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Walker Tops All-SEC Lists as Defensive Player of the Year
Ieasia Walker

 
Ieasia Walker

March 5, 2013

COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina senior guard Ieasia Walker earned SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors from the league's coaches to headline four Gamecocks honored today by the conference. The first winner of the award in program history, she earned a spot on the All-SEC First Team and All-Defensive Team as well. Senior Ashley Bruner and sophomore Aleighsa Welch were tabbed with second-team honors, and Tiffany Mitchell was named to the league's All-Freshman Team.

Walker's selection marks the first time since joining the SEC that the league's coaches have selected a Gamecock for one of the player of the year awards. She earns her first selections to the All-SEC First Team and All-Defensive Team after two seasons on the second team. Walker leads the SEC in steals per conference game at 3.1 and ranks 35th in the nation in steals overall (2.8 per game). In addition, she ranks among the SEC's top 15 in assists (3.2 per game) and is 10th in assist-to-turnover ratio. Walker's 9.4 points per game are third on the team and include eight double-figure scoring games in SEC play.

"It's a great day to be a Gamecock," South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley said. "I'm so happy for Ieasia. Her hard work and commitment sets the tone and standard for our defensive expectations. What an honor to be recognized by a conference that has so many great athletes."

Welch is the team's top scorer at 12.2 points per game to rank 22nd in the SEC. She is the conference's top offensive rebounder, pulling down 4.1 per game as part of her 7.9 rebounds per outing this season, which ranks eighth in the league. Welch has nine double-doubles this season, the first of her career, including three in SEC action. She has scored in double figures 20 times this season and pulled down 10 or more rebounds 11 times. After appearing on the SEC All-Freshman team last season, this is her first all-conference selection.

 

 

Bruner makes her debut on an All-SEC team after averaging 9.7 points and 7.6 rebounds this season. She is among the league's top-10 rebounders and is fifth on the offensive glass. She is one of just 18 Gamecocks all-time to pull down 600 career rebounds and ranks 15th in the record books in the category. She has five double-doubles on the season, including four in SEC action. Bruner has been the team's top rebounder 11 times this season and led the offense in scoring eight times.

"We had huge expectations this year for our post players," Staley said. "Ashley and Aleighsa have not let us down. I'm so proud of their recognition by our conference."

Mitchell has enjoyed a solid freshman campaign, averaging 9.3 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. Starting 24 games this season, she has been the team's top scorer seven times and top rebounder six. She has two double-doubles to her credit and one 20-point outing. Mitchell scored in double figures in 12 of the 29 games this season.

South Carolina finished the regular season tied for fourth in the SEC, drawing the fifth seed in this week's SEC Tournament in Duluth, Ga. The Gamecocks will play on Thu., March 7, at 2:30 p.m. against the winner of Wednesday's game between Mississippi State and Alabama, the 12th and 13th seeds, respectively.

2013 All-SEC First Team

Jasmine Hassell, Georgia
A'dia Matheis, Kentucky
DeNesha Stallworth, Kentucky
Theresa Plaisance, LSU
Ieasia Walker, South Carolina
Bashaara Graves, Tennessee
Meighan Simmons, Tennessee
Kelsey Bone, Texas A&M
Tiffany Clarke, Vanderbilt

2013 All-SEC Second Team

Hasina Muhammad, Auburn
Jennifer George, Florida
Jasmine James, Georgia
Samarie Walker, Kentucky
Adrienne Webb, LSU
Martha Alwal, Mississippi State
Bri Kulas, Missouri
Ashley Bruner, South Carolina
Aleighsa Welch, South Carolina

Adrienne Pratcher, Texas A&M
Jasmine Lister, Vanderbilt

2013 SEC All-Defensive Team

Jennifer George, Florida
Shacobia Barbee, Georgia
Samarie Walker, Kentucky
Danielle Ballard, LSU
Theresa Plaisance, LSU
Martha Alwal, Mississippi State
Ieasia Walker, South Carolina

2013 SEC All-Freshman Team

Sydney Moss, Florida
Shacobia Barbee, Georgia
Danielle Ballard, LSU
Lianna Doty, Missouri
Tiffany Mitchell, South Carolina
Bashaara Graves, Tennessee
Courtney Walker, Texas A&M
Herther Bowe, Vanderbilt

Coach of the Year: Holly Warlick, Tennessee
Co-Players of the Year: A'dia Mathis, Kentucky; Meighan Simmons, Tennessee
Freshman of the Year: Bashaara Graves, Tennessee
Defensive Player of the Year: Ieasia Walker, South Carolina
Co-6th Women of the Year: Sarah Watkins, Arkansas; Morgan Eye, Missouri
Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Blanche Alverson, Auburn

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