Lady Vols, Bruin men take TSWA accolades
Posted: Thursday, April 18, 2013 7:00 pm
Belmont and Tennessee shared the Tennessee Sports Writers Association’s college basketball honors in a recent vote by the association’s members.
Belmont men’s basketball coach Rick Byrd was named the TSWA Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year, while Belmont senior guard Ian Clark was named the TSWA Men’s Basketball Player of the Year.
In her first year as Tennessee’s head coach, Holly Warlick was named the TSWA Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year, while junior guard Meighan Simmons was named the TSWA Women’s Basketball Player of the Year.
While Byrd and Clark dominated the voting on the men’s side, the voting for the women’s basketball honors was close.
Warlick received one more vote than Cumberland University’s Jeremy Lewis and Lee University’s Marty Rowe.
Simmons, the SEC Player of the Year, finished narrowly ahead of Tennessee Martin’s Jasmine Newsome.
In its first year in the OVC, Belmont finished 26-7 winning the regular season and tournament championships. In the OVC championship game against Murray State, the Bruins rallied in the last two minutes of regulation to force overtime and then earned the automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament after owning the overtime. Belmont lost to Arizona in the NCAA Tournament.
Byrd was named the OVC Coach of the Year and was a finalist for the Hugh Durham National Coach of the Year and was a finalist for the Skip Prosser Man of the Year award.
Clark, a 6-foot-3 guard, was the Co-OVC Player of the Year and the OVC Defensive Player of the Year. Clark averaged 18.2 points a game, while shooting 45.9 percent from the 3-point line and 54.3 percent from the floor. He shot 83.3 percent from the free-throw line and finished with 79 assists and 53 steals.
Following the end of the season, Clark was invited to participate in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, which brought together the top senior basketball players for a four-day, 12-game tournament.
Simmons, a 5-9 guard, averaged 17.2 points and 3.8 rebounds. She shot 42 percent from the floor, 37.6 percent from the 3-point line and 84.4 percent from the free-throw line.
Along with her SEC Player of the Year honors, Simmons was named an Associated Press Third Team All-American. Simmons was also among 12 finalists for the The State Farm Wade Trophy.
Under Warlick, Tennessee finished 27-8, winning the SEC regular-season title.
Published in The Messenger 4.18.13