Vols DeShields, Russell Honored by Associated Press


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Associated Press released its women’s basketball awards Wednesday, and redshirt juniors Diamond DeShields and Mercedes Russell were both named to the 2017 AP All-SEC Second Team.

DeShields made the AP’s All-SEC Second Team last season and was an All-ACC First Team choice as a true freshman in 2013-14 while playing at North Carolina. The achievement marked Russell’s first on the AP team.

Both players were recently named to the 2017 Coaches All-SEC Teams, with DeShields making first team and Russell being placed on the second team.

DeShields, a 6-foot-1 guard from Norcross, Ga., leads Tennessee and ranks fourth in the SEC in scoring at 17.2 points per game. That average is the highest by a Lady Vol since Candace Parker put up 21.3 per game in 2007-08. She also ranks tied for sixth in the league in assists (3.9 apg.), tenth in free throw percentage (.794), 12th in field goal percentage (.423) and blocked shots (1.0 bpg.), and 16th in rebounding (6.6).

Starting 26 of 27 games this season, DeShields has scored in double figures 24 times, tallying 20 or more points on 10 occasions and a season-high 34 vs. Georgia. She has posted five double-doubles, nearly missing a triple-double vs. Florida by one assist, and has led UT in assists on 14 occasions and in scoring nine times.

Russell, a 6-foot-6 center from Springfield, Ore., is Tennessee’s second-leading scorer at 16.3 per game and leading rebounder at 9.5 per contest. Those averages rank her eighth and fourth, respectively among league players. Her numbers are the best by a true center at UT since Daedra Charles (17.3/9.2) in 1990-91.

Her .567 field goal percentage is fifth in the league, her 1.4 blocks per game are fourth and her 34.5 minutes per game rank sixth. She is the SEC leader in double-doubles this season with 17, a total that ranks as the second-most ever by a Lady Vol junior, and has scored in double figures in 28 of 30 games, including five with 20 or more points.

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