Middle Tennessee standout Anastasia Hayes has been named the Conference USA Player of the Year after producing one of the best regular seasons in league and Lady Raider history.
Hayes becomes the eighth Lady Raider to be named a conference player of the year and the first since Ebony Rowe in 2013-14. In all, Lady Raiders have been named conference players of the year 10 times with greats Chrissy Givens and Alysha Clark each earning the honor twice.
"Great, great honor for Anastasia," said Lady Raider head coach Rick Insell, whose players have earned six of the 10 players of the year honors in school history. "To be recognized as the best player in your conference says a lot about your talent and how you represented yourself throughout the course of the season. There are a lot of outstanding players in our conference but nothing Anastasia does surprises our coaching staff. She is a very talented individual."
Hayes leads C-USA in scoring and steals, while ranking second in assists and minutes and sixth in field goal percentage. Her 26.8 points per game is second nationally and is currently third highest in C-USA single-season history.
It has been a stellar season for Hayes, who became the 32nd member of the Lady Raider 1,000-point club. She enters the C-USA Championship with 1,412 career points. In addition to ranking second nationally in scoring, Hayes is also among the nation's Top 20 for total points, field goals made, free throws made, free throw attempts, minutes, and steals.
"I'm very appreciative of this award," Hayes said. "I work hard and love this game. It is great to see my hard work paying off. I have just tried to let the game come to me this season and things have worked out. The main goal is to win a conference championship and go to the NCAA Tournament. There is plenty of work still to be done."
Hayes has been named to the Midseason Watch Lists for the Naismith Award and the Wade Trophy, recognizing the top players in Division I basketball. She is also on the Late Season Watch List (Top 16) for the Dawn Staley Award.
The versatile guard has also been named a semifinalist for the Becky Hammon Mid-Major Player of the Year award.
Hayes the Lady Raiders will begin their quest for a C-USA Championship Thursday at 2 p.m.
Middle Tennessee Players of the Year
Anastasia Hayes 2020-21
Ebony Rowe 2013-14
Sun Belt Conference
Alysha Clark 2008-09; 09-10
Chrissy Givens 2005-06; 06-07
Ohio Valley Conference
Priscilla Robinson 1991-92
Tawanya Mucker 1988-89
Kim Webb 1985-86
Jennifer McFall 1984-85