DeShields still uncertain for No. 4 Lady Vols' season opener
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Tennessee guard Diamond DeShields' status for the start of the season is uncertain as the North Carolina transfer prepares to make her Lady Volunteers debut.
Lady Vols coach Holly Warlick said Thursday that DeShields is ''day to day'' as No. 4 Tennessee awaits its season opener Sunday with Central Arkansas. The former Atlantic Coast Conference rookie of the year was one of four Lady Vols who didn't play Monday in a 101-59 exhibition victory over Carson-Newman.
DeShields has said she was recovering from a nagging leg injury while sitting out the 2014-15 season due to NCAA transfer rules. Although she made the U.S. team's roster for the World University Games, DeShields played in only one of the U.S. squad's six games this summer. DeShields also didn't play in Tennessee's August exhibition tour of Italy, with Warlick citing shin splints as the reason.
Last month, DeShields said she would be ''good to go'' by the start of the regular season. Warlick said Thursday that DeShields hasn't suffered a setback, but the team is remaining cautious with the 6-foot-1 sophomore. DeShields participated in the portion of Thursday's practice that was open to the media.
''She knows her body, so we go off of what she's telling us,'' Warlick said. ''It's just kind of a day-to-day thing.''
Warlick said she doesn't anticipate DeShields being out an extended period of time.
DeShields averaged 18 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.7 steals per game and led North Carolina to a regional final in 2013-14 during her lone season with the Tar Heels. She is the younger sister of Texas Rangers outfielder Delino DeShields.
Freshman guard Te'a Cooper, senior center Nia Moore and sophomore guard/forward Jaime Nared also didn't play for Tennessee against Carson-Newman.
Nared broke her left hand in practice last month and will definitely miss the start of the season. Warlick used ''day to day'' to describe the status of Moore (ribs) and Cooper (knee), leaving their availability uncertain for Sunday's opener. Cooper was practicing and Moore was on a stationary bike during the open portions of Thursday's workout.
The Lady Vols will open the season with a healthy Mercedes Russell, who says she is back to full strength after redshirting last season to recover from surgeries on each of her feet. Russell, a 6-6 center, had 23 points and 10 rebounds against Carson-Newman.