Lady Vols top preseason poll

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (UT Release) -- Tennessee is predicted to win the 2012 Southeastern Conference women's basketball championship in a voting of a select panel of both SEC and national media members.

The Tennessee Lady Vols returns the bulk of the team despite losing guards Angie Bjorklund (10.3 ppg, 2.6 rpg), Sydney Smallbone (1.4 ppg, 0.8 rpg) and center Kelley Cain (7.0 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.1 bpg) to graduation. A five member senior-laden squad, UT will be led by 6-2 guard/forward Shekinna Stricklen and 6-3 post Glory Johnson (12.0 ppg, 9.7 rpg).

Tennessee tops the order of finish with 264 points, with Georgia (228), Kentucky (212), LSU (189), Vanderbilt (172) and Florida (151) rounding out the top half of the league. Arkansas (142), South Carolina (107), Auburn (94), Alabama (55), Mississippi State (54) and Ole Miss (48) round out the bottom half.

Tennessee's Shekinna Stricklen was the overwhelming choice of the media for SEC Women's Basketball Player of the Year with 16 votes, the remaining votes were for Georiga's Jasmine James, LSU's LaSondra Barrett and Tennessee's Glory Johnson. Stricklen, a 2011 State Farm All-American and SEC MVP averaged 12.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per game last season.

UT sophomore Meighan Simmons, the 2011 SEC Rookie of the Year, was selected to the second team. Simmons is the Lady Vols returning scorer at 13.5 ppg.

Joining Stricklen on the All-SEC First Team are Georgia's Jasmine James, Kentucky's A'dia Mathies, LSU's LaSondra Barrett and Tennessee's Glory Johnson. Second Team includes Arkansas' C'eria Ricketts, Ole Miss' Valencia McFarland, Simmons, and Vanderbilt's Stephanie Holzer.

Points were compiled on a 12-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. Each media member also voted for one team as an overall conference champion and a five-player All-SEC Team.

The 2011-12 SEC Media Preseason Poll tips off SEC Basketball Media Days, October 27 at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Alabama. The SEC Women's Basketball Coaches Poll will be released on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Preseason Media Poll (First-Place Votes in Parentheses)

Player of the Year: Shekinna Stricklen, Tennessee (16); Glory Johnson, Tennessee (3); LaSondra Barrett, LSU (2); Jasmine James, Georgia (1)

Order of Finish

1. Tennessee 264; 2. Georgia 228; 3. Kentucky 212; 4. LSU 189; 5. Vanderbilt 172; 6. Florida 151; 7. Arkansas 142; 8. South Carolina 107; 9. Auburn 94; 10. Alabama 55 11. Mississippi State 54; 12. Ole Miss 48.

First-Team Jasmine James, Georgia A'dia Mathies, Kentucky LaSondra Barrett, LSU Glory Johnson, Tennessee Shekinna Stricklen, Tennessee

Second-Team C'eria Ricketts, Arkansas Sarah Watkins, Arkansas Valencia McFarland, Ole Miss Meighan Simmons, Tennessee Stephanie Holzer, Vanderbilt

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