The Lady Vols have been picked by the coaches to finish sixth in the SEC this season, the conference announced Tuesday morning. Lady Vols senior forward Rennia Davis was named to the Coaches All-SEC Preseason First Team.
Tennessee was also picked to finish sixth last season, the first of the Kellie Harper era, and the Lady Vols went on to finish third in the SEC. It was the highest finish for the program since taking first in 2014-15.
South Carolina, who is currently ranked No. 1 in the AP Preseason Poll, is predicted to finish first. Kentucky, Texas A&M, Arkansas, and Mississippi State are the other teams picked ahead of Tennessee.
The Lady Vols were picked ahead of LSU, Alabama, Georgia, Missouri, Ole Miss, Florida, Vanderbilt and Auburn.
Davis averaged 18.0 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game while shooting 46.9 percent from the field and 80.2 percent from the free throw line. She was first on the team in scoring, rebounding, free throws made (89) and three-pointers made (34), second in steals (28) and third in assists (74). Her scoring average was the best by a Lady Vol since Candace Parker averaged 21.3 in 2008.
Davis was a First-team All-SEC performer. She ranked second in the league in points (541) and field goals made (209), third in field goal attempts (446) and points per game (18.0), fourth in free throw percentage (80.2) and fifth in rebounds (245) and rebounds per game (8.2). She was eighth in field goal percentage (46.9).
The Lady Vols return five of their top six scorers and rebounders from last season, including the top four in each category. 80.8 percent of the scoring, 76.4 percent of rebounds, 78.6 percent of blocks, 71.0 percent of steals and 64.8 percent of assists return from a year ago. They also return 80.6 percent of their field goals, including 73.3 percent of their three-pointers, and 84.8 percent of free throws from last season.
Two players transferred from the program, but Harper added two graduate transfer in Liberty’s Keyen Green and Western Michigan’s Jordan Walker. Both were all-conference players at their respective schools.
Green and Walker are joined by a trio of freshmen. Guard Destiny Salary, guard/forward Tess Darby, and guard/forward Marta Suárez were all considered four-star prospects.
Tennessee begins the 2020-21 season in less than two weeks on Nov. 27 against Florida A&M. The Lady Vols will play the following day as well when they take on Western Kentucky. Both games will be played in Knoxville.