Oct. 13, 2011
By Kelsie Franklin
It is hard to believe how fast four years can go by and Auburn senior women's basketball players Morgan Jennings and Parrisha Simmons are learning that as the Tigers prepare for the 2011-12 season. The duo recently took some time to reflect on their time on The Plains.
"It was great being a part of the SEC Championship team as a freshman", Jennings said. "There was so much leadership, with DeWanna Bonner, Whitney Boddie, Sherell Hobbs, and Trevesha Jackson. Playing behind Whitney Boddie was the icing on top. She basically taught me how to be a point guard in the SEC."
Simmons, who has stepped up as a starter for Auburn the last two years, agreed that the 2009 group of seniors was integral to their maturation as basketball players.
"The leadership on the team was awesome", Simmons added. "We learned a lot from that team and we've been hungry for another championship win since then."
Winning an SEC Championship their first season is definitely at the top of their accomplishment list since being at Auburn and something they hope to replicate as seniors.
"Winning a SEC championship is definitely at the top", said Simmons. "I would even add making it to my senior year as one of my top accomplishments."
"Hopefully at the end of the year, if you ask us that question again we'll be able to add to that list", said Jennings.
When it comes to goals for the season, finishing the SEC Tournament with a bang and making it well into the NCAA Tournament for a second time would be ideal for them and their teammates.
"We're ready to work hard and playing for Coach Fortner makes that easy", said Simmons. "She has so much energy. It could be five in the morning and she will walk into practice full of energy and a personality like that makes us want to practice and work harder."
With an encouraging coaching staff and teammates, this last season will be bitter-sweet. But, both players are looking forward to an opportunity to play overseas as well as other backup plans to serve their country and go to grad school.
"I would love to play overseas, but if that doesn't work out, I will probably join the Air Force", said Simmons. "My uncle is a supervisor on the military base at home and that's something I always saw myself doing when I was younger."
With five of her former teammates playing overseas at some point in their professional career, Jennings would also like to make that move.
"Playing overseas is obviously my first choice after to graduation, but If I don't get that opportunity I'll probably attend grad school," said Jennings.
Auburn has become a second home for the pair, a home they will reluctantly leave in less than a year.
"I think the reason a lot of people come here is because of the family atmosphere", said Simmons. "I love how I feel at home here and that's why I came here in the first place. I can't wait to get the season started and make it one to remember."