KNOXVILLE, TN - August 19, 2013 - team photo during the Lady Volunteers 2013 photo day. Photo By Donald Page/Tennessee Athletics
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (RELEASE) -- The Southeastern Conference released its 2013-14 Women's Basketball Preseason Media Poll Monday, and the Tennessee Lady Volunteers have been picked to win the 2014 SEC title in voting by a select panel of league and national media members.
As the reigning SEC regular season champions, Tennessee returns three starters from last season's 27-8 squad that advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight squad, including SEC Co-Player of the Year Meighan Simmons and SEC Freshman of the Year Bashaara Graves. UT will be aiming for its 18th regular season league title.
Tennessee tops the order of finish with 192 points, with Kentucky (185), LSU (156), Texas A&M (144), Vanderbilt (134), Georgia (132) and South Carolina (131) rounding out the top half of the league. Auburn (84), Missouri (74), Florida (67), Mississippi State (66), Arkansas (57), Ole Miss (2) and Alabama (18) fill out the bottom half.
Poll points were compiled on a 14-13-12-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. Each media member also voted for Preseason SEC Player of the Year and a five-player All-SEC Team.
Tennessee's Meighan Simmons, a 5-foot-9 senior from Cibolo, Texas, was the overwhelming choice of the media for SEC Women's Basketball Player of the Year with 10 votes. The remaining votes were for LSU's Theresa Plaisance. Simmons was the league's second leading scorer in all games a year ago at 16.8 ppg., but she led with a 19.3 average against conference teams.
Joining Simmons and Plaisance on the All-SEC First Team are Bashaara Graves, Tennessee; DeNesha Stallworth, Kentucky and Jasmine Lister, Vanderbilt. Graves, a 6-2 forward from Clarksville, Tenn., posted averages of 13.2 points and 8.0 rebounds per contest last season, ranking as the No. 7 rebounder and No. 11 scorer in the SEC.
Both Simmons and Graves were first-team all-league choices by the coaches in 2012-13, while Simmons was a first-team pick by Associated Press and Graves made the second team.
The 2013-14 SEC Media Preseason Poll tips off SEC Basketball Media Days, October 16-17 at The Westin Birmingham. The SEC Women's Basketball Coaches Poll will be released on Tuesday, November 5.