Melijah Sullivan and Tom Jessee Take Top SSC Honors

Melijah Sullivan and Tom Jessee Net SSC Honors
Melijah Sullivan and Tom Jessee Net SSC Honors

MELBOURNE, Fla. – The University of Tampa, Sunshine State Conference postseason champion, boasts four All-SSC awards, including Player of the Year and Coach of the Year. In all, 13 women's basketball student-athletes earn All-SSC recognition following the 2020-21 season.
 
Melijah Sullivan of Tampa is awarded SSC Player of the Year honors. The junior from Bartow, Florida, led the Spartans to the 2020-21 SSC postseason title and was named tournament MVP in the process. Sullivan, a 5-11 guard, played in all seven of Tampa's games this season, where she averaged 15.9 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.4 steals in 32.1 minutes per game. She becomes the fifth Spartan to be named Player of the Year, second consecutive.
 
All-SSC History: SSC Players and Coaches of the Year | All-SSC Teams
 
Tampa's Tom Jessee repeats as Coach of the Year after being selected by his peers for the fifth time. Jessee guided the Spartans to the program's sixth tournament title and first since 2015-16. Under Jessee, Tampa led the league in scoring margin (13.1), points allowed per game (60.9), and field goal percentage (.508) during its 7-0 record this season.
 
Shekinah Guthrie earns Defensive Player of the Year accolades, marking the first time a Palm Beach Atlantic University student-athlete has won an SSC individual award in the sport of basketball. The 5-10 junior forward from Atlanta averaged 8.7 rebounds, 2.1 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 28.3 minutes per game across nine contests.
 
Tori Lesko from Saint Leo takes Newcomer of the Year honors after averaging 14.0 points and 9.2 rebounds, 1.7 steals, and 32.7 minutes per game. The 5-11 graduate student forward from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, started all six games for the Lions this season. Lesko is the third athlete from Saint Leo to win the award, first since 2015-163.
 
Florida Tech's Zoe Murphy becomes the first Panther Freshman of the Year honoree in women's basketball since the turn of the century, fifth overall4. The 5-7 guard from Morgantown, West Virginia, averaged 26.4 minutes across Florida Tech's nine games and earned six starts. Murphy averaged 10.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.1 steals per game in 2020-21.
 
Joining Sullivan and Lesko on the First Team is Julia Jenike from Florida Southern College, LaShayla Wright-Ponder from Tampa, and Harriett Swindells from Barry University. Jenike and Wright-Ponder repeat as First Team All-SSC honorees from 2019-20. Sullivan earned First Team honors in 2020-21 after Second Team accolades last season.
 
All-conference selections and individual award winners are determined by vote of Sunshine State Conference head coaches with oversight and approval from member institution Athletic Directors.
 
Player of the Year: Melijah Sullivan, Tampa
Defensive Player of the Year: Shekinah Guthrie, Palm Beach Atlantic
Newcomer of the Year: Tori Lesko, Saint Leo
Freshman of the Year: Zoe Murphy, Florida Tech
Coach of the Year: Tom Jessee, Tampa
 
2020-21 ALL-SSC Women's Basketball Honors
 

ALL-SSC First Team
Pos. Name School Yr. Hometown
G Melijah Sullivan* Tampa Jr. Bartow, Fla.
G Julia Jenike^ Florida Southern Gr. Cincinnati, Ohio
C LaShayla Wright-Ponder^~‡? Tampa Sr. Bloomington, Minn.
F Tori Lesko Saint Leo Gr. Harrisburg, Pa.
G Harriett Swindells Barry Sr. Blackburn, England
         
ALL-SSC Second Team
Pos. Name School Yr. Hometown
G/F Alex Button Saint Leo Jr. Cohocton, N.Y.
G Chiara Fusari Barry Jr. Pavia, Italy
G MacKenize Steele Florida Southern Jr. Plant City, Fla.
G Fanny Paulin Florida Tech Sr. Taby, Sweden
G Maria Benitez-Zayas Palm Beach Atlantic Jr. San Juan, Puerto Rico
         
ALL-SSC Newcomer Team
Pos. Name School Yr. Hometown
F Tori Lesko Saint Leo Gr. Harrisburg, Pa.
G Zoe Murphy Florida Tech Fr. Morgantown, W.Va.
G Maria Benitez-Zayas Palm Beach Atlantic Jr. San Juan, Puerto Rico
G Kiki McIntyre Saint Leo Fr. Dorchester, Mass.
F Shekinah Guthrie Palm Beach Atlantic Jr. Atlanta, Ga.

 
^ = 2019-20 All-SSC First Team           * = 2019-20 All-SSC Second Team
~ = 2019-20 All-SSC Newcomer Team               ‡? = 2019-20 Newcomer Player of the Year
 
Dori Nagy (2019-20), Jessie McDowell (2002-03), April Lindsey (1995-96), Crystal Ashley (1993-94)
2 Jessee was also named Coach of the Year in 2002-03, 2009-10, 2013-14, 2019-20
3  Teresa Manigrasso (2012-13), Chelsy Springs (2015-16)
4 Christine Ferron (1988-89), Sanja Radenkovic (1994-95), Felicia Bell (1998-99), Delicia Phillips (1999-00)