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UF Women’s Basketball: Briggs and Merritt Collect SEC Postseason Honors

Jordyn Merritt (left) was named to the All-Freshmen team while Lavender Briggs was named Second Team All-SEC.
Photo By: Matt Pendleton

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

BY SAM STOLTE

Women’s basketball guard Lavender Briggs is tabbed Second Team All-SEC, while teammate Jordyn Merritt takes home All-Freshman honors

University of Florida women’s basketball players Lavender Briggs and Jordyn Merritt both brought home SEC Postseason Honors, with the sophomore standout Briggs earning a spot on the All-SEC Second Team and Merritt securing a place on the All-Freshman squad, the league office announced Tuesday.

Before it was announced that Briggs would miss the remainder of the season due to a foot injury on Feb. 15, the Utah native put together one of the best seasons in program history, and she will finish with the fourth-highest points-per-game average ever by a Gator (19.4). In conference play, Briggs increased her scoring average to 21.8 points per game, which trailed only Arkansas senior Chelsea Dungee in the talent-rich SEC. Briggs’ scoring average in SEC play is the highest by a Florida player since the 1982-83 season, when former All-American and 1992 Olympian Tammy Jackson averaged 22.0.

Briggs becomes the first Florida player since Ronni Williams in 2016 to collect All-SEC team honors, and with Merritt’s designation, the Gators have garnered an All-Freshman team honoree in consecutive seasons for the first time since the 2015-16 and 2016-17 campaigns.

Merritt, who joined Briggs as just the second player in program history to earn a spot in the Jordan Brand Classic just a year ago, put together a strong debut campaign with the Orange and Blue, averaging 5.5 points and 3.7 rebounds. Taking on an elevated role in Florida’s most recent matchups, Merritt has played 30 or more minutes in four of the Gators’ last five contests, and just this past Sunday the Texas native set a new career high with 16 points. Merritt was tabbed the SEC Freshman of the Week on Tuesday, Feb. 23 after recording 12 points and a career-high nine boards at Missouri.

For the 6-foot-1 guard Briggs, it is her second SEC postseason honor; she was also named to the SEC All-Freshman Team a year ago after leading the team in scoring at 15.0 points per game.

Briggs showed night in, night out, that she was one of the league’s most gifted scorers, tallying 20 or more points in nine games, including five in SEC action. Leading UF in scoring 13 times, Briggs’ prolific scoring ability was on full display just over a month ago at nationally-ranked Arkansas when she poured in a career-best 41 points — the fourth-most ever by a Florida player and the most by a sophomore in program history. Her contributions didn’t stop with just scoring, though, as she ranked third on the team in rebounding (6.5) and second in assists.

Merritt, a starter in UF’s last five games, has really come on strong to finish the season with three double-figure scoring games on the season, and two of those have come in the last three contests. Merritt is one of six underclassmen on UF’s roster, a group that accounts for 60 percent of the team’s scoring. The 6-foot-3 forward ranks top 10 among SEC freshmen in scoring, minutes played, and rebounding.

The Gators kick off postseason play tomorrow when they take on Auburn in the opening round of the SEC Tournament in Greenville, SC.

The complete 2021 SEC Women’s Basketball Postseason Awards follow.

First Team All-SEC

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Jasmine Walker, Alabama            

Chelsea Dungee, Arkansas           

Rhyne Howard, Kentucky           

Khayla Pointer, LSU      

Shakira Austin, Ole Miss             

Aliyah Boston, South Carolina  

Zia Cooke, South Carolina  

Rennia Davis, Tennessee         

N’dea Jones, Texas A&M       

Second Team All-SEC

Jordan Lewis, Alabama            

Unique Thompson, Auburn

Destiny Slocum, Arkansas           

Lavender Briggs, Florida 

Jenna Staiti, Georgia

Aijha Blackwell, Missouri            

Rae Burrell, Tennessee         

Aaliyah Wilson, Texas A&M      

All-Freshman

Romi Levy, Auburn

Jordyn Merritt, Florida 

Sarah Ashlee Barker, Georgia

Snudda Collins, Ole Miss            

Madison Scott, Ole Miss            

Madison Hayes, Mississippi State

Mama Dembele, Missouri

Marta Suárez, Tennessee         

All-Defensive

Que Morrison, Georgia

Khayla Pointer, LSU      

Chasity Patterson, Kentucky           

Aliyah Boston, South Carolina  

Tamari Key, Tennessee         
 

Player of the Year – Rhyne Howard, Kentucky

Freshman of the Year – Madison Scott, Ole Miss

Co-Defensive Players of the Year – Que Morrison, Georgia & Aliyah Boston, South Carolina

6th Woman of the Year – Destiny Pitts, Texas A&M

Scholar-Athlete of the Year – Ciera Johnson, Texas A&M

Coach of the Year – Joni Taylor, Georgia

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