Lady Vols' Simmons named SEC Player of the Year - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Lady Vols' Simmons named SEC Player of the Year

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn.  -- Tennessee’s Meighan Simmons and Isabelle Harrison were named to the All-Southeastern Conference First Team, and Simmons was selected as the SEC’s Player of the Year, Associated Press announced on Tuesday.

Simmons earned AP All-SEC acclaim for the third time in her career, including first-team status for the second year in a row.  Harrison was a first-time selection as well, as she and Simmons duplicated the distinction given to them previously by the league’s coaches.

The AP Player of the Year tag for Simmons, though, was a career first.  She had garnered a share of Coaches SEC Player of the Year kudos a year ago with Kentucky’s A’dia Mathies, but the UK guard was the sole winner of AP’s 2013 league top player honor.

A 5-foot-9 guard from Cibolo, Texas, Simmons averaged 16.2 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.2 steals per game as a senior while shooting 42.2% from the field, 35.9% from the three-point line and 81.0% from the free throw stripe. She has scored 20 or more points on nine occasions in 2013-14, 30 or more twice and has led Tennessee in scoring on 13 occasions.

The senior has scored 517 points this season to run her four-year total to 2,004 and move into fifth on the school’s career scoring list. She is only the fifth player in Lady Vol history to reach the 2,000-point plateau. The others in that exclusive club are Chamique Holdsclaw, Bridgette Gordon, Candace Parker and Tamika Catchings.

Harrison, a 6-3 center from Nashville, is averaging 13.9 points and 9.4 rebounds per contest to rank 14th and first, respectively, in the SEC this season. The junior’s field goal percentage of 58.5 also leads the conference. Harrison has recorded 17 double-doubles this season to rank first in the league, and that total places her No. 1 all-time among Lady Vol juniors and No. 2 among all Lady Vols in any class behind Candace Parker (21 as sophomore).

She set a UT record with seven consecutive games of posting double-doubles and also had another stretch with four in a row. Harrison has scored in double figures in 29 of 32 games and has 18 contests with 10 or more rebounds. With her current numbers, she ranks fifth in rebound average and eighth in field goal percentage on UT’s all-time single season lists.

Simmons and Harrison have helped Tennessee fashion a No. 3 national ranking, 27-5 record and SEC Tournament championship this season.  They are preparing to lead the Lady Vols into the NCAA Tournament, where their squad is the No. 1 seed in the Louisville Regional and will begin play on Saturday at 4 p.m. with an NCAA First Round game vs. Northwestern State at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville. ESPN2 will have the telecast, and ESPN3 will have the live stream.

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