Burdick named SEC player of the week

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT/SUBMITTED) -- After leading No. 10/10 Tennessee in scoring twice in seven days, including a double-double performance vs. Alabama, Cierra Burdick was named the SEC Player of the Week on Monday. It marked the second time she had earned the award, following recognition on March 4, 2013.

Burdick, a 6-foot-2 junior from Charlotte, N.C., averaged 18.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.0 blocks in Tennessee’s victories over Arkansas (70-60) and Alabama (64-54) last week. In those games, she combined to shoot 68.2 percent (15-22) from the field, including 71.4 percent (5-7) from beyond the three-point arc. She had entered the week averaging 7.7 points and 6.1 rebounds and shooting 34.4 percent from the floor.

Her efforts, which included her third double-double of the season and ninth of her career, enabled UT to win its fifth-straight league game and improve to 18-4 overall and 7-2 in the SEC, climbing back to second in the conference standings. Her two team-leading points efforts were her first and second of the season and only the second and third of her career.

With Tennessee trailing by 15 points in the first half and eight at the break vs. Alabama on Sunday, Burdick’s eight-of-13 shooting, including three of five from three-point land, lifted the struggling Lady Vols back into the game and onto victory. She finished with 21 points, 11 rebounds, two assists and two steals in 35 minutes of action. Fourteen of those points came in the decisive second half, when UT flipped the momentum and led by as many as 16 points en route to its 40th-straight win over the Crimson Tide.

In the Arkansas game, Burdick fired in seven of nine field goal attempts, going two of two from long range, and helped UT bounce back from an eight-point deficit vs. the Razorbacks.

Playing a career-high 39 minutes vs. Arkansas, Burdick not only scored 16 points, but her all-around game was evident in her seven rebounds, four assists, two blocks and steal. Her play has helped Tennessee deal with the absence of Ariel Massengale, who has been out with an injury since the first half of the Florida game on Jan. 23.

Burdick now is averaging 8.1 points and 6.8 rebounds for the year. She and her Lady Vol teammates will travel to Oxford, Miss., this week, where they’ll face Ole Miss in a Thursday contest on CSS at 8 p.m. CT/9 p.m. ET.

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