COLUMBIA - They were in a race all season, each outpacing the other based on any given night.


Coach of the Year: Dawn Staley, South Carolina

Player of the Year: Tiffany Mitchell, South Carolina

Freshman of the Year: Alaina Coates, South Carolina

Co-6th Women of the Year: Alaina Coates, South Carolina / Jennifer O'Neill, Kentucky

Co-Defensive Players of the Year: Martha Alwal, Mississippi State / Jordan Jones, Texas A&M

Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Lianna Doty, Missouri

2014 All-SEC First Team

Tyrese Tanner, Auburn

Jaterra Bonds, Florida

Theresa Plaisance, LSU

Martha Alwal, Mississippi State

Bri Kulas, Missouri

Tiffany Mitchell, South Carolina

Aleighsa Welch, South Carolina

Meighan Simmons, Tennessee

Isabelle Harrison, Tennessee

Courtney Walker, Texas A&M

2014 All-SEC Second Team

Jessica Jackson, Arkansas

Shacobia Barbee, Georgia

Jennifer O'Neill, Kentucky

DeNesha Stallworth, Kentucky

Tia Faleru, Ole Miss

Valencia McFarland, Ole Miss

Alaina Coates, South Carolina

Courtney Williams, Texas A&M

Jasmine Lister, Vanderbilt

Christina Foggie, Vanderbilt

2014 SEC All-Defensive Team

Tyrese Tanner, Auburn

Hasina Muhammad, Auburn

Shacobia Barbee, Georgia

Martha Alwal, Mississippi State

Elem Ibiam, South Carolina

Tiffany Mitchell, South Carolina

Jordan Jones, Texas A&M

2014 SEC All-Freshman Team

Ashley Williams, Alabama

Jessica Jackson, Arkansas

Brandy Montgomery, Auburn

Ronni Williams, Florida

Linnae Harper, Kentucky

Raigyne Moncrief, LSU

Breanna Richardson, Mississippi State

Alaina Coates, South Carolina

Andraya Carter, Tennessee

On Monday, South Carolina sophomore Tiffany Mitchell earned the SEC's most prestigious hardware.

Mitchell was named SEC Player of the Year by league's coaches, narrowly edging out teammate Aleighsa Welch of Goose Creek.

A Charlotte native, Mitchell led the No. 5 Gamecocks (26-3, 14-2 SEC) with 15.5 points, 3.5 assists and 2.1 steals per game. She was the only player in the SEC to earn a spot among the league's rankings in scoring (ninth), rebounding (16th), assists (11th) and steals (seventh).

"As a player, I set my goals high on the biggest accomplishment possible, and this was one of them this season," Mitchell said in a statement. "I'm excited that my teammates and coaches helped me along the path to this award, and to the season we are having. I couldn't have earned this without any of them, especially Aleighsa. The only way this could be better is if there was a way for her to have shared this award with me."

Mitchell's accolade highlighted a dominant showing for South Carolina in the SEC's postseason awards, as expected for the outright league champions.

Welch ranked 15th in the SEC with 13.9 points per game and ninth with 7.5 rebounds per game. In South Carolina's seven games against ranked opponents, she led the team with 17.9 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. It was the first time Welch was named to the All-SEC First Team, following her second-team honors last season.

Dawn Staley was named SEC Coach of the Year for the first time. The honor will sit in her trophy case beside two Atlantic 10 Conference Coach of the Year awards, three Olympic gold medals and Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame plaque.

Forward Alaina Coates received SEC Freshman and Co-Sixth Woman of the Year awards. She was the only freshman and reserve to rank in the league's top 25 with 12.2 points and 7.9 rebounds per game.

Behind Mitchell and Welch, Coates also received All-SEC Second Team honors. Mitchell and center Elem Ibiam were named to the SEC All-Defensive Team.

Naturally, Staley was focused on the awards for her players.

"I'm so happy for all of our players," Staley said. "It really shows that when you play as a unit, you can accomplish both team and individual goals. It truly is great to be a Gamecock."