LEXINGTON, Ky. – Three Kentucky women’s basketball players were honored by the Southeastern Conference on Tuesday including senior guard A’dia Mathies, who was named the 2013 SEC Co-Player of the Year along with Tennessee’s Meighan Simmons. Junior center DeNesha Stallworth joins Mathies on the All-SEC First Team, while junior forward/center Samarie Walker was named to the All-SEC Second Team and All-Defensive Team.
Mathies, a native of Louisville, Ky., becomes the first player in the SEC to win back-to-back SEC Player of the Year honors from the league coaches since Seimone Augustus of LSU earned it in 2005 and 2006. The 5-foot-9 guard also gives UK its third Player of the Year honor from the league coaches in the last four years. Former All-American Victoria Dunlap (2008-11) earned the award in 2010.
Mathies was named the SEC’s top player after leading seventh-ranked Kentucky to its fourth consecutive 25-win season, including a school-record-tying 13 wins in conference play. In SEC games, she ranks second in scoring (18.2 ppg) and 3-point field goal percentage (.447), third in 3-point field goals made per game (2.4), fifth in free-throw percentage (.810) and eighth in field-goal percentage (.417).
The All-America candidate is the SEC’s active leading scorer with 1,899 career points. She has scored double figures in 27-of-29 games this season, including 20 in a row. She is the first player in Kentucky basketball history (men or women) to accumulate over 1,800 points, 500 rebounds, 300 assists and 300 steals in her career, and currently ranks in the top 10 of 13 UK career lists, including No. 2 in scoring and No. 3 in steals (303). She needs just six more steals to tie the career record of 309 set by Stacey Reed from 1991-95.
Stallworth, who is in her first year playing in the SEC after transferring from Cal last season, joins Mathies on the first team. The 6-foot-3 center ranks second on the team in scoring (12.5 ppg), blocks (44), rebounding (6.0 rpg), field-goal percentage (.485), and field goals made (144). In the SEC-only stats, she ranks in the top 20 in scoring (17th), rebounding (17th), field-goal percentage (fifth) and blocks (fifth).
The Richmond, Calif., native has charted a team-high-tying eight double-doubles this season and has scored in double digits 22 times, including 11 SEC games.
Walker was named to the second team and all-defensive team as the only post player in the SEC to rank in the top 10 in rebounding (third), blocks (fourth) and steals (10th). The 6-1 forward leads UK in rebounding (8.6), steals (2.1), field-goal percentage (.545) and blocks (1.6). She also is fourth on the team in scoring with 9.5 points per game. The West Carrollton, Ohio native has eight double-doubles this season and has been Kentucky’s leading rebounder in 15 games with 12 double-figure rebounding performances.
The Wildcats (25-4) begin postseason play Friday, March 8 at 6 p.m. EST in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament. UK, the No. 2 seed, will play the winner of Vanderbilt (No. 7 seed) and Missouri (No. 10 seed). The Cats defeated both squads on the road in their regular-season matchups.