player of the year awards: the Naismith Award, John R. Wooden Award, Wade Trophy and USBWA Women’s Player of the Year.
Mathies leads the Wildcats in scoring (15.7 points per game), 3-point field goal percentage (.381) and steals (2.7 steals per game). The Louisville, Ky., native is second on the team in rebounds (5.3 rebounds per game), 3-point field goals made (48), and assists (2.5 assists per game).
Goss becomes Kentucky’s first AP SEC Freshman of the Year. The Indianapolis native is second on the team in scoring and first in the SEC among freshmen, averaging 11.2 points per game. Goss has also been a consistent scorer, reaching double figures in scoring in 21 of 31 games. The freshman star shot the ball well from beyond the arc, ranking 10th in the SEC in 3-point field goal percentage (.333), and also got to the foul line well, making 81 of her 110 free-throw attempts (.736), the ninth best clip in the league. A fearless defender, Goss also took a team-high 18 charges.
In the UK freshman record books, Goss is on pace to have the seventh highest scoring average and already has the fourth most double-figure scoring games. She is tied for the fifth most 3-pointers made.
It is Mitchell’s second AP SEC Coach of the Year award in the last three years. Mitchell, who is in his fifth year at the helm at Kentucky, also won the award in 2010 after guiding the Wildcats, which were selected to finish 11th in the league in the 2009-10 preseason, to a second-place finish in the league. This year, Mitchell has guided the Wildcats to one of their most successful seasons in program history. In addition to winning a school-record 13 SEC games, Kentucky won its first SEC regular season championship in 30 years, and has won 25 games game for the third straight season for the first time in program history. Mitchell is also one of 10 coaches named to the watch list for the national coach of the year by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.
On Monday, the Wildcats were awarded a two seed, their first two seed since 1982, and tying their highest seed ever. It is Kentucky’s ninth NCAA Tournament appearance and its third in the last three years, marking the first time in program history that has been accomplished. Kentucky will face McNeese State in the first round in Ames, Iowa. The game will tip at 4:20 p.m. ET and will air on ESPN2.