ATLANTA (Feb. 25, 2019) - The Southern Athletic Association (SAA) has announced the 2018-19 All-SAA Women's Basketball awards. The award winners were selected exclusively by the league's head women's basketball coaches and the conference office.
Lauren Ransom of Oglethorpe won both the SAA Player of the Year honor while Kiera Downey of Rhodes was named the SAA Newcomer of the Year award winner. Emilee Olsen of Birmingham-Southern was named the SAA Defensive Player of the Year while Justin LeBlanc of Millsaps was named the SAA Coach of the Year.
Ransom joined teammate Savannah LeGate to give Oglethorpe its second straight SAA Player of the Year winner. The senior forward averaged 10.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, and shot 46.1 percent from the floor. With her play during a non-conference season good, it was her play during SAA action that helped Ransom land the top honor. During conference play, Ransom averaged a league-best 13.2 points per game and 7.9 rebounds.
She also ranked third in blocks (34) and finished with 36 steals. Overall, Ransom ranked in the top-10 in 10 statistical categories.
In her first season for the Lynx, Downey was outstanding. The first-year guard led Rhodes to the SAA Championship game while averaging 8.4 points per game. The freshman also ranked 12th in assists (56) and ninth in steals (34).
For the Panthers, Olsen was a force on defense. Along with averaging 13.2 points (third in the SAA) and a league-leading 9.5 rebounds per game, Olsen led the conference in blocks (66) and finished with 22 steals. She also grabbed a league-leading 173 defensive rebounds.
Finally, LeBlanc earned his first SAA Coach of the Year honor after leading Millsaps to its first SAA Regular Season Championship since 2016. The Majors finished their season with a 22-5 record and a 12-2 mark in conference play. Under LeBlanc's leadership, the Majors led the conference in points (64.1) while limiting opponents to a league-best 32.7 field goal percentage.
Millsaps also ranked first in rebound margin (5.4) and field goal percentage (40.3).