December 17, 2007
Knoxville – For the first time since the 2005-06 season, the Lady Vols have swept the Southeastern Conference weekly basketball awards. Candace Parker (SEC Player of the Week) and Angie Bjorklund (SEC Freshman of the Week) combined for 79 points in Tennessee’s wins over Middle Tennessee and Gonzaga this past week while setting new school records for their efforts.
Parker averaged 26 points, nine rebounds and two assists in the victories. Against Middle Tennessee, the Naperville, Ill., native tied a career-high 34 points and was the recipient of 15 of the Blue Raiders’ 31 team fouls. That allowed her to establish a new school record for free throws attempted (21) while tying Bridgette Gordon’s free throws made mark of 17. Gordon went 17-20 against Long Beach State on March 25, 1989. Parker’s numbers from the charity stripe each rank second all-time in the SEC.
Parker earns player of the week accolades for the second time this season and the eighth time in her career. Since the SEC began presenting the weekly award in 1985, only two women have amassed as many honors as Parker, Armintie Price (Ole Miss, nine) and Wendy Scholtens (Vanderbilt, eight). Including her five rookie of the week nods, Parker’s 13 weekly recognitions are the most by anyone in the history of the SEC.
Bjorklund becomes just the second rookie to repeat in back-to-back weeks, joining Parker who nabbed freshman of the week on Jan. 10 and Jan. 16, 2006. The Spokane Valley, Wash., native averaged 13.5 points and shot 58 percent from beyond the arc in wins number eight and nine for the Lady Vols this season. Against Gonzaga and her older sister, Jami, the 6’0” shooter dropped in seven three-pointers, tying the school record set by Shanna Zolman on Feb. 19, 2006, at Alabama. The seven treys established a new rookie standard, breaking one set by Kara Lawson on Jan. 30, 2000 against Kentucky (six).
Since the inception of the SEC Freshman of the Week in 2006, this marks the fourth time that Tennessee has swept the awards. On Jan. 16, 2006, Parker claimed both honors and Shanna Zolman and Parker paired up for the sweep on both Dec. 5, 2005, and Feb. 20, 2006. Demetress Adams of South Carolina (Dec. 26, 2006), Armintie Price and Alliesha Easley of Ole Miss (Jan. 15, 2007), and Tasha Humphrey and Ashley Houts of Georgia (Jan. 22, 2007) also grabbed both awards.
The Lady Vols now travel to the west coast for a difficult Pac-10 swing to play UCLA and Stanford before breaking for the holidays. UT leads the all-time series with UCLA, 15-1, and takes a 12-game winning streak in the series into Pauley Pavilion for the 10 p.m. ET showdown on Dec. 19. Last season, the Big Orange routed the 20th-ranked Bruins, 83-60 in Knoxville. Tennessee puts a 19-4 record against Stanford on the line on Dec. 22 at 10:30 p.m. ET. The game between top-ranked UT and fourth-ranked Stanford will be televised on Fox Sports Net.