May 15, 2014
NEW YORK - With the WNBA's 18th season set to open on Friday, the league's general managers took part in the 12th annual WNBA.com GM Survey. Three former Lady Vols were among their favorites.
Parker, who is in her seventh season in the league, was selected to repeat as the WNBA's MVP this season. She received 50 percent of the vote to get the nod over runner-up Maya Moore of Minnesota (33 percent). Parker earned her second regular-season MVP honor a year ago and also captured MVP honors in the WNBA All-Star Game.
Catchings earned the top spot in the voting as the toughest player in the WNBA (64 percent), the top power forward and the player who is best at making her teammates better (50 percent each), as well as for the player likely to be named Defensive Player of the Year presented by Samsung (42 percent). The 2011 regular season and 2012 Finals MVP also was selected as the best leader (58 percent), grabbing the mantle from Seattle's Sue Bird, who earned the honor the last five years.
Lawson, meanwhile, joined Bird and San Antonio's Becky Hammon as active players who would make the best head coach someday. They each received 25 percent of the vote.
As of Thursday, eight Lady Vols were still on rosters in advance of opening day. That list includes Parker, Catchings and Lawson, as well as Kelley Cain in Connecticut, Kamiko Williams (injured/out for the season) with New York, Shekinna Stricklen in Seattle and both Vicki Baugh and Glory Johnson in Tulsa. Parker, Catchings and Johnson were WNBA All-Stars in 2013.
Four other players who previously were in camps have been let go by their respective teams. New York released Nicky Anosike and 2014 third-round pick Meighan Simmons, Phoenix parted ways with Alexis Hornbuckle and Michelle Snow departed Washington.