#16 Tennessee Women's Basketball 2021-2022 Preview

Tennessee Lady Volunteers
Overall Rank: #16
Conference Rank: #3 SEC
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Coach Kellie Harper has taken Tennessee back towards the top of the SEC during her two years in charge of the program. In 2020-2021 the Lady Vols finished third in the SEC and earned a three seed in the NCAA Tournament. The tournament trip was cut short by Michigan in the second round, but Coach Harper returns four starters and continues to bring in young talent that will bolster the team’s overall depth. Losing the ninth pick in the WNBA Draft, Rennia Davis, leaves a big hole in the scoring department, but there should be more than enough options to step up in that regard.
2020-21 Record: 17-8, 9-4
2020-21 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Kellie Harper
Coach Record: 38-18 at Tennessee, 323-226 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Rennia Davis, Guard/Forward, 17.3 ppg
Kasiyahna Kushkituah, Center, 6.8 ppg
Destiny Salary, Guard, 2.0 ppg
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Rae Burrell, Senior, Guard/Forward, 16.8 ppg
Tamari Key, Junior, Center, 8.9 ppg
Jordan Horston, Junior, Guard, 8.6 ppg
Keyen Green, Senior, Forward/Center, 6.8 ppg
Jordan Walker, Senior, Guard, 5.4 ppg
Marta Suarez, Sophomore, Guard/Forward, 4.1 ppg
Tess Darby, Sophomore, Guard/Forward, 2.3 ppg
Emily Saunders, Junior, Center, 0.8 ppg
Jessie Rennie, Junior, Guard, 0.7 ppg
Key New Players
Alexus Dye, Senior, Forward, Transfer from Troy
Brooklynn Miles, Freshman, Guard
Sara Puckett, Freshman, Guard/Forward
Karoline Striplin, Freshman, Forward
Kaiya Wynn, Freshman, Guard
Rae Burrell will likely be the team’s main scoring threat. The 6-1 wing tallied 16.8 points per game and knocked down a team high 39 three-pointers at a 40.2 percent clip. The rest of the team was very disappointing from beyond the arc. Jordan Horston, Jordan Walker and Marta Suarez will need to be much more efficient in that regard. Horston did a good job of running the point and averaged 8.6 points and 4.2 assists. Walker is an experienced senior and a solid defender, but did not shoot the ball very well last season. Suarez earned 14 starts as a freshman and got off to a decent start to her collegiate career before an injury slowed her development. The frontcourt will get a big boost from the return of Keyen Green. The 6-1 center was a three-year starter at Liberty, but her debut season with the Lady Vols was cut very short due to a leg injury. She started the first four games of the year and averaged 6.8 points and 3.0 rebounds and began to show that she can be a solid starter in the SEC. Tamari Key is a superb shot blocker and the 6-6 junior will make life very difficult for anybody trying to get into the paint against Tennessee. Key is emerging as a dangerous interior scorer as well and finished her sophomore season averaging 8.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.9 blocks. Troy transfer Alexus Dye tallied 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds with the Trojans last season and will add some quality depth in the paint. The frontcourt will get even more options with Sara Puckett and Karoline Striplin highlighting a very good four-player class. Even if Tennessee cannot find a consistent secondary scorer behind Burrell, they will have enough scoring threats to keep the opposition honest and repeat last year’s success.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 71.9 (62nd in nation, 10th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 62.5 (113, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.0 (45, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 36.3 (28, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 4.5 (279, 11)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 30.6 (185, 12)
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.1 (143, 7)
Rebound Margin: 12.8 (5, 2)
Assists Per Game: 14.6 (71, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 16.6 (221, 13)
Madness 2022 WNBA Draft Rankings:
#10 Rae Burrell
Madness 2021 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#33 Sara Puckett
#38 Karoline Striplin
#82 Kaiya Wynn
#115 Brooklyn Miles