By: Sean Cartell
SEC Digital Network
NASHVILLE – Junior Kentucky guard A’dia Mathies on Wednesday was named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, as voted on by the league’s coaches. She became just the second player in school history to earn that distinction.
Mathies leads the Wildcats in scoring (15.3 points per game), 3-point field goals made (44), 3-point field goal percentage (.370) and steals (2.7 steals per game). The Louisville, Ky., native is second on the team in rebounds (5.3 rebounds per game) and assists (2.6 assists per game), and is tied for second in blocks (18).
Mathies sat down with the SEC Digital Network on Wednesday to talk about her accomplishments and look ahead to this week’s SEC Tournament, which will take place March 1-4 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.
SEC Digital Network: What does it mean to you to be named the 2012 SEC Player of the Year?
“It means a lot. That’s a prestigious award and only one player has the chance to get an award like that. It is very humbling to get that award this year.”
SEC Digital Network: Kentucky won its first SEC regular-season championship since 1982 this season. How much was that a part of your team goals and what does it mean to you to be on an SEC Championship team?
“We had big goals to win the SEC Championship, go to the NCAA Tournament and, hopefully, win the NCAA Tournament. To be able to win the first one since 1982 shows just how hard we worked in the offseason and the preseason. I’m just glad that we were able to win the championship this year.”
SEC Digital Network: What has been the key to your team’s success this year in winning the SEC Championship?
“I think we just have more well-rounded players this year. Everybody has really been working hard and we have some great freshmen and transfers. I think it’s just a collection of all the players we have playing now and all of us getting better, and it’s really showing this season.”
SEC Digital Network: Your team has accomplished some firsts this season and has done some things for the first time in a long time. How special is that to be a part of such defining moments?
“It’s very fun, just to say that you were on this team that did all of the things we did – all of the accomplishments. It will be very nice to go down in history and be remembered 30 years from now as the team that won the SEC, just like the 1982 team was. I am glad to be a part of it all.”
SEC Digital Network: What is your team’s focus heading into the SEC Tournament?
“Our focus is to win the SEC Tournament. We know that we are capable of beating everybody because we have already done that. If we stay focused and play our game, we know we will come out on top.”
SEC Digital Network: What did you do during the offseason, individually, to help take your game to the next level?
“It think mostly, it was just getting back and getting healthy. I also worked on being a better leader. I was in the gym way more than I had been and it’s really showing that when you just get in there and get to work, good things will happen.”