Coaches tab Lady Vols tops in SEC

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – League coaches predict the Tennessee Lady Vol basketball team to win the 2011 Southeastern Conference championship, the SEC office announced on Thursday.

Tennessee returns an intact squad after going 32-3 and winning both the 2010 SEC regular season and tournament championships last year. The Lady Vols received 121 points, while Kentucky followed with 108. Rounding out the league order of finish were: LSU (93), Georgia (88), Vanderbilt (88), Auburn (59), South Carolina (48), Alabama (43), Ole Miss (42), Florida (39), Arkansas (35) and Mississippi State (28).

Lady Vol senior guard/forward Angie Bjorklund and junior guard Shekinna Stricklen were named to the preseason Coaches’ All-SEC First Team, while junior posts Kelley Cain and Glory Johnson captured preseason Coaches’ All-SEC Second Team accolades.

“I see an improved and committed team,” Lady Vol head coach Pat Summitt said. “They’re very invested. There’s no doubt – they want to be in Indianapolis for the Final Four. Shekinna and Angie have shown tremendous leadership. They’re older, they’re more invested and they’re more confident. I have high expectations this season.”

Kentucky senior forward Victoria Dunlap was named SEC Women's Basketball Preseason Player of the Year by the coaches. Joining Bjorklund, Stricklen and Dunlap on the All-SEC First Team were Kentucky’s A’dia Mathies, Auburn’s Alli Smalley, Georgia’s Porsha Phillips, LSU’s LaSondra Barrett and Vanderbilt’s Jence Rhoads.

Joining Cain and Johnson on the Second Team were Alabama’s Tierney Jenkins, Arkansas’ C’eira Ricketts, Georgia’s Jasmine James, LSU’s Katherine Graham, South Carolina’s Marah Strickland, Tennessee’s Kelley Cain and Glory Johnson and Vanderbilt’s Hannah Tuomi.

Points were compiled on an 11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis for order of prediction, while each player received two points for a first-team vote and one point for a second-team vote. Ties were not broken and coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team or players.

The Lady Vols were also picked to win the 2011 league crown by the media, which also selected Bjorklund and Stricklen for its preseason First Team, and Cain for its Second Team.

The complete listing of all honors follows.

SCHOOL POINTS

1. Tennessee 121

2. Kentucky 108

3. LSU 93

T4. Georgia 88

T4. Vanderbilt 88

6. Auburn 59

7. South Carolina 48

8. Alabama 43

9. Ole Miss 42

10. Florida 39

11. Arkansas 35

12. Mississippi State 28

FIRST TEAM ALL-SEC

Alli Smalley, Auburn

Porsha Phillips, Georgia

Victoria Dunlap, Kentucky

A’dia Mathies, Kentucky

LaSondra Barrett, LSU

Angie Bjorklund, Tennessee

Shekinna Stricklen, Tennessee

Jence Rhoads, Vanderbilt

SECOND TEAM ALL-SEC

Tierney Jenkins, Alabama

C’eira Ricketts, Arkansas

Jasmine James, Georgia

Katherine Graham, LSU

Marah Strickland, South Carolina

Kelley Cain, Tennessee

Glory Johnson, Tennessee

Hannah Tuomi, Vanderbilt

PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTS

Victoria Dunlap, Kentucky 8

Shekinna Stricklen, Tennessee 2

Marah Strickland, South Carolina 1

Jence Rhoads, Vanderbilt 1


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