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Billings' hot streak earns her SEC Player of the Week award

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Junior Whitney Billings is SEC Player of the Week for week of Oct. 1. (Britney McIntosh, UK Athletics) Junior Whitney Billings is SEC Player of the Week for week of Oct. 1. (Britney McIntosh, UK Athletics)
It's hard to imagine where this Kentucky volleyball team would be without its right side hitter. Junior Whitney Billings may not be the most vocal leader on the court every match for the Wildcats, but she's been instrumental in the turnaround this team has experienced over the last three matches.

Billings has spearheaded the effort to get the Cats back on the right track after suffering through a four-match losing streak. Her offensive potency has helped Kentucky find the light at the end of the tunnel, and it doesn't look like the Wildcats are turning back any time soon.

Over the last three matches, Billings has amassed 45 kills, averaging 3.75 kills per set. In their previous two wins over Tennessee and Auburn, Billings has 29 kills and is averaging 4.14 kills per set.
Her offensive numbers were off the charts and crucial in leading Kentucky in both wins this week, leading her to her first career Southeastern Conference Player of the Week award Monday.

What may be looked over, however, is that Billings could have walked away with both weekly SEC awards after her dynamite defensive performances in those two matches as well as in addition to her numbers against Texas A&M.

Billings has tallied at least 15 digs in each of the last three matches (16, 16, and 15). She led the team in digs in UK's three-set sweep over the Lady Vols, then followed that up with a 15-dig effort over Auburn on Sunday. Billings also led UK with 4.43 digs per set over those two matches.

She can block too.

She has at least four block assists in each of her last three matches (five, four and four), leading her team in both the Texas A&M and Tennessee matches in that statistical category. She ranks in the top-20 in the in the conference with .84 blocks per set.

And she can serve too.

One of the most impressive aspects of Billings' game has been her ability to hold serve and help her team get some easy points. Every point starts with a serve, and Billings is doing everything she can to make sure that when she has a chance, she makes that first touch difficult for the opponent. In her 56 serving opportunities this season, she has 20 aces, good for .36 aces per set. That's good for second in the SEC.

In fact, she is doing things that no other player in the SEC can boast. During conference action she is the only player who leads her team in scoring to rank in the top-20 statistically of conference leaders in four or more categories: kills (17th), aces (first), blocks (15th) and digs (20th).

She may be the Player of the Week for Oct. 1, but come December, Whitney Billings is likely to have more hardware coming her way if she continues to be the top all-around performer in the conference.

If "SEC Player of the Week" has a nice ring to it, imagine how beautiful "SEC Player of the Year" might sound.

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