Western Kentucky center Crystal Kelly is the darling of the Sun Belt. Despite having one of the best careers in the Sun Belt, she has yet to reach the NCAA tournament, which is surprising considering her great career. Kelly was picked in the preseason as the front runner for player of the year and in December she broke the All-Time Sun Belt scoring record. Many fans across the Sun Belt are hoping that in her senior season Kelly gets a taste of the NCAA tournament.
Unlike Kelly who has spent her entire career in the Sun Belt, Amber Holt transferred to the Sun Belt 2 years ago, . Holt currently leads the nation in scoring, averaging 26.5 per game. She has been able to stay atop the scoring charts despite playing the likes of LSU, Tennessee, and Maryland. Holt is working to lead her team to a 5th straight NCAA appearance and follow in the footsteps of former MTSU greats Patrice Holmes and Chrissy Givens as SBC Player of the Year.
Determining the SBC's top player is not easy. Both players have used their unique talents to once again put their teams at the top of the Sun Belt Conference. Holt leads the nation is scoring, but she is followed closely by Kelly who is 5th in the nation in scoring. Kelly has the edge in block shots and rebounds while Holt has the edge in some of the defensive categories.
The statistics are nearly even. The only real separation appears to be in the records. Kelly has the edge so far this year, but that can change this week as the two teams face off for the last of the two regular season games.
This debate may never be settled. Both players are deserving of not only the Sun Belt's top honors, but also some of the top honors in the nation. The honor of top player may not be determined until the Sun Belt tournament. A great player is judged not only by their stats, they are also judged by how capable they are of leading their team into the post season.
As the debate rages on, there is no doubt both of these ladies are top-notch ball players and deserving of every accolade they receive.