SEC coaches predict Gamecocks as champs, Wilson Player of the Year

COLUMBIA, S.C. – For the fourth-straight time, Southeastern Conference coaches have predicted South Carolina to win the SEC regular-season championship, the conference office announced today. The coaches tapped senior forward A’ja Wilson to three-peat as SEC Player of the Year  as well as make her fourth appearance on the All-SEC First Team. Sophomore guard Tyasha Harris picked up Preseason All-SEC Second Team honors from the coaches as well.

The 2017 National Champion, South Carolina enters the 2017-18 season looking for its fifth-straight SEC regular-season title. It would make the Gamecocks just the second program in league history to achieve the feat, joining Tennessee in that category after the Lady Vols picked up their fifth-consecutive in 2002 en route to the league-record seven straight championships.

The Gamecocks return six letterwinners from last season’s team with Wilson and Harris the lone returning starters. Senior guard Bianca Cuevas-Moore is also back after providing an offensive spark and change of tempo off the bench in previous seasons. Junior Doniyah Cliney and graduate transfer Lindsey Spann will add to the offensive power of the backcourt as well. Sophomore forward Mikiah Herbert Harrigan returns to a frontcourt also bolstered by the addition of Alexis Jennings, back on the court this season after sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer rules, and freshmen Lele Grissett and LaDazhia Williams.

Wilson’s senior season has a chance to be an historic one for the program as she eyes a third-straight SEC Player of the Year selection, a benchmark not reached before in league history. She also looks to become the program’s first four-time All-SEC First-Team selection and four-time All-American. The Gamecocks’ leading returning scorer is also within striking distance of becoming just the second player in program history to amass 2,000 career points, and she is closing in on 1,000 career rebounds as well.

Harris drew SEC All-Freshman Team honors after taking over the starting point guard role for South Carolina in January. Her steady hand and solid court vision helped her rank 14th in the SEC in assists per game (3.2) and lead league freshman in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.0). After another summer spent playing for USA Basketball, earning a silver medal at the FIBA U19 World Cup, Harris is poised to stretch her offensive capabilities, adding another dimension to the Gamecock attack.

South Carolina will play an exhibition game on Fri., Nov. 3, against in-state foe Coker, which is led by Gamecock great Shannon Johnson. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m., and admission to Colonial Life Arena is free. The Gamecocks officially tip off the 2017-18 season on Fri., Nov. 10, at 7 p.m. at Colonial Life Arena against Alabama State.

Fans interested in buying season tickets for the Gamecocks’ 2017-18 season can order either online at GamecocksOnline.com or by calling the South Carolina Athletics Ticket Office at 1-800-4SC-FANS (472-3267). Prices start as low as $35 for general admission season tickets.

SEC Preseason Media Poll

  1. South Carolina
  2. Mississippi State
  3. Missouri
  4. Texas A&M
  5. Tennessee
  6. Kentucky
  7. LSU
  8. Georgia
  9. Alabama
  10. Vanderbilt
  11. Auburn
  12. Ole Miss
  13. Florida
  14. Arkansas

Preseason Player of the Year

A’ja Wilson, South Carolina

Preseason All-SEC First Team

Raigyne Louis, LSU

Victoria Vivians, Mississippi State

Morgan William, Mississippi Sate

Sophie Cunningham, Missouri

A’ja Wilson, South Carolina

Jaime Nared, Tennessee

Mercedes Russell, Tennessee

Khaalia Hillsman, Texas A&M

Preseason All-SEC Second Team

Caliya Robinson, Georgia

Taylor Murray, Kentucky

Shandricka Sessom, Ole Miss

Teaira McCowan, Mississippi State

Cierra Porter, Missouri

Jordan Frericks, Missouri

Tyasha Harris, South Carolina

Anriel Howard, Texas A&M

Danni Williams, Texas A&M

Related