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    Cartell's Chatter: SEC Player of the Year Equals Olympian

    By: Sean Cartell
    Twitter: @SEC_Sean
    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