Diaz and Simpson Earn All-Conference HonorsMarch 1, 2012
ROCK HILL, S.C. – Anderson’s Alissa Diaz has earned second-team All-South Atlantic Conference accolades and newcomer Sierra Simpson has been named to the SAC All-Freshman Team as announced by the league office on Thursday.
Diaz, from Coral Springs, Fla., reached double figures in 22 games this season, including a career-high 29 points in the regular-season setback to Wingate on the strength of a career-high five 3-pointers. She also pulled down a career-best 10 rebounds against the Bulldogs for her first career double-double. Earlier in the season she had earlier equaled her career-high with 20 points at Brevard.
She led the team and ranked eighth in the league with her 14.6 points per game average and shot 82.5 percent from the free throw line, while averaging nearly four rebounds a game.
The 5-foot-10 junior posted a career-high six assists and recorded a career-best four blocked shots at Lenior-Rhyne in early January.
Simpson, a freshman guard from Simpsonville, S.C., reached double figures on five occasions this season and handed out at least four assists in eight games. The 5-foot-6 guard averaged 6.4 points and was second on the team with 2.6 assists. She led the team in assists on nine occasions and was also third on the team with 4.2 rebounds a contest.
Simpson was ninth in the league, swiping an average of 1.77 steals per contest.
After averaging a double-double and leading her team to a runner-up finish in the SAC regular season standings, Catawba’s Dana Hicks has been selected as the league’s Women’s Basketball Player of the Year, highlighting the conference’s award winners.
Hicks, who was a first team All-Conference selection the previous two seasons as well, led the SAC in rebounding at 11.9 per-game and was the conference’s ninth-leading scorer at 14.1 points-per-game. The senior also played an impressive 34.2 minutes-per-game, helping Catawba finish 17-9 overall and 12-6 in league play.
Hicks’ teammate, guard Nisha Long, also earned All-Conference First Team accolades after finishing second in the conference in scoring at 16.8 points-per-game and second in assists average at 3.88.
Joining the Catawba duo on the All-Conference First Team was Nikki Burton of the regular season SAC champion Wingate Bulldogs. Burton finished seventh in the SAC in scoring and second in steals.
Lincoln Memorial’s Dayshalee Salaman, the SAC’s leading scorer at 20.7 points-per-game, earned All-Conference First Team accolades, as did Carson-Newman’s Zoriah Williams, the league’s fifth-leading scorer and rebounder.
Rounding out the All-SAC First Team was Lenoir-Rhyne’s Cameron Sealey, who finished No. 4 in the league in scoring. This marks the third-consecutive season the senior has earned All-Conference honors.
Newberry’s Haylee Lepaio, who was second in the SAC in rebounding third in scoring in the regular season, was named the conference’s Freshman of the Year, and also earned a spot on the All-Conference Second Team.
She was joined on the All-SAC Second Team by Tusculum’s Kendal Baxter and Staci Hicks, Anderson’s Alissa Diaz, Lenoir-Rhyne’s Whitley Culler and Lincoln Memorial’s Lauren Cochran.
The SAC All-Freshman Team was made up of Catawba’s Chloe Bully, L-R’s Jazmine Charles, Mars Hill’s Armeka Booker and Anderson’s Sierra Simpson, in addition to Lepaio.
After leading her team to its best SAC finish since 2006-07, Catawba’s Angie Morton was selected as the league’s Coach of the Year. Morton is in her ninth season leading the Catawba program.
SAC Player of the Year: Dana Hicks, Catawba
SAC Freshman of the Year: Haylee Lepaio, Newberry
SAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Kristen Metcalf, Mars Hill
SAC Coach of the Year: Angie Morton, Catawba
All-SAC First Team
Nikki Burton, Wingate
Dana Hicks, Catawba
Nisha Long, Catawba
Dayshalee Salaman, LMU
Cameron Sealey, Lenoir-Rhyne
Zoriah Williams, Carson-Newman
All-SAC Second Team
Kendal Baxter, Tusculum
Lauren Cochran, LMU
Whitley Culler, Lenoir-Rhyne
Alissa Diaz, Anderson
Staci Hicks, Tusculum
Haylee Lepaio, Newberry
SAC All-Freshman Team
Armeka Booker, Mars Hill
Chloe Bully, Catawba
Jazmine Charles, Lenoir-Rhyne
Haylee Lepaio, Newberry
Sierra Simpson, Anderson