Sidney Spencer earns CARE award

Sidney Spencer has been named the CAREacter Star Athlete of the Week. The senior hoopster has long demonstrated solid character on and off the court through her numerous volunteer efforts while leading her Lady Vol squad to a 9-1 record on the season.

During her final campaign as a member of Pat Summitt's Tennessee team, Sidney Spencer is currently shooting 63.4 (26-of-41) percent from three-point range, a clip which leads the nation and would shatter the NCAA record. Her accuracy has propelled the Lady Vols to the top of the three-point ranks as a team this season.

Spencer is one of only five Lady Vols in the history of the program to amass 80+ three-point field goals, 700+ points, 350+ rebounds and 100+ assists in her career. She is three treys away from surpassing the 100 career three-pointer mark.

The Hoover, Ala., native is a student-athlete advisory committee representative, and spends her spare time volunteering at places such as the O'Connor Senior Center.

The CAREacter Program is based on a five-point star system that includes the basic traits of a true champion, whether on or off the field. Those traits are attitude, character, grades, community service and performance.

Every week coaches from different schools and specific sports will select one student-athlete as their school's "Star Athlete of the Week" based on these five criteria. As a reward for their accomplishments, these students will be recognized each week by their local media and presented with a T-shirt and a letter acknowledging them as the "Star Athlete of the Week."

During Summitt's teleconference with the media Tuesday she was asked about Spencer and her development from freshman year to now.

"When Sidney came here, she had a different physique; she was thin and unimposing physically," Summitt said. "Mentally she was proud to be here, but she didn't have the confidence and the mindset of coming in and being a scorer for our team. She had to grow into that role.

"That is what has been great to watch. You watch players come in and you never know which of them will buy into the system and work in the off-season. She has a great work ethic, which I knew when I recruited her and got to know her family. It was clear to me that she loved the game and wanted to be a big-time player, but I'm not sure she thought she could be initially.

"The one thing I've had to do in the past is to threaten to take her out and give her a minimum number of shots to take, but not this year and it's been tremendous. She's aggressive and if you look at her offensive game she's attacking and she's got her step-back move, she's taking the ball to the hole and she's been terrific this year from three-point range. She's playing with tremendous confidence, but also with the understanding that she has to be a go-to player for this team."

Tennessee plays West Virginia on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Thompson-Boling Arena.

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