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Lady Vols at the Volscars

April 15, 2013

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Fresh off an SEC regular-season title and a trip to the NCAA Elite Eight, the Lady Vol basketball team was well-represented at the Knoxville Convention Center on Monday night at the seventh-annual UT Athletics Volscars Awards Show.

Members of the women's hoops team picked up three awards, and there were two other categories for which the team was nominated.

A year after being named the Joe Hendee Best Supporting Staff winner, rookie head coach Holly Warlick was crowned the 2013 Women's Team Coach of the Year. Bashaara Graves was co-winner of Women's Rookie of the Year, while Taber Spani followed in the footsteps of 2012 winner Glory Johnson to become the recipient of the Miss Tennessee - Big Orange Heart Award.

Here are some of the accomplishments of the winners from women's basketball.

Women's Team Coach of the Year: Holly Warlick

  • Named the Spalding Maggie Dixon Division I Rookie Coach of the Year by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association
  • Voted SEC Coach of the Year by both the coaches and the Associated Press
  • Guided Tennessee to a 27-8 record and its 26th all-time appearance in the NCAA Elite Eight
  • Led Lady Vols to the SEC regular-season title, the 17th in program history
  • During a time of transition she and her staff signed the nation's No. 1 recruit and a consensus top-three signing class
  • Demonstrated tremendous grace in following in her mentor's footsteps as head coach and in dealing with her sister's illness during the season

Women's Co-Rookie of the Year: Bashaara Graves

  • Selected Full Court National Freshman of the Year
  • Named a Full Court First-Team Freshman All-American
  • Chosen as a WBCA Honorable Mention All-American
  • Picked as Coaches SEC Freshman of the Year and AP SEC Newcomer of the Year
  • Tabbed as Coaches First-Team All-SEC and SEC All-Freshman Team
  • Averaged 13.2 points and 8.0 rebounds per game and posted 10 double-doubles

Ms. Tennessee Big Orange Heart: Taber Spani

  • Member of the All-Oklahoma City Regional Team and SEC All-Tournament Team
  • Named Capital One Academic All-District for the third time
  • Member of SEC Community Service Team and nominee for Brad Davis SEC Community Service Post-Graduate Scholarship
  • Recipient of Chancellor's Citation for Outstanding Scholarship
  • Averaged a career-best 11.1 points and 4.5 rebounds per game as a senior
  • Scored a career-high 33 points vs. Texas A&M in the SEC semifinals to became the 38th Lady Vol to score 1,000 points and finished with 1,053 for her career

Lady Vols Hoops had nominees in two other categories but did not win.

Women's Team of the Year: Women's Basketball

  • Advanced to the program's 26th all-time NCAA Elite Eight and remained the only school to appear in all 32 NCAA tournaments
  • Won the program's 17th SEC regular-season championship, posting a 14-2 league record after being picked to finish fifth by the league's coaches
  • Finished with a 27-8 overall record and a top-10 national ranking after being picked 20th in the AP preseason poll

Women's Athlete of the Year: Meighan Simmons

  • Named Associated Press and Full Court Third-Team All-American and WBCA Honorable Mention All-American
  • Chosen by league coaches as SEC Co-Player of the Year and First-Team All-SEC
  • Averaged 16.8 points per game, scored in double figures in 31 of 35 games and became the 37th Lady Vol to join the 1,000-point club, finishing the season with 1,487

Other winners included:

Men's Team Coach of the Year: Matt Kredich

  • Completed his first season as head coach of the combined men's and women's program
  • Finished fourth at the SEC Championships
  • Placed 16th at the NCAA Championships, a six-place improvement from last year
  • The Vols earned 15 All-American honors at the NCAAs, including four first-team honors
  • The team was ranked as high as 11th nationally during the season and finished the dual meet season with a 4-4 record

Women's Team of the Year: Women's Swimming & Diving

  • Finished fourth at the NCAA Championships, the best finish in program history
  • Won their first three NCAA titles in relays: the 200 freestyle relay, the 200 medley relay and the 400 medley relay
  • Tori Lamp was named the National Diver of the Year and Dave Parrington was the National Diving Coach of the Year
  • The team finished fourth at the SEC Championships
  • During the dual meet season, the team went 8-1 and defeated eventual NCAA champion Georgia at home on senior day.

