Tennessee women’s basketball star Rickea Jackson is returning to Knoxville for one final season, the forward announced on Twitter Monday morning.
“I have been so happy during my time on Rocky Top,” Jackson said in a statement. “I am grateful for my teammates and coaches and the endless bonds that I’ve created while being here. I appreciate all the support from our amazing fans for making the transition to the University of Tennessee so worth it. But we are not done yet. I’m coming back for another year!”
Jackson transferred to Tennessee from Mississippi State ahead of this season and instantly became one of the Lady Vols’ top players. The Detroit, Michigan native averages a team-high 19.6 points to go along with 6.2 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.
The 6-foot-2 forward’s strong play this season earned her All-SEC First Team honors from the league’s coaches.
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Jackson announces her return just a week after center Tamari Key announced she would be returning for one final season after blood clots sidelined her this season. The two starters returning gives a major boost to what once appeared like a major transition year for Kellie Harper and her program.
Before the 2023-24 season begins, there’s still plenty of work for this year’s Tennessee team left. The Lady Vols landed as a four seed in the NCAA Tournament with a first round matchup against Saint Louis.
Being a top-four seed is a massive deal in the women’s tournament because those top 16 teams host the opening two rounds. That means the Lady Vols will play their first two games at Thompson-Boling Arena.
If Tennessee gets past Saint Louis Saturday night, they’ll either play five-seed Iowa State or 12-seed Toledo in the Round of 32 Monday.
Other top teams in the Lady Vols’ region include Virginia Tech, UConn and Ohio State. Tennessee’s loaded non conference slate saw them play all three teams already this season, going 0-3 in said games.