The wait was a long one.

As one of the few players in the green room of the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., former Tennessee Lady Volunteer Meighan Simmons was projected as a late first-round pick.

But the first round came and went without Simmons' name being called. Then so did the second.

Then it happened.

With the second pick in the third round of the 2014 WNBA Draft, the 5-foot-9 guard's dream of being a WNBA player became reality when the New York Liberty selected Simmons 26th overall.

"All I could think while waiting for my name to be called was be patient, and God's got me," Simmons said in a university release. "I've been put in a position to succeed, and now I just have to work 10 times harder to show that I'm just as good as anyone else."

In her final season as a Lady Vol, Simmons averaged 16.5 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.2 steals per contest on her way to being named SEC player of the year by the Associated Press – a year after being named co-SEC player of the year by the coaches in 2012-13.

As Tennessee's lone senior, she also led the Lady Vols to an SEC Tournament title and a Sweet 16 appearance.

Simmons finished her career fifth on Tennessee's career-scoring list, pouring in 2,064 points in her four years at Knoxville.

The Cibolo, Texas, native becomes the 38th Lady Vol to be selected in the WNBA Draft – the second under head coach Holly Warlick – and the fifth UT player to be drafted by the Liberty, the last being Simmons' former teammate, Kamiko Williams, who was selected 15th overall last year.

Former Lady Vol Nicky Anosike, who played from 2004-08 and was part of the team that won back-to-back national championships in 2007 and 2008, is also a current member of the Liberty.

"Just bringing a lot of energy, bringing the extra scoring ability with Cappie Pondexter, along with my former teammate Kamiko Williams," said Simmons of what she can bring to the Liberty. " I'm just really excited. I'm excited to see what God has planned and ready to see my purpose unfold."

But even though her plummet in the draft boards came as a surprise, Simmons still has an opportunity to contribute to a Liberty squad that went 11-23 last season, which tied for second-worst record in the WNBA.

"I am so proud of Meighan," Warlick said. "She was on the board longer than everyone expected, but she has an opportunity to show Coach Laimbeer what she can do and try to help that team win some ballgames. She has some gifts that can make her a very valuable player in the WNBA.

"Obviously, she has the speed you don't find every day, and her intensity and scoring ability also will provide immediate benefits in New York. I'm anxious to see her go to work and show everyone what she's made of."