#4 Tennessee Women's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

Tennessee Volunteers

Overall Rank: #4
Conference Rank: #1 SEC
#4 Tennessee Women's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview
Tennessee Team Page


Taking over for a legend is no easy feat but the job coach Holly Warrick did last year was quite impressive. She led a team with only three upperclassmen to a 27-8 record, SEC regular season title and Elite Eight berth. The Vols return three starters from last year's squad, as well as four other letter winners. The team loses only three letter winners from last year's squad.

2012-13 Record: 27-8, 14-2
2012-13 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Holly Warrick
Coach Record: 27-8 at Tennessee, 27-8 overall

Tennessee returns three starters, including the squad's top two scorers, Meighan Simmons and Bashaara Graves. Simmons led the team with 16.8 points per game. Graves was second on the team with 13.2 points per game and eight rebounds a contest. Both players also led the team in minutes played, with over 1,000 minutes, so both players will be looked upon heavily again. Point guard Ariel Massengale is the team's third returning starter. The junior scored nearly eight points per game and dished out 4.5 assists a contest. The other four letter winners returning, led by Isabelle Harrison, are all 6-2 and taller. Harrison scored 9.5 points per game, pulled down 7.5 rebounds per game and blocked over two shots a contest. Cierra Burdick scored over eight points per game, while grabbing 6.6 rebounds per game.   

While the Vols do bring back a lot of size, the guard position is not a group that is very deep. The two starters lost, Taber Spani and Kamiko Williams, were both guards.  Spani scored over 11 points per game and pulled down 4.5 rebounds. Williams, on the other hand, was second on the team with 2.5 assists per game and led the team with 1.6 steals per game. Williams also averaged over seven points per game. Tennessee does get Andraya Carter, who started five games last year, back from a season-ending injury last year. The 5-9 guard averaged over five points per game.

Final Projection:
Not many teams will have the size and frontcourt depth that the Volunteers have. As per usual, Tennessee beefed up its schedule to prepare it for the tough SEC slate.  Big nonconference games include North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Chattanooga, Texas, Stanford and Notre Dame. The game at UNC will be a part of ESPN's Tip-Off Marathon. The game against Notre Dame will be one of two the Volunteers play on Big Monday, the other being a matchup with Vanderbilt. Tennessee brings in two top recruits, both of whom were McDonald's All-Americans, this season to bolster its lineup. Jordan Reynolds, a 5-11 guard, comes to Knoxville after averaging 18.5 points per game and was ranked as the #42 player by HoopGurlz and #24 by College Sports Madness. The other incoming freshman, Mercedes Russell, was not only the top center, but the consensus top player in the class overall. The 6-6 Russell averaged over 25 points per game and 12.3 rebounds a contest.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Ariel Massengale, Junior, Guard, 7.9 ppg, 4.5 apg
Meighan Simmons, Senior, Guard, 16.8 points per game
Bashaara Graves, Sophomore, Forward, 13.2 points per game, 8.0 rebounds per game
Cierra Burdick, Junior, Forward,  8.4 points per game, 6.6 rebounds per game
Isabelle Harrison, Junior, Forward, 9.5 points per game, 7.5 rebounds per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 77.6 (4th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 63.9 (228, 11)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.9 (10, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 37.6 (111, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.8 (148, 4)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.5 (18, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 75.9 (21, 1)
Rebound Margin: 5.9 (36, 2)
Assists Per Game: 14.6 (60, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 15.9 (98, 7)

Madness 2014 WNBA Draft Rankings:
#14 Meighan Simmons

Madness 2013 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#1 Mercedes Russell
#9 Jannah Tucker
#24 Jordan Reynolds


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