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ConwayGamecock 08-22-2014 04:50 AM

WBB- Lady Vols Mercedes Russell To Redshirt
Mercedes Russell was the overall #1 prospect in the 2013 class, per ESPN's Hoopgurlz rankings. She was essentially Tennessee's A'ja Wilson, basically: a 6-5 Post player. Last season, Russell was slow to establish herself for the Vols, averaging 6.3 ppg and 5.0 rebounds in 35 games, including 5 starts. She did lead the Lady Vols in blocked shots, with 40. But Russell did not have what would be called an exemplary season (compare with our own Alaina Coates - a 4* not rated as highly by Hoopgurlz as Russell was - who averaged 12.3 ppg, 8.4 rpg, and blocked 73 shots in 34 games)...

Last season, USC struggled mightily with the veteran post play of the Lady Vols' Isabelle Harrison, who romped for 20 points and 15 boards in their season-ending 73-61 win over the Gamecocks. Russell only had 2 pts and 4 rebounds in 15 minutes of play. Still, such talent as hers couldn't be expected to be dormant for very long, and the thought of having her adding to Harrison's efforts next season should've been a big concern.

As it is, UT now has a very substantial issue with depth in the post. Minus Russell, UT now has a bunch of 6-2 and 6-3 wings and forwards on their roster. Tennessee undoubtedly poses the biggest obstacle in USC repeating as SEC Champs next season, and now the Gamecocks have a decided advantage in size and height versus the Lady Vols, something UT always enjoyed against us over the years. It'll essentially be Harrison alone against a more experienced Ibiam and Coates, plus the talented contributions of White and Wilson.

UT dominated the paint and the boards in our game last season: hopefully we can turn the tide this season in Colonial Life Arena....

cockattorney2 08-22-2014 03:44 PM

Re: WBB- Lady Vols Mercedes Russell To Redshirt
is UT possibly sacrificing 2014-15 to gear up for a BIG run in 15-16? Deshields will be eligible and Cooper. Add in Russell with a year's practice.... and they're looking at 3 good years of those 3 anchoring the team.

Cockhornleghorn 08-22-2014 09:14 PM

Re: WBB- Lady Vols Mercedes Russell To Redshirt
We also play UT in Columbia this year. I think we could get 18,000 in the CLAW for that game.

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