A little over one month into the 2022-23 women’s college basketball season, let’s take a look at the individual statistical leaders in the SEC. While disparate schedule strengths make it difficult to reliably compare team-level stats, the individual outputs tallied in non-conference action should serve as a decent predictor for the player production we can expect to see when conference play gets rolling around the turn of the new year.
Although the undefeated LSU Tigers (10-0) have yet to take on an opponent with a comparable level of talent, Angel Reese’s scoring numbers still impress. The sophomore forward has been sensational since arriving in Baton Rouge, averaging 24 points in 30.8 minutes per game. She also leads the nation in both win shares (6.6) and PER (55.1). Even as competition stiffens in the SEC, Reese should be expected to lead the conference in scoring and could steal SEC Player Year honors from preseason favorite, South Carolina senior superstar Aliyah Boston.
Trailing Reese in the scoring column (among currently active players) is graduate guard Brittany Davis of the Alabama Crimson Tide (7-2) at 17.2 points per game and junior guard Aicha Coulibaly of the Auburn Tigers (7-2) at 16.8 points per game.
Field Goal Percentage
Based on her point production, it is unsurprising that Reese also is one of the most efficient scorers in the SEC, as she is shooting 64.6 percent from the field. However, her mark is currently topped by Erynn Barnum of the also undefeated Arkansas Razorbacks (12-0). The redshirt senior forward seemingly can’t miss, converting almost 70 percent of her attempts.
Two Bulldogs, redshirt senior big Jessika Carter of Mississippi State (8-2) and fifth-year forward Brittney Smith of Georgia (9-2), also are shooting better than 50 percent from the field, at 54.9 percent and 50.9 percent, respectively.
Among players who have attempted at least 50 threes, Florida Gator (10-1) senior guard KK Deans sports the best mark, with the current SEC Player of the Week shooting 46.4 percent from behind the arc. (However, the biggest shot she hit in the Gators’ overtime victory over the Miami Hurricanes was from inside the arc.)
Senior forward Hayley Frank of the Missouri Tigers (11-1) is the only other high volume 3-point shooter above the 40 percent, at 41.2 percent.
Deans also has been money from the free throw line, nailing 85.7 percent of her attempts. Arkansas’ Chrissy Carr slightly betters Deans, draining 86.7 percent from the line.
Other players hitting at least 80 percent of their free throws are: Ciaja Harbison (82.8) of the Vanderbilt Commodores (7-5), Jada Walker (82.4) of the Kentucky Wildcats (7-2), Last-Tear Poa (80.8) of LSU and Nina Rickards (80.0) of Florida.
Somewhat concerningly for their squads, the players who draw the most fouls struggle from the stripe. Leading the conference with 82 free throw attempts each, Arkansas’ Samara Spencer is a frigid 47.8 percent on her freebies, while Angel Reese shoots a somewhat warmer 61 percent.
In the season’s early going, Kentucky junior guard Maddie Scherr has emerged as the SEC’s most prolific passer, with a conference-best 56 total assists and 6.2 assists per game.
Mississippi State graduate guard Anastasia Hayes is tossing 5.3 assists per game. Along with Scherr and Hayes, Samara Spencer also has handed out at least 50 dimes so far this season.
Angel Reese also is owning the boards, topping the SEC in total rebounds (143) and rebounds per game (14.3). On a per-game basis, Aliyah Boston and Ole Miss junior forward Madison Scott share second place, with both gobbling up 9.3 boards per game. For the season, Scott also has more than 100 total rebounds.
That we’ve just now mentioned a South Carolina Gamecock — the No. 1 team in the nation — among the conference’s current statistical leaders is a testament to the balance and depth of head coach Dawn Staley’s squad. Because of all the individual talent that has accumulated in Columbia, South Carolina is not dependent on the production of a singular player (although Boston’s presence is undoubtedly important to the Gamecocks’ ultimate ambition).
A pair of big guards have been getting it done on the glass too. 6-foot-1 Missouri junior guard Sara-Rose Smith has snagged 100 boards, while 6-foot-2 Arkansas redshirt freshman guard Saylor Poffenbarger has collected 95.
Even before blood clots sidelined Tennessee Lady Vol (6-5) senior center Tamari Key for the season, the conference’s swat crown had been transferred to Tuscaloosa and Alabama graduate center Jada Rice, who has blocked 3.1 shots per game and 28 total. Jessika Carter has rejected 26 total shots, averaging out to 2.6 per game.
Notably, the defensively-dominant Gamecocks have five players registering at least a block per game: Boston (1.6), senior wing Brea Beal (1.6), junior center Kamilla Cardoso (1.5), senior forward Laeticia Amihere (1.3) and freshman forward Ashlyn Watkins (1.2).
Kentucky’s Jada Walker is the SEC’s top thief, with three steals per game and 27 total steals. Per game, Angel Reese (2.4), Mississippi State’s JerKailia Jordan (2.4) and Aicha Coulibaly (2.3) round out the top three. Reese and Jefferson are tied for second in total steals, with both collecting 24.