First a look at this TENN TEN and last year's stats for reference.
55 Nicky Anosike 6-4 SR F-C
33 Alberta Auguste 5-11 SR F
00 Shannon Bobbitt 5-2 SR G
44 Alex Fuller 6-3 JR F-C
14 A Hornbuckle 5-11 SR G
3 Candace Parker 6-4 JR F-C-G
52 Kelley Cain 6-6 FR C
21 Vicki Baugh 6-4 FR F
5 Angie Bjorklund 6-0 FR G
20 Sidney Smallbone 5-9 FR G
2 Cait McMahan 5-4 RS HEART
Remember that these statistics were gained against the toughest schedule in the nation.
PPG FGM -A % 3ptM A % FTM A % Min played
03 Parker, Candace 19.6 267 505 .529 6 18 .333 166 233 .712 30
14 Hornbuckle, Alexis 10.2 150 341 .440 29 84 .345 49 67 .731 31
00 Bobbitt, Shannon 8.7 98 265 .370 69 167 .413 49 62 .790 26
55 Anosike, Nicky 7.5 100 234 .427 0 0 .000 78 129 .605 27
44 Fuller, Alex 6.0 81 163 .497 15 41 .366 45 58 .776 20
33 Auguste, Alberta 5.0 62 143 .434 5 21 .238 55 82 .671 16
Spencer 11.6 points in 28 min
McMahan & Redding 6 points in 14 min
The Lady Vols lose the considerable contribution of Sidney Spencer
who is proving in Los Angeles how truly valuable she is.
Her 11.6 points: 186 from beyond the arc 314 from within with 54 FT's
in 28.6 minutes per game must be made up somewhere.
Cait as a freshman gave us valuable minutes at PG in relief of Shannon
but Cait and Dom combined scored a little less than 6 points in 14 combined min per game.
Remember we don't lose Cait and her contribution from the bench and the locker room will be considerable. There isn't a bigger heart in WCBB.
Enter Angie Bjorklund at 6 feet tall she's a bit shorter than Sidney but she has a high release and is long. Sidney was nowhere to be found on pre-recruitment ranking lists
While Angie is touted to be the 2nd most coveted recruit of 2007
Angie calls to mind a taller quicker Shanna Zolman
Shanna's freshman numbers looked like this
05 SHANNA ZOLMAN. 7.5 95-227 .419 37-96 .385 58-65 .892 18.2
I would think we could expect to see numbers that meet or exceed these from Angie.
Sid shot 39.7 % from 3 point range last year - very respectable but not unmatchable.
Gwen Jackson, Kara Lawson, Loree Moore, Tasha Butts, and Ashley Robinson were the starters Shanna's freshman year with Shyra as the usual first off the bench as a Soph.
Brittany Jackson, Tye'sha Fluker. and Courtney McDaniel also saw significant minutes.
This Lady Vol team is taller and they are defending a National Championship.
But Angie won't have to make up for Sidney's contribution by herself
Alex Fuller at 6'4 is taller and equally as athletic as Sid
Her 3 point percentage in 2007 was .366
With more time on the court from a possible starting slot expect Alex with another year behind her to improve to match or exceed Sidney's offensive output. Increasing her scoring by 6 points a game shouldn't pose a problem.
Bird at 5'11 is the other 'favorite' to replace Sidney in the starting line-up.
Bird and Alexis are like bookends at 5'11 with similar speed and skills.
Birds scoring average went way up at the end of the season her best games coming in the NCAA
From 16 minutes expect Bird's time on court to grow to take up some portion of the 42 minutes vacated by Sid, Dom and Cait and expect her productivity as far as scoring to double with the confidence she gained.
In addition we now have Vicki Baugh
At 6'4 she is a taller more athletic option to Sidney
At times near the end of the season we found Sidney in the paint guarding the likes of Erlana Larkins and Kia Vaughn. Once Vicki gets her feel for the college game she has the height and athletic ability to surpass Sid's excellent job at that particular defensive task. Vicki isn't regarded as a 3 point threat but her ability to rebound and score inside should be better.
If and when Tennessee goes tall Vicki at 6'4 will allow Candace at 6'5 to move to the outside