Varney earns First-Team honors in USA South All-Conference release

Varney earns First-Team honors in USA South All-Conference release

The USA South Athletic Conference has announced its 2018-19 All-Conference awards for women's basketball on Thursday, as Maryville College's Klaire Varney was named a First-Team honoree. 

Varney – a Crossville, Tenn. native – was honored as both a USA South Athletic Conference First-Team member and a Western Division First-Team selection.

"I think she is incredibly deserving," Head Coach Darrin Travillian said. "If you look at her just statistically, I think she's in the top four of the top five in the league in scoring. She was the leader in steals, and she's in the top four or five in assists. She was there in rebounds. If you look all across the board, clearly, she's very deserving of that. Also just knowing what she's meant to our team all year long, there's no doubt in my mind that she's a first teamer."

The sophomore guard leads the USA South with 3.3 steals per contest this season – a half steal more than the next closest conference member. 

Varney ranked fourth in the league with 16.6 points per game on the year, as she is second in the conference with 4.1 assists. The only player with more assists within the USA South was Amari Price, the USA South's Player of the Year this season.

This Cumberland County High School product leads Maryville in both points and assists this year, as she has 415 points and 103 assists in her sophomore campaign. She also leads the Scots with 83 total steals, as she ranks second on the squad with 167 rebounds. Varney has shot 43.2 percent from the floor, while sinking 40 treys on the year.

"It's huge for her," Travillian said of her contributions. "It's funny. In her postseason meeting last year, I said, 'What's one of your goals next year?' She said 'Well, I just want to be able to contribute more and be somebody that you can look to for some points.' Now, when you look back, we can say, 'Yeah. I think you fulfilled all of that and then some.' I'm very proud of her."

Varney was joined on the USA South's All-Conference release by Kelley Wandell. Wandell was named to the league's All-Sportsmanship team for the 2018-19 season.

"Kelley is a tremendous ambassador for your program," Travillian said. "She's a great competitor, and she's going to get after it and compete. But, she also does it in the right way. I think she's the perfect representative for that award."

Elsewhere in the USA South, Piedmont College's Price was named the Player of the Year, while the Mary Baldwin University duo of Leah Calhoun and Ross James collected Rookie of the Year and Coach of the Year accolades, respectively. 

All awards are voted on by the women's basketball coach at each institution. The divisional team voting is completed only by those coaches in the particular division. The first team all-conference and individual award voting is completed by all coaches. The awards will be presented to individuals from teams competing in the semifinals of the USA South Women's Basketball tournament immediately following the conclusion of the first semifinal contest.

Price, a junior guard from Hiram, Ga., becomes the first Piedmont women's basketball player to earn an individual year-end USA South honor. She concluded the regular season with a league-high 156 assists, shattering Piedmont's program record for single-season helpers. Price was a consistent box-score-stuffer as she averaged 15.4 points, 6.2 assists, 5.3 rebounds, 2.7 steals and an assist/turnover ratio of 1.6 per game.

She was third in the conference, making 39.6 percent of her three-point attempts and seventh with an overall field goal percentage of 49 percent. This is Price's second consecutive All-Conference nod as she earns First Team All-Conference and First Team West Division honors to go along with Second Team West Division accolades a year ago. Finally, she was named USA South Player of the Week once this season.

Calhoun, a freshman guard from Churchill, Va., becomes the first Fighting Squirrel to earn an individual year-end USA South women's basketball honor. She led all Conference rookies during the regular season averaging 16.7 points, 6.1 defensive rebounds and 2.3 steals per game. Among all USA South performers, Calhoun was third in defensive rebounding, third in scoring, fourth in steals and 10th in total rebounding.

She becomes just the fifth Mary Baldwin women's basketball student-athlete to collect USA South All-Conference honors, as she was named First Team East Division. Finally, Calhoun was named USA South Player of the Week once and USA South Rookie of the Week twice this season.

James, in his second season as the head coach of the Fighting Squirrels, becomes the first coach at Mary Baldwin to be named a USA South Coach of the Year in any sport. He has led Mary Baldwin to a 17-9 overall record, just the fourth winning season in program history (first since 2003-04), and a 10-8 mark in USA South play. The Fighting Squirrels have improved their performance by 15 wins so far from a season ago.

The 17 overall wins are currently tied for the second-most in school history and most since the 2003-04 squad, while the 10 conference wins were the most since joining the USA South. Picked to finish eighth in the East Division, James' team placed fourth and earned the right to host a USA South Women's Basketball Tournament game for the first time since joining the conference. With a 114-108 overtime win over N.C. Wesleyan in that first round contest, the Fighting Squirrels collected the program's first USA South tournament victory.


Player of the Year Rookie of the Year Coach of the Year

Amari Price

Leah Calhoun
Mary Baldwin

Ross James
Mary Baldwin

The 2018-19 USA South Women's Basketball All-Conference Team: 

First Team All-Conference
Brooke Carthon, Averett
T.I. Duncan, Huntingdon
Amari Price, Piedmont
Kimberly Schuh, Meredith
Klaire Varney, Maryville
First Team East Division Second Team East Division First Team West Division Second Team West Division
Leah Calhoun, Mary Baldwin
Brooke Carthon, Averett
Mikayla Ray, William Peace
Kimberly Schuh, Meredith
A'Liyah Woods, Greensboro
Brooke Anders, Mary Baldwin
Khadijah Daniels, William Peace
Kayla Johnson, N.C. Wesleyan
Katie Lewis, Greensboro
Alixis Roccia, Averett
T.I. Duncan, Huntingdon
Marilauren Farr, LaGrange
Briana Lanham, Berea
Amari Price, Piedmont
Klaire Varney, Maryville
Garis Grant, Agnes Scott
Joanna Smith, Covenant
Shaonica Thomas, Huntingdon
Bailee Vanover, Berea
Bethanie Williams, Berea
Emma Olson, Agnes Scott
Alixis Roccia, Averett
Bailee Vanover, Berea
Annalee Bollinger, Brevard
Rachel Thomas, Covenant
Lauren Jenkins, Greensboro
T.I. Duncan, Huntingdon
Riley Chlupacek, LaGrange
Nicole Blackburn, Mary Baldwin
Kelley Wandell, Maryville
Caroline Coleman, Meredith
Logan Lee, Methodist
Weslie Young, N.C. Wesleyan
A'Mya McClain, Pfeiffer
Rachel Irby, Piedmont
Aaliyah Webb, Salem
Paloma Rios, Wesleyan
Manazia Merriett, William Peace