COLUMBIA — There’s no stopping Tiffany Mitchell — not on the basketball court, or when it comes to the honors being bestowed on the Gamecocks’ star.
The USC guard on Tuesday was named a preseason All-American by The Associated Press, joining Breanna Stewart and Moriah Jefferson of Connecticut, Nina Davis of Baylor, and Kelsey Mitchell of Ohio State. The team was voted upon by a 32-member national media panel.
Stewart made the team for the third straight year, and was a unanimous selection for the second consecutive season. South Carolina forward A’ja Wilson also received votes.
Mitchell after last season became the first South Carolina player ever to be named first-team All-America by the AP, which began recognizing women’s All-Americans in 1996. The 5-9 senior from Charlotte has led South Carolina in scoring in each of the past two seasons, averaging 14.4 points per game last year, and hit crucial shots in the final minute of both NCAA Regional games last season to help USC advance to the national semifinals.
Also the two-time reigning SEC Player of the Year, Mitchell missed most of preseason camp due to surgery to repair a stress issue in her left foot, brought on by an ankle sprain suffered in July while training for the Pan-American Games in Toronto. She was in South Carolina’s lineup for the Gamecocks’ exhibition last week against Newberry, playing 13 minutes and scoring 13 points in the victory.
No. 2 South Carolina opens its season at 7 p.m. Friday, hosting No. 6 Ohio State at Colonial Life Arena. It will be a matchup of All-Americans with Mitchell facing off against the Buckeyes’ Kelsey Mitchell, who last year became the first freshman to lead the country in scoring, averaging 24.9 points per game.
Mitchell was also picked Tuesday to three-peat as SEC Player of the Year in a vote of the league’s coaches. The Gamecocks were also picked to win a third straight conference crown, mirroring an earlier vote by conference media. Mitchell, Wilson and USC forward Alaina Coates were all named to the SEC’s preseason first team by the coaches.