#12 Tennessee Women's Basketball 2017-2018 Preview

Tennessee Lady Vols
Overall Rank: #12
Conference Rank: #3 SEC
 Tennessee Logo
Tennessee put together another 20-win performance last season but struggled on the road as the Lady Vols went 6-8 in true road games last season. That cost them when it came to seeding for the NCAA Tournament. There were also some signature wins over Stanford, South Carolina, Mississippi State, and Notre Dame. However, there were losses to teams like Georgia, which were head scratchers that are testing the patience of one of the most passionate fan bases in all of women’s college basketball.
2016-17 Record: 20-12, 10-6
2016-17 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Holly Warlick
Coach Record: 128-46 at Tennessee, 128-46 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Diamond DeShields, Guard, 17.4 points per game
Alexa Middleton, Guard, 7.9 points per game
Jordan Reynolds, Guard, 7.0 points per game
Schaquilla Nunn, Forward, 4.8 points per game
Te’a Cooper, Guard, 8.6 points per game
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Mercedes Russell, Redshirt Senior, Center, 16.1 points per game
Jamie Nared, Senior, Guard/Forward, 15.6 points per game
Meme Jackson, Junior, Guard/Forward, 4.7 points per game
Kourtney Dunbar, Senior, Forward, 2.0 points per game
Kamera Harris, Sophomore, 1.1 points per game
Key New Players
Evina Westbrook, Freshman, Guard
Rennia Davis, Freshman, Guard/Forward
Cheridene Green, Junior, Forward
Anastasia Hayes, Freshman, Guard
Kasiyahna Kushkituah, Freshman, Center
Mercedes Russell is one of the top post players in all of women’s college basketball and will need to find a way to get her scoring up towards 20 points per game. Defensively, Russell is an excellent rebounder and shot blocker that is going to be a matchup nightmare. Jamie Nared will compliment Russell offensively as Nared scored 15.6 points per game last season. The nation’s top recruiting class will be expected to quickly contribute to replace the lost production of Diamond DeShields, Alexa Middleton, and Jordan Reynolds. Evina Westbrook and Anastasia Hayes should fill the other two starting guard positions as both players are explosive scorers. Rennia Davis will provide some much-needed versatility for Coach Holly Warlick at both ends of the court, especially during conference play. If Cheridene Green can stay healthy all season long she should be able to help take some pressure off Russell to carry everything down in the post. It will take some time for the Lady Vols to come together at both ends of the court, but they should win more than 20 games and get to the Sweet 16 or Elite Eight this season.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.3 (39th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 65.9 (219, 12)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.0 (60, 6)
Field-Goal Defense: 38.7 (113, 8)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 4.8 (251, 10)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.9 (78, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 74.5 (45, 4)
Rebound Margin: 3.0 (95, 7)
Assists Per Game: 14.6 (90, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.4 (38, 4)
Madness 2018 WNBA Draft Rankings:
#5 Mercedes Russell
#12 Jamie Nared
Madness 2017 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#2 Evina Westbrook
#6 Anastasia Hayes
#9 Rennia Davis
#30 Kasiyahna Kushkituah