UT’s DeShields To Preseason All-SEC Team

UT's DeShields, Russell make USA Team (Image 1)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The Southeastern Conference released its preseason media poll for women’s basketball on Tuesday, and Tennessee has been picked to finish third in the league in 2016-17.
Defending champ South Carolina claimed the top spot, followed by Mississippi State in second. Kentucky was just behind Tennessee in fourth place, followed by Florida, Texas A&M, Auburn, Missouri, Vanderbilt, Georgia, Arkansas, LSU, Alabama and Ole Miss, as voted by a select panel of both SEC and national media members.
Fifth-year head coach Holly Warlick returns four starters from last year’s squad, which won six of its last eight to wind up 22-14 (8-8 SEC) with an appearance in the NCAA Elite Eight for the third time in the last four seasons. One of those players is 6-1 redshirt junior guard Diamond DeShields (14.3 ppg., 5.2 rpg., 2.3 apg. and 1.6 spg.), who was selected for the media’s five-player preseason All-SEC team for the second year in a row.
UT’s other returning starters are 6-6 redshirt junior center Mercedes Russell (9.9 ppg., 8.3 rpg., 66 blocks, 55% FG), 6-2 junior guard/forward Jaime Nared (8.3 ppg., 4.8 rpg.) and 5-11 senior point guard Jordan Reynolds (4.8 ppg., 4.0 rpg., 89 assts./55 TOs).
Returning players off the bench include 6-2 junior forward Kortney Dunbar (3.5 ppg., 1.4 rpg.), 5-9 junior guard Alexa Middleton (3.0 ppg., 1.2 rpg.) and 5-11 sophomore guard/forwardMeme Jackson (1.0 ppg., 0.6 rpg.).
Tennessee’s top newcomer is Schaquilla Nunn, a 6-foot-3 forward who averaged a double-double of 11.2 points and 10.3 rebounds in her three seasons with Winthrop University before graduating and transferring to Tennessee.
The Lady Vols play their lone exhibition game on Nov. 7, welcoming Carson-Newman at 7 p.m. ET. Tennessee will tip off its 2016-17 campaign on the road on Nov. 11, playing at James Madison at 7 p.m.
Order of Finish
1. South Carolina
2. Mississippi State
3. Tennessee
4. Kentucky
5. Florida
6. Texas A&M
7. Auburn
8. Missouri
9. Vanderbilt
10. Georgia
11. Arkansas
12. LSU
13. Alabama
14. Ole Miss
Preseason Player of the Year
A’ja Wilson, South Carolina
Preseason All-SEC
Makayla Epps, Kentucky
Victoria Vivians, Mississippi State
Alaina Coates, South Carolina
A’ja Wilson, South Carolina
Diamond DeShields, Tennessee


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