May 27, 2024

SEC top women’s basketball performers

With a number of impressive performances this week, find out which players made the list for the last week of the regular season.

KNOXVILLE, TN - FEBRUARY 23, 2017 - Diamond DeShields #11 of the Tennessee Lady Volunteers during the game between the Florida Gators and the Tennessee Lady Volunteers at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, TN. Photo By Craig Bisacre/Tennessee Athletics

A’ja Wilson, Forward, South Carolina 

The Gamecocks won both games against Texas A&M and Kentucky, and the junior forward was a big reason why. South Carolina’s leading scorer (17.4 points per game) recorded back to back double-doubles, her only two of the month. In the 80-64 victory over the Aggies, Wilson finished with 21 points and 15 rebound while also recording three blocks and steals. She also shot 60 percent from the field, going 9-15.

In South Carolina’s huge 95-87 victory over Kentucky, she scored 25 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and swatted away two shots. Wilson was also extremely efficient from the field, making 10 of her 14 shots. South Carolina appears to be the favorite heading into the conference tournament, especially when Wilson is performing at such a high level.

Diamond DeShields, Guard, Tennessee

Although Jaime Nared scored a career-high 30 points in Tennessee’s big road victory over Mississippi State, DeShields’ contribution was most impactful during the Lady Vols’ final week of the regular season. After sitting out a game to nurse an ankle injury, Tennessee’s leading scorer finished an assist shy of a triple-double in its 74-70 victory over Florida on Thursday. Despite struggling to find her shot, she totaled 15 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

In the 82-64 statement win over Mississippi State, DeShields finished with 20 points, five rebounds and six assists, putting her averages for the week at 17.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.5 assists. When DeShields is filling the stat sheet, Tennessee will be a tough out in the postseason.

Evelyn Akhator, Forward, Kentucky

Akhator is a double double machine, evident by 15 points per game and 10 rebounds per game this season. This week, she put together one of her biggest performances of the year during Kentucky’s biggest win of the season. The senior finished with 27 points and 16 rebounds in the Wildcats’ 78-75 overtime win over Mississippi State. In addition, she scored eight of Kentucky’s 11 points in the extra period to cap off the definition of a clutch performance. Unfortunately, in the 95-87 loss to South Carolina, Akhator only totaled 14 points and eight rebounds. Regardless, averaging 20.5 points and 12 rebounds for a week is still pretty dominant. Leading her team to a home victory over a top-10 team with the numbers she put up is worthy enough to make this list.

Sophie Cunningham, Guard, Missouri

After averaging 27 points in her two games last week, Cunningham backed that up by scoring 32 in a 100-65 win over Ole Miss last Wednesday. She finished 11-of-13 from the field, while going 5-7 from behind the arc. The sophomore guard followed that by scoring 20 points in Missouri’s 65-56 win against Alabama on Sunday.

Cunningham has now recorded 20 or more points in four consecutive games, she’s averaging 26.5 points per game over that span. On the season, her 17.8 points per game ranks second in the conference behind only Ronni Williams from Florida. Cunningham’s production has played a major role in the Tigers’ current five-game winning streak.

Edited by Quinn Pilkey

Featured image by Craig Bisacre, courtesy of Tennessee Athletics

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