Three Lady Vols named to preseason Naismith Award list

ATLANTA (SUBMITTED) -- Three Tennessee Lady Volunteer basketball players were named to the 2010-11 Naismith preseason watch list, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced on Tuesday.

Senior guard/forward Angie Bjorklund, redshirt junior center Kelley Cain and junior guard/forward Shekinna Stricklen made the 50-person list for the award given to the women’s college player of the year.

The watch list was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Selectors, which based its criteria on player performances from the previous year and expectations for the 2010-11 college basketball season. The Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T will be awarded on April 4, 2010 at the NCAA Women’s Final Four in Indianapolis, Ind.

Tennessee joined North Carolina and Stanford as the only teams with three players represented on the preseason watch list.

In 2009-10, Bjorklund was a unanimous choice to the First Team All-SEC by the league coaches and was also selected First Team All-SEC as chosen by the Associated Press. In addition, she was named the SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year, was tabbed to the CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Team and earned Honorable Mention All-American from the Associated Press. Bjorklund led Tennessee in scoring at 13.9 ppg.

Cain earned Associated Press First Team All-SEC honors, along with First Team All-SEC and All-Defensive Team accolades from league coaches after leading the SEC in blocked shots with 113 (3.4 bpg). She set a new Tennessee school record for blocks in a game with 12 against LSU on Feb. 22, 2010, and blocks in a season.

Stricklen was named Second Team All-SEC by the conference coaches and the AP. She recorded only the second triple-double in Lady Vol history when she scored 17 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and dished out a career-best 12 assists against #14/15-ranked Oklahoma on Jan. 3, 2010, at Thompson-Boling Arena. The Morrilton, Ark., native was second on the team with 12.7 ppg, third with 6.1 rpg and boasted a team-high 3.9 apg.

Candace Parker is the last Lady Vol to win the prestigious award, taking the honor in 2008. Tamika Catchings (2000) and Chamique Holdsclaw (1998, 1999) also captured the award.

Through the power and ease of text messaging fan voting will account for 25 percent of the all of the final results for the Naismith Trophy – more than any other national college basketball award.

In late February, the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Selectors will compile a mid-season team of the top 30 players in the nation. Then in March, the Naismith Trophy voting academy will vote to narrow the list to the four finalists.

For more information on the Naismith Trophy, visit www.naismithawards.com.


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