By: Sean Cartell
SEC Digital Network
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – It’s no secret that the Southeastern Conference has set the standard of excellence for women’s basketball for decades and, accordingly the league has featured many of the nation’s best players.
Just how good does an athlete have to be in order to earn the Women’s Basketball Player of the Year honor in the SEC as voted on by the league’s coaches?
The records show that in order to earn that distinction – more often than not – a player must be an Olympic caliber athlete.
The league’s coaches began voting on a Player of the Year for women’s basketball beginning with the 1987 season. Fourteen times from 1987 until 2008, the SEC Player of the Year went on to become an Olympian for Team USA. Five out of the six trips to the Olympics since 1988 have resulted in a Gold Medal for the United States.
Three of the four former SEC players on the 2012 U.S. Olympic roster are former SEC Players of the Year.
SEC Players of the Year (BOLD indicates current or former Olympian)
1987 - Katrina McClain, Georgia
1988 - Vickie Orr, Auburn
1989 - Bridgette Gordon, Tennessee
1990 - Carolyn Jones, Auburn
1991 - Carolyn Jones, Auburn
1992 - Dena Head, Tennessee
1993 - Lauretta Freeman, Auburn
1994 - Nikki McCray, Tennessee
1995 - Nikki McCray, Tennessee
1996 - Saudia Roundtree, Georgia
1997 - DeLisha Milton, Florida
1998 - Chamique Holdsclaw, Tennessee
1999 - Chamique Holdsclaw, Tennessee
2000 - Kelly Miller, Georgia
2001 - Kelly Miller, Georgia
2002 - Chantelle Anderson, Vanderbilt
2003 - LaToya Thomas, Mississippi State
2004 - Shameka Christon, Arkansas
2005 - Seimone Augustus, LSU
2006 - Seimone Augustus, LSU
2007 - Candace Parker, Tennessee
2008 - Sylvia Fowles, LSU
2009 - DeWanna Bonner, Auburn
2010 - Victoria Dunlap, Kentucky
2011 - Shekinna Stricklen, Tennessee
2012 – A’dia Mathies, Kentucky