The only center who played significant minutes last season, 6'3" Isabelle Harrison, will again be the center of the Lady Vols' offense. She's ready to build on her outstanding junior year, when she broke Chamique Holdsclaw's school record for double doubles (18) and hit an SEC-best 57.7% of her shots. "We're going to play a lot of different combinations," says coach Holly Warlick. "Izzy has to be consistent, because she's our glue."
Senior Ariel Massengale, who was leading the team in scoring and assists when she went out with a head injury last January, will direct the attack; a year on the bench has helped her better understand the flow of offense. Even after 6'6" Mercedes Russell, the No. 1 recruit from the class of 2013 and the team's tallest player, announced she would redshirt this season because of chronic foot injuries, Tennessee has loads of experience (five players with at least 19 starts last season) and height (eight players 6'2" or taller). With all of that length, Warlick envisions lots of sets with four perimeter players: "We're big and we can handle the ball, so we're going to [play] a little differently."
The Lady Vols haven't been to the Final Four since 2008—the longest stretch in program history. Their tallest roster ever will lift them out of that drought.
With 2013--14 Stats
|PG||Ariel Massengale* 5'7" Sr.||12.5||3.2||5.8|
|SG||Andraya Carter* 5'9" Soph.||6.9||2.7||2.3|
|F||Bashaara Graves* 6'2" Jr.||9.3||6.8||1.2|
|F||Cierra Burdick* 6'2" Sr.||8.7||7.3||2.0|
|C||Isabelle Harrison* 6'3" Sr.||13.6||9.3||1.0|
|F||Jasmine Jones 6'2" Jr.||4.8||3.5||0.9|
TELLING NUMBER 70.7
Percentage of scoring that returns to Tennessee for 2014--15. The Lady Vols' 75.5 points in SEC games led the conference last season. They also bring back 83.2% of their rebounds, 81.7% of their assists and 79.5% of their steals.