Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Lady Vols Sweep SEC Awards

After going undefeated in 2011 Southeastern Conference basketball play, the University of Tennessee Lady Vols swept the trifecta of SEC Coach of the Year, Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year honors, announced the conference office on Tuesday.

Lady Vol Coach Pat Summitt collected her eighth SEC Coach of the Year award, while junior forward/guard Shekinna Stricklen (Morrilton, Ark.) was named the 2011 SEC Player of the Year and guard Meighan Simmons (Cibolo, Texas) was tabbed as the 2011 SEC Freshman of the Year. Additionally, UT junior post Glory Johnson (Knoxville, Tenn.) was also selected to the eight player SEC First Team and was also placed on the SEC All-Defensive squad in a vote by the league's 12 coaches.

This marks the second time Tennessee has swept the top three conference awards after Summitt was named the 1998 SEC Coach of the Year, Chamique Holdsclaw was the 1998 SEC Player of the Year and Tamika Catchings was honored as the 1998 SEC Freshman of the Year.

"I am so excited for, and proud of, Shekinna, Glory and Meighan," Summitt said. "They have impacted our success in SEC play all season long and are very deserving of this recognition."

In her 37th season at the helm of the UT program, Summitt has accumulated 1,065 wins - more than any other Division I coach in the history of men's or women's college basketball. In addition to her eight NCAA Titles, eight SEC Coach of the Year Awards, seven NCAA Coach of the Year Awards and 18 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 junior for the Big Orange, Stricklen led her 2011 team in SEC scoring (13.8 ppg) while playing four positions on the floor. Asked to play inside, she grabbed 8.4 rebounds per game in SEC contests. Need help at guard? She buried 43 percent of her three-pointers (25-57) while dishing almost two assists per game. Stricklen is the first Lady Vol to garner the award since Candace Parker in 2007.

"Wow! This is a tremendous honor," Stricklen remarked. "I am surprised and blessed at the same time. I have to thank all of my teammates and our coaching staff for all of their help and support."

In addition to POY, Stricklen earned All-SEC First Team honors for the first time after placing on the Second Team in 2009 and 2010 and All-Freshman team in 2009.

"Shekinna has been a multiple threat for us this season," Summitt said. "I challenged her at the start of SEC play and she has really stepped up her game and played like an All-American."

Stricklen is joined on the All-SEC First Team by Johnson who is making her very first appearance since earning 2009 SEC All-Freshman honors. The 6'3" leaper was also named to the six player 2011 SEC All-Defensive Team. This season, Johnson was selected as the 2011 SEC Player of the Week four times and was UT's second leading scorer in SEC games at 13.7 ppg while posting 10.3 rpg.

"There hasn't been a better rebounder than Glory Johnson, night-in and night-out, in SEC play this year," Summitt said. "I think her 10.3 rpg speaks to her commitment to controlling the glass."

Simmons has been a dynamo for the Lady Vols all season. The overall scoring leader at 13.8 ppg, she was third on the UT team in SEC scoring at 11.3 ppg while dishing 3.4 helpers per game.

"Meighan has not played like a freshman for our team and has been an impact player from day one," Summitt said.

Simmons was selected as the 2010-11 SEC Freshman of the Week three times. In addition to her Freshman of the Year honors and SEC All-Freshman Team selection, she also earned a place on the All-SEC Second Team.

"I am so honored," said Simmons. "Our league has so many great players and teams, I feel so blessed to have been selected. This award is a direct reflection on my teammates and coaches - they have helped me so much this season."

The top-seeded Lady Vols (28-2, 16-0 SEC) open play in the 2011 SEC Tournament at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., on Fri., Mar. 4 at noon CT (SportSouth). Tennessee will take on the winner of no. 8 seeded Florida (17-13, 7-9 SEC0 and no. 9 seeded Arkansas (18-10, 6-10 SEC) who play in opening round action on Mar. 3.

The complete 2011 SEC Women's Basketball Postseason Awards:

First Team All-SEC

Tierney Jenkins, Alabama
Alli Smalley, Auburn
Porsha Phillips, Georgia
Victoria Dunlap, Kentucky
LaSondra Barrett, LSU
Shekinna Stricklen, Tennessee
Glory Johnson, Tennessee
Jence Rhoads, Vanderbilt

Second Team All-SEC

C'eira Ricketts, Arkansas
Sarah Watkins, Arkansas
Jasmine James, Georgia
A'dia Mathies, Kentucky
Kayla Melson, Ole Miss
Mary Kathryn Govero, Mississippi State
Iesia Walker, South Carolina
Meighan Simmons, Tennessee

All-Freshman Team

Kaneisha Horn, Alabama
Jaterra Bonds, Florida
Khaalidah Miller, Georgia
Bernisha Pinkett, Kentucky
Valencia Mcfarland, Ole Miss
Meighan Simmons, Tennessee
Jasmine Lister, Vanderbilt
Stephanie Holzer, Vanderbilt

All-Defensive Team

Tierney Jenkins, Alabama
Meredith Mitchell, Georgia
Victoria Dunlap, Kentucky
A'dia Mathies, Kentucky
Katherine Graham, LSU
Glory Johnson, Tennessee

Coach of the Year

Pat Summitt, Tennessee

Player of the Year

Shekinna Stricklen, Tennessee

Freshman of the Year

Meighan Simmons, Tennessee

Defensive Player of the Year

Victoria Dunlap, Kentucky

6th Woman of the Year

Stephanie Holzer, Vanderbilt

Scholar-Athlete of the Year

Mary Kathryn Govero, Mississippi State

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