Dishin’ on the Southeastern Conference tournament
Site: Gwinnett Center
Top Seeds: (1) Tennessee, (2) Kentucky, (3) Georgia, (4) Texas A&M
If there is one conference tournament that can be considered wide open, it Is the Southeastern. The SEC has six teams that have been ranked inside the top twenty for parts of the year, and each has played the other extremely competitive. It will not be a surprise to see upsets.
However it also would not surprise anyone to see a return matchup of Tennessee and Kentucky either. Those two teams have the most talented rosters of the other conference contenders, and when they are playing at peak efficiency they are difficult to defeat. They feature the co-players of the year in the conference in Lady Vol Meighan Simmons and Wildcat A’dia Mathies, two emotional guards that are keys to their teams’ success.
Tennessee is a young team that has surprised many who did not anticipate this type of success in Holly Warlick’s first official season as head coach. Freshman Bashaara Graves has been tremendous, and the surrounding talent has bonded into as solid a unit as there is in the country.
Kentucky wins with their defensive intensity, a deep bench, and different players stepping up at different times. DeNesha Stallworth, the Cal transfer, is an all-conference player that has given the Cats that inside presence missing since Victoria Dunlap graduated a few years back.
Andy Landers always seems to have Georgia competitive, and this year is no different. Jasmine Hassell and Jasmine James are talented players that can take over a game at any time, and can take their team deep into the tournament.
South Carolina keeps every game close with their defense, led by conference defensive player of the year Ieasia Walker, and because of that can always be looked at as a threat. Texas A&M in their first year in conference is another team known for defense, and Gary Blair’s teams are always tournament tough. People forget it was only two years ago they were national champions. Kelsey Bone sat out that year as a transfer from South Carolina, but this could be her time to shine; she had a great regular season.
LSU has been hot down the stretch, and may be the team no one wants to face right now, as they continue to play great basketball.
Other players to watch for include Theresa Plaisance and Adrienne Webb of LSU, Tiffany Clarke of Vanderbilt, Samarie Walker of Kentucky, Jennifer George of Florida and Hasina Muhammed of Auburn.