South Carolina senior forward A’ja Wilson is the winner of the 2018 Citizen Naismith Women’s Player of the Year award, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today. As the team’s leading scorer and rebounder, Wilson guided the Gamecocks to a 29-7 overall record, an SEC Tournament championship and the NCAA Elite 8.
Wilson is the first Gamecock and the sixth SEC player to win the award. She becomes the eighth woman to collect a prep and collegiate Naismith Trophy as she won the high school award in 2014, and she joins her head coach, Dawn Staley, on the list of all-time winners of the award as Staley picked up the honor twice in 1991 and 1992 while playing at Virginia.
Averaging a double-double for the Gamecocks, Wilson is among the nation’s top 11 scorers (22.6 ppg) and rebounders (11.8 rpg) with both numbers ranking as her career highs. She has been a consistent contributor throughout her South Carolina career, especially in her final campaign, during which she scored in double figures 32 times in 33 outings and posted 24 double-doubles.
A defensive presence as well, Wilson earned her second SEC Defensive Player of the Year award, sharing the honor this season, to match her third selection as the SEC Player of the Year by both the coaches and the Associated Press. She is fifth in the country in blocked shots per game (3.18) and seventh in the nation with 8.0 defensive rebounds per outing.
With the addition of the Naismith Trophy, Wilson has collected every national player of the year honor bestowed so far this season with just the Wooden Award remaining to be named on Fri., April 6.