Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Parker, Summitt Gain SEC Honors

Birmingham, AL -- University of Tennessee sophomore basketball player Candace Parker was named the 2007 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, and head coach Pat Summitt picked up SEC Coach of the Year honors for the seventh time in her career, announced the conference office on Tuesday.

In her 33rd season at the helm of the UT program, Summitt has accumulated 940 wins – more than any other Division I coach in the history of men’s or women’s college basketball. In addition to her six NCAA Titles, seven SEC Coach of the Year Awards, seven NCAA Coach of the Year Awards and 16 NCAA Final Four appearances, the Henrietta, Tenn., native has coached 19 Kodak All-Americans, has a 100% graduation rate for student-athletes who exhaust their eligibility in Lady Vol uniforms and boasts two basketball courts and a gymnasium that bear her name.

“Anytime you are recognized by your peers it’s a great compliment,” said Summitt. “Those are the people for whom I have the utmost respect. I received this award because of this team and their commitment to being competitive and playing together game-in and game-out. I am fortunate to have a great staff that can teach and contribute in many ways to the success of our team and our program.”

A sophomore for the Big Orange, Parker leads her 2007 team in scoring (20.6 ppg), rebounding (9.8 rpg) and blocks (2.89 bpg). The 2006 SEC Freshman of the Year, first team All-SEC selection and SEC Tournament MVP, Parker becomes the first Lady Vol in program history to nab top-rookie and top-player honors in back-to-back years. Parker, Bridgette Gordon (1989), Dena Head (1992), Nikki McCray (1994, 1995) and Chamique Holdsclaw (1998, 1999) account for seven of the 21 Player of the Year Awards since the awards inception in 1987. Parker is the first Lady Vol to garner the award since Holdsclaw in 1999.

“I think Candace has really separated herself out this year with her play,” said Summitt. “That to me is a result of her hard work. Her opportunity to compete with the USA National Team at the FIBA World Championship this past summer gave her a different competitive environment, which I’m sure was a great challenge for her. She came back a better player. She’s made significant improvement this year from the beginning of the season to now.”

Parker, a native of Naperville, Ill., became the fastest player in UT history to reach the 1,000-point plateau. She edged Chamique Holdsclaw (57 games) by reaching the millennium mark in 56 career contests and with her 17th double-double of her sophomore campaign, surpassed the four-time Kodak All-American for most double-doubles by a second-year student-athlete in program history.

“I am honored,” said Parker. “This league has so many great players and teams, I feel so blessed to have been selected. I am fortunate to have incredible teammates and coaches who help me be a better person and player every day.”

In addition to POY, Parker earned first-team All-SEC honors for the second straight year. She is joined on the first team by junior Alexis Hornbuckle, who garners top-team honors for the first time in her career. Hornbuckle, a 5-foot-10 junior, was a second-team selection in 2006 and a unanimous All-Freshman selection in 2005. The Charleston, W. Va., native leads the team in assists (4.14 apg) and steals (3.34 spg) and ranks third in scoring (9.9 ppg) and rebounding (5.0 ppg).

“First and foremost, I’m happy to be part of this team,” said Hornbuckle. “Every time we step foot on the court, it is a team effort. It is a great honor to be named All-SEC, but I’m even more honored to be able to play and help my team.”

Sidney Spencer, a senior from Hoover, Ala., earned a spot on the second team. The reigning SEC Tournament MVP, Spencer led the nation in three-point field goal percentage the majority of the season. She currently ranks second in the league in beyond-the-arc accuracy (.435) and stands in seventh place for most treys made by a Lady Vol in a single-season. The 6-foot-3 sharpshooter boasts an 83.8 percent free throw percentage, which ranks her fourth on the UT career list. She was a third-team Academic All-Region IV selection by ESPN the Magazine earlier this season and finds time to volunteer in the greater Knoxville community, a feat which earned her a spot on the 2007 SEC Community Service Team.

Lady Vols have earned 66 spots on the All-SEC first and second teams since 1982, including 47 first-team accolades.

The 2007 SEC Women's Basketball Tournament begins Thursday, March 1, and runs through Sunday, March 4, in Duluth, Ga. SEC's regional sports network (FSN South, FSN Southwest and Sun Sports) will televise all games on Thursday, Friday and Saturday while ESPN2 will broadcast the championship game at 7:30 p.m. ET.

The complete 2007 SEC Women's Basketball Postseason Awards follow.

First Team All-SEC

DeWanna Bonner, Auburn
Tasha Humphrey, Georgia*
Sylvia Fowles, LSU*
Armintie Price, Ole Miss*
Alexis Hornbuckle, Tennessee
Candace Parker, Tennessee*
Dee Davis, Vanderbilt
Carla Thomas, Vanderbilt*

Second Team All-SEC
Lauren Ervin, Arkansas
Marshae Dotson, Florida
Cori Chambers, Georgia
Sarah Elliott, Kentucky
Samantha Mahoney, Kentucky
Quianna Chaney, LSU
Sidney Spencer, Tennessee
Caroline Williams, Vanderbilt

All-Freshman Team
Donica Cosby, Arkansas*
Jordan Greenleaf, Auburn
Ashley Houts, Georgia
Christy Marshall, Georgia
Angel Robinson, Georgia
Allison Hightower, LSU
Alliesha Easley, Ole Miss
Alexis Rack, Mississippi State*

Coach of the Year
Pat Summitt, Tennessee

Player of the Year
Candace Parker, Tennessee

Freshman of the Year
Ashley Houts, Georgia

Defensive Player of the Year
Armintie Price, Ole Miss

6th Woman of the Year
Christy Marshall, Georgia
Liz Sherwood, Vanderbilt

Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Sarah Pfeifer, Arkansas

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