South Carolina Basketball: Gamecock forward named SEC Player of the Week

South Carolina basketball forward Ashlyn Watkins was named the SEC's Player of the Week.

South Carolina basketball forwards Ashlyn Watkins and Sakima Walker
South Carolina basketball forwards Ashlyn Watkins and Sakima Walker / Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina basketball finished up the regular season undefeated. In doing so, they became the first SEC team ever to have back-to-back undefeated regular seasons.

The Gamecocks beat Arkansas and Tennessee last week to pick up their 28th and 29th wins, and they relied on post excellence to knock off both SEC foes. Arguably the best overall player in those two games was forward Ashlyn Watkins.

For her efforts, Watkins was named the SEC Player of the Week.

Watkins set a new career-high in scoring against Arkansas as she scored 21 points. She also pulled down 11 rebounds. Those numbers are good for any game, but they are remarkable considering she played just 21 minutes and didn't play much of the 4th quarter. She also went 9-12 from the field.

Against Tennessee, she added 13 points in 19 minutes and played tough defense as one of several player who had to guard Rickea Jackson.

Watkins has been a big-time performer in the 2023-2024 season, and she has shown that she is ready to be a dominant force next season after Kamilla Cardoso moves on to the WNBA. She is averaging 10 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.4 blocks, and 1.2 steals in just 20.4 minutes per game this season. She is shooting just under 60% from the floor this season and has tallied 8 double-doubles.

Ashlyn Watkins is one of the favorites in the league to become the SEC's 6th Woman of the Year. Last year, Kamilla Cardoso won the honor, so if Watkins brings home the trophy for the 2023-2024 season, it will mean the South Carolina basketball team has won the last two 6th Woman of the Year honors. If Watkins' trajectory follows Cardoso's (and it very well could), the Columbia native could be an SEC Player of the Year candidate next year.

For now, though, Watkins and the Gamecocks are hoping to finish the job after finishing their 2nd straight regular season without a loss. The SEC Tournament gets started later this week in Greenville.

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