ATLANTA — Tennessee’s Mercedes Russell and Diamond DeShields are among 50 student-athletes named to the 2017 Naismith Trophy Women’s College Player of the Year Preseason Watch List, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced on Wednesday.
Russell, a 6-foot-6 center, is leading the #22/25 Lady Vols in scoring (17.2 ppg.), rebounding (9.8 rpg.) and field goal percentage (.492) through five games. The redshirt junior from Springfield, Ore., has recorded four double-doubles in five games and scored 15 or more points in every contest. She has six blocked shots thus far and moved into UT’s career top 10 with the 112th rejection during her tenure in Knoxville.
DeShields, a 6-1 guard, ranks second on the team in scoring (15.0 ppg.), assists (4.6 apg.) and blocked shots (1.4 bpg.), is second in steals (1.2) and is fourth in rebounding (6.6). She is shooting .448 from the field thus far, including .375 from the three-point arc, and is hitting .750 from the free throw line. The Norcross, Ga., native has one double-double and just missed another in her most recent game.
This marks the third straight season DeShields has been included on a Naismith Watch List. Russell, who is having a break-out campaign, received her first-ever placement on any watch list.