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3 | TENNESSEE

Nov. 09, 2015
Nov. 09, 2015

Table of Contents
Nov. 9, 2015

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  • FOR THREE DECADES THE ROYALS WANDERED IN THE BASEBALL DESERT, LOSING MORE GAMES THAN ANY OTHER CLUB. THE DROUGHT IS OVER, THE RESULT OF A NEW MODEL FOR HOW THE GAME IS PLAYED, THOUGH ONE THAT IS NOT EASILY REPLICATED

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3 | TENNESSEE

A COUPLE OF HAPPY RETURNS

This is an article from the Nov. 9, 2015 issue

Losing three veterans to graduation was tough for coach Holly Warlick, but it's easier to say goodbye when you can welcome back two of the best players in the country. Diamond DeShields sat out last season after transferring from North Carolina, where she averaged 18.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.7 steals and earned national freshman of the year honors for leading the Tar Heels to the Elite Eight. The daughter of former major leaguer Delino DeShields, she plays with an effortless athleticism that reminds Warlick of former Tennessee great Chamique Holdsclaw. The 6'1" DeShields is especially deft at leading the break and delivering in the open floor.

Mercedes Russell will be more than happy to fill the lane—now that she's running pain-free. The 6'6" sophomore, who missed last season after undergoing surgery on both feet, excels in the paint, where she's equally dangerous with her back to the basket or facing up. Russell is also one of the best passing bigs in the country, lauded for her hoops IQ. The Lady Vols pride themselves on their inside-out offense; opposing coaches will be searching for new defensive schemes to stop them.

TEAM STATS

SCORING OFFENSE 71.3 (47th)

SCORING DEFENSE 56.3 (24th)

SEC RECORD 15--1 (T-1st)

X-FACTOR

Jasmine Jones, who played just seven games last year due to concussionlike symptoms, is Tennessee's best defender and best athlete. The 6'2" junior forward showed signs of becoming a scoring threat, improving to 9.4 ppg (from 4.8).

LINEUP

With 2014--15 stats

Coach Holly Warlick (4th season)

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

PPG RPG APG FG% FT%
G Andraya Carter 5'9" Jr. 7.7 3.1 2.1 38.9 67.9
G Jordan Reynolds 5'11" Jr. 7.3 3.6 2.3 37.5 79.4
G Diamond DeShields* 6'1" Soph. 18.0 5.4 2.5 42.6 77.6
F Bashaara Graves 6'2" Sr. 10.6 7.0 2.0 50.4 74.0
C Mercedes Russell† 6'6" Soph. 6.3 5.0 0.5 59.6 51.4
F Jasmine Jones 6'2" Jr. 9.4 4.6 1.0 43.1 62.5

*2013--14 stats at UNC

†2013--14 stats at Tennessee

TOURNAMENT TRACKER

[The following text appears within a chart. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart.]

TITLE GAME

FINAL FOUR

ELITE EIGHT

SWEET 16

ROUND OF 32

ROUND OF 64

'11--12

'12--13

'13--14

'14--15

'15--16

PHOTOTIM GANGLOFF/CSM/LANDOV (RUSSELL)PHOTODONALD PAGE/TENNESSEE ATHLETICS/COLLEGIATE IMAGES/GETTY IMAGES (JONES)CHART