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Basketball: Jones snubbed from Sun Belt women 1st team

Basketball: Jones snubbed from Sun Belt women 1st team

Basketball: Jones snubbed from Sun Belt women 1st team

Mitchell named to first team, Southall on second team.

Dan McDonald

The University of Louisiana men’s basketball team put two players among the Top 10 on the Sun Belt Conference’s all-league team. That was expected.
What was unexpected was the all-league women’s team, and the noteworthy absence of UL standout Yolanda Jones among the first-team selections.

Senior Dwayne Mitchell was named to the men’s all-league first team after ranking in the Sun Belt Top 5 in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals. Senior teammate Michael Southall, who returned to the Sun Belt wars after a two-year absence, was selected to the five-man second team.

Jones, the Sun Belt’s leading rebounder and the league’s third-leading scorer, was also relegated to the second team in the women’s selections. The junior was named as the league’s Newcomer of the Year – the only player nominated for that honor – but Ragin’ Cajun coach J. Kelley Hall didn’t appreciate the first-team snub.
"I’m very disappointed that people who are supposed to know what they’re doing voted her second team," Hall said. "That’s pretty immature on some voters’ parts. I think the league should make the votes public … people should be held accountable for how they vote."

Jones averaged 18.0 points per game, 18.5 in league play, and topped the league by a wide margin in rebounding with a 10.9 average. She had the league’s top two individual rebounding games this season including 20 against LSU-Shreveport and 19 against New Orleans.

More importantly, the Lumberton, N.C., product and transfer from national champion Trinity Valley Community College led a team that had only one full-time returning starter to an 18-9 overall record and to a tie for second place in the Sun Belt’s West Division.

Hall was flummoxed that those accomplishments weren’t enough to rate first-team.

"Every time we played, teams in the league would put two and three players on her," he said. "Maybe some of these people should look at themselves in the mirror and ask themselves why they did that if she wasn’t a first-team player."

Mitchell was a preseason first-team selection and lived up to that billing in becoming the only Sun Belt player to rank in the top five in all four major categories (17.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 2.2 steals). He also ranked in the top 10 in shooting and led the league in minutes played.

"Without a doubt he deserves that," said Cajun men’s coach Robert Lee. "He’s done everything you could possibly ask for from a player, and I’m glad that people realize what he brings to our basketball team."

Southall, who missed 2003-04 on academic suspension and 2004-05 with legal problems, returned after not playing college basketball for 32 months and promptly lead the league in blocked shots by a wide margin (3.42 per game). He also ranked seventh in scoring (15.4), fifth in rebounding (7.8) and fourth in field goal percentage (.618). His scoring and rebounding were also each higher in league games only (15.8 and 8.2).

"With what he went through in coming back, making second team is an accomplishment," Lee said. "I know he’s a first-team guy, but just making the team speaks to what he’s done this year."

All-Sun Belt teams

All-Sun Belt Men’s Team

First Team Pos. Cl. School

Bobby Dixon G Sr. Troy

Courtney Lee G/F So. WKU

Dwayne Mitchell G Sr. Louisiana

Yemi Nicholson C Sr. Denver

Anthony Winchester G Sr. WKU

Second Team

Ivan Almonte F Sr. FIU

Kendrick Davis G Jr. North Texas

Mario Jointer G Sr. South Alabama

Michael Southall C Sr. Louisiana

Dereke Tipler G Sr. Arkansas State

Third Team

Rashad Jones-Jennings F Jr. UALR

Richard Law F Sr. South Alabama

Jaime McNeilly G Jr. New Orleans

Zack Wright G Jr. UALR

Adam Vogelsberg G Jr. Middle Tenn.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Anthony Winchester, Western Kentucky

DEF. PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Yemi Nicholson, Denver

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR: Kendrick Davis, North Texas


COACH OF THE YEAR: John Pelphrey, South Alabama

College Women

All-Sun Belt Women’s Team

First Team Pos. Cl. School

Adrianne Davie F Jr. Arkansas State

Chrissy Givens G Jr. Middle Tenn.

Lasma Jekabsone C Jr. FIU

Crystal Kelly F So. WKU

Tiffany Porter-Talbert G Sr. WKU

Second Team

Erika Bobo G Sr. North Texas

Yolanda Jones F Jr. Louisiana

Jocelyn Love F/G Jr. UALR

Rudy Sims G Jr. Arkansas State

JoAnna Williams G Sr. South Alabama

Third Team

Venice Adams F Sr. Denver

Mia Ajekwu C Jr. North Texas

Krystle Horton F Jr. Middle Tenn.

Tia Stovall F Sr. Middle Tenn.

Whitney Woodard F Jr. South Alabama

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Chrissy Givens, Middle Tennessee

DEF. PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Chrissy Givens, Middle Tennessee

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR: Yolanda Jones, Louisiana

FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: Renee Renz, Arkansas-Little Rock

COACH OF THE YEAR: Mary Taylor-Cowles, Western Kentucky

Originally published March 2, 2006