Yorisha Bryant named SAA Newcomer of the Year, Ricks voted Coach of the Year

Yorisha Bryant (photo by Jimmy Mitchell)
Yorisha Bryant (photo by Jimmy Mitchell)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—After exclusive voting by the league's head coaches, Birmingham-Southern's Mike Ricks has been named Southern Athletic Association Women's Basketball Coach of the Year, and senior Yorisha Bryant has been named Newcomer of the Year.

A first-year performer in the SAA via transfer, Bryant, a forward from Los Angeles, Calif., proved to be an integral piece in the Panthers' run to the 2015-16 SAA Regular Season Co-Championship. Bryant's seasonal average of 16.6 points per game topped the SAA, as did her numbers for total rebounds (224) and blocks (39). She made 49.5 percent of her shots from the field (third overall) and 72.8 percent (seventh-best) of her league-leading 173 free throw attempts on her way to earning Newcomer of the Year status.

In just his first season at the helm of the BSC women's basketball program, head coach Mike Ricks produced a program-best 21-3 record and regular season co-championship to earn SAA Coach of the Year honors. Ricks came to BSC after four seasons at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas, where he started the women's basketball program after being hired in January 2011. In the 2014-15 season, his Celt team went 16-15, showing steady improvement since the program's inception. Ricks received a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science from the University of Houston in 2004 and a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership from LeTourneau University in 2012. He completed a second Master's Degree in Sport Management from Liberty University in May 2015.

Bryant earned a spot on the SAA First Team, and junior Jasmynn Batts landed on the Second Team. Additionally, senior Halle Knowles and junior Jameice Holmes were named to the All-SAA Honorable Mention Team.

Hendrix's Sara Dyslin was named Player of the Year, and Millsaps' Braxton Thomas was voted Defensive Player of the Year.