Winthrop women’s basketball player Dequesha McClanahan was voted the Big South Conference Female Student Athlete of the Year for 2013-14 by the league’s athletics directors, senior women administrators and sports information directors.
McClanahan, a native of Oak Ridge, Tenn., who graduated in May with a degree in exercise science, is the first Winthrop student-athlete to win the conference’s Female Student Athlete of the Year award after receiving 119 points and 18 first-place votes. She is also the league’s first women’s basketball player to win the honor since 2009.
McClanahan finished ahead of Campbell golfer Kaylin Yost, who was second with 46 points. Winthrop soccer player Krystyna Freda was third with 38 points, followed by Coastal Carolina softball player Kiana Quolas (33 points); Radford soccer player Che’ Brown and Highlanders’ volleyball player Rachel Wiechecki tied for fifth in the voting with 28 points each.
“I cannot think of anyone more deserving than Dequesha McClanahan to be recognized as Female Athlete of the Year in the Big South Conference,” said Winthrop athletics director Tom Hickman. “Her records and accomplishments will likely stand for quite some time both here at Winthrop and in the Big South. She was not only a great athlete and outstanding student, but also very humble. We certainly will miss her here at Winthrop and wish her the very best for the years ahead.”
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McClanahan is just the second player in Big South history to earn three-straight Big South Player of the Year nods. She also became the conference’s all-time scoring and assist leader with 2,277 points and 744 assists during the 2013-14 campaign. She led the Big South in scoring and assists for the third straight year, averaging 17.8 points and 6.6 assists per game. Her assist average ranked No. 8 in the nation. She was named a First Team Mid-Major All-American by College Sports Madness and was also selected to the Division I-AAA Scholar-Athlete Team. The guard turned in 12 20-point games this past season, to go along with 10 double-doubles and six games with at least 10 assists. She turned in a triple-double of 25 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists on her Senior Day as Winthrop downed Campbell on March 1.
She led Winthrop to its first-ever Big South Conference women’s basketball championship and NCAA appearance. McClanahan closed out her collegiate career with a 22-point and 6-assist performance against No. 2 seed Duke in the first round of the NCAA Championship Tournament.
“All of us are proud of Dequesha being recognized with this prestigious honor,” said Winthrop coach Kevin Cook. “She embodied the spirit and definition of what student-athlete means. Dequesha has left a legacy at Winthrop and in the Big South Conference that will stand forever.”
The annual candidates for the award consist of the Players of the Year from each sport for the past academic year. The Big South Conference Male Athlete of the Year honor was awarded to Coastal Carolina football running back Lorenzo Taliaferro. Taliaferro earned 80 points and eight first-place, becoming the second consecutive football player to receive the honor.