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Thursday February 20th, 2020 12:49AM

South Carolina's Wilson earns SEC player of the year again

By The Associated Press

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — South Carolina's A'ja Wilson is the Associated Press' Southeastern Conference women's basketball 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 averages 22.9 points to lead the SEC and also averages 12 rebounds to rank third in the conference.

Mississippi State's Vic Schaefer is the 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.

Wilson, a unanimous pick as player of the year the last two seasons, 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. 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 hasn'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 the team capped a perfect regular season with a win 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.

___

FIRST TEAM (listed alphabetically)

Chennedy Carter, Texas A&M, G, 5-7, Mansfield, Texas

Sophie Cunningham, Missouri, G, 6-1, Jr., Columbia, Missouri

u-Teaira McCowan, Mississippi State, C, 6-7, Jr., Brenham, Texas

u-Victoria Vivians, Missssippi State, G, 6-1, Sr., Carthage, Mississippi

u-A'ja Wilson, South Carolina, F, 6-5, Sr., Hopkins, South Carolina

___

SECOND TEAM

Tyasha Harris, South Carolina, G, 5-10, Soph., Noblesville, Indiana

Chloe Jackson, LSU, G, 5-9, Jr., Upper Marlboro, Maryland

Jaime Nared, Tennessee, G/F, 6-2, Sr., Portland, Oregon

Caliya Robinson, Georgia, F, 6-3, Jr., Marietta, Georgia

Mercedes Russell, Tennessee, C, 6-6, Sr., Springfield, Oregon

___

Player of the year - A'ja Wilson, South Carolina

Coach of the year - Vic Schaefer, Mississippi State

Newcomer of the year - u-Chennedy Carter, Texas A&M

u-unanimous

___

AP All-SEC Voting Panel

Robert Cessna, The Eagle (Bryan-College Station, Texas); David Cloninger, The Post and Courier (Charleston, South Carolina); Damien Dennis, Opelika-Auburn (Alabama) News; Dan Fleser, Knoxville (Tennessee) News-Sentinel; Greg Hadley, The State (Columbia, South Carolina); Dave Matter, St. Louis Post-Dispatch; Adam Minichino, The Commercial Dispatch (Columbus, Mississippi); Lauren Moore, The Daily Times (Maryville, Tennessee); Scott Rabalais, The Advocate (Baton Rouge, Louisiana); Will Sammon, The Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, Mississippi); Jen Smith, Lexington (Kentucky) Herald-Leader

___

AP Sports Writer Gary Graves in Lexington, Kentucky, contributed to this report.

___

Follow Steve Megargee at https://twitter.com/stevemegargee

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, College Sports, AP Online - Georgia News, AP Sports - Women's College Basketball
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