Men's Team of the Year: Men's Swimming & Diving

  • Finished fourth at the SEC Championships
  • Placed 16th at the NCAA Championships, a six-place improvement from last year
  • The Vols earned 15 All-American honors at the NCAAs, including four first-team honors
  • The team was ranked as high as 11th nationally during the season and finished the dual meet season with a 4-4 record
  • Sam Rairden led the team by taking second in three events at the SEC Championships and earning five All-America honors

Men's Rookie of the Year: Jacob Blankenship

  • Earned the honor of 2013 Indoor SEC Freshman Field Athlete of the Year
  • Named to the 2013 Indoor All-SEC Second Team and SEC All-Freshman Team
  • Placed fourth at the NCAA Championships earning a mark in the pole vault at 18-4.50; earning a new freshman and personal record; earned/beat multiple freshman records set by legendary Vol and Olympic silver medalist Lawrence Johnson
  • His vault at the NCAA Championships is currently tied with 2004 Olympic gold medalist Tim Mack for No. 2 all-time in Tennessee's indoor records
  • Won four individual meet titles, including three in a row, over the course of six meets during the regular season
  • Won his first meet as a Vol, placing first and earning a new pole vault personal record at the time of 17-8.50 at the Kentucky Invitational

Women's Best Supporting Role: Ellen Mullins (Volleyball);

  • Tabbed AVCA All-American Honorable Mention and to the AVCA All-South Region Team
  • Earned a league-best three SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors
  • Started all 30 matches at the libero position and was one of just two players to play in all 119 sets
  • Led the Lady Vols with career-best marks in digs (541) and digs per set (4.55)- marks that ranked second and fourth in the SEC, respectively
  • Her current rate of 4.55 digs per set ranks third all-time in the rally scoring era at Tennessee and overall she sits third at UT with a career average of 3.67 digs per game
  • Posted two 30-dig matches this season, including 34 against Missouri - which ranks as the seventh-highest single-match total in UT history and second in the rally scoring era

Men's Best Supporting Role: James Stone (Football);

  • A left-hander, Stone snapped under center with right hand for quarterback Tyler Bray and shotgun snaps with left hand
  • Started all 12 games in 2012 at center
  • Aided offense to school-record 718 yards vs. Troy (11/3)
  • Helped offense to 475.9 yards per game (20th in NCAA), 315.6 yards of passing offense (15th in NCAA), just eight sacks allowed (0.67 per game/fourth in NCAA)

Best Supporting Staff Member: Whitney Carter, Soccer Team Manager

Women's Athlete of the Year: Tori Lamp (Swim/Dive)

  • Named the National Diver of the Year
  • Earned back-to-back SEC Diver of the Year honors
  • Retained her title on the 10-meter platform at the SEC Championships
  • Placed in the top eight in all three diving events at the NCAA Championships, including a silver medal finish on platform
  • Named to the USA Diving Olympic Performance Squad

Men's Athlete of the Year: Jordan McRae (Basketball)

  • 2013 All-SEC First Team
  • Selected as 2013 SEC Player of the Year by ESPN's Jay Bilas, Jimmy Dykes, and Seth Davis
  • Appeared in all 33 games, with 22 starts
  • Finished the season as Tennessee's team leader in scoring (15.7 ppg), minutes played (33.6 mpg), 3-pointers made (60) and attempted (169) and 3-point percentage (.355) while ranking second in assists (2.0 apg), blocks (0.9 bpg) and steals (0.8 spg).
  • Played every position but the No. 5 spot, with starts at the 1, 2 and 4 positions.
  • Led the Vols in scoring 15 times, blocks 10 times, steals nine times and assists eight times.
  • Scored 20 or more points 10 times, had six games with at least 25 points and posted a pair of +30-point performances.

Mr. Tennessee Big Orange Heart: Herman Lathers (Football)

  • Graduated with a B.S. degree in sport management in August 2012. Is currently working towards an M.S. Degree in sport management.
  • A member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll and a VolScholar during his entire time on the Tennessee team.
  • Volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and made hospital visits to East Tennessee Children's Hospital.
  • Served as a guest speaker at a variety of area schools and churches. Spent countless hours volunteering as part of various youth clinics and sports activities.
  • Lathers comes off a senior season with the Vols where he racked up 66 tackles, third-most on the team.
  • He played in 11 games overall with eight starts at WILL linebacker.
  • Lathers had 5.0 tackles for a loss including two sacks along with two passes defended and an interception.
  • Lathers had a career-high 15 tackles and his first-career interceptions at No. 17 South Carolina on Oct. 27.



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