Kentucky senior guard A'dia Mathies has been named one of 15 finalists for the John R. Wooden Award for the second straight season, as announced Thursday by The Los Angeles Athletic Club. Mathies leads UK in most offensive categories, and has had a stellar season after starting out a little off. She is the Southeastern Conference Co-Player of the Year, and has been a key cog in the Wildcats' success again this season. She has scored in double figures in 30-of-32 games this season, including 23 in a row in helping UK win a school-record tying 13 games in conference play, and rank in the top 10 of both national polls 19 straight weeks.
The Wildcats, heading into their school-record fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, are just one win shy of tying the school record for wins with a 27-5 overall mark. Mathies has also brought UK to new heights that should be seen in the NCAA Tournament seeding, where the Cats should get their very first #2 seed.
Kentucky is sitting in the Catbird's seat, so to speak, as they have advantages over almost every team in line for one of the seeds. Had Tennessee been able to follow that regular season championship up with an SEC Tourney title, they would have probably moved UK out of that #2 and they would be facing no better than a #3 slot. As it stands now, both UK and UT will probably get those #2 seeds.
UK women's basketball signee Makayla Epps of Marion County High School was named by The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, the 2012-13 Gatorade Kentucky Girls Basketball Player of the Year. Epps is the first Gatorade Kentucky Girls Basketball Player of the Year to be chosen from Marion County High School. With Mathies graduating, Epps may very well see court time next year, although with Jennifer O'Neill and Janee Thompson already firmly entrenched, she will have to fight for it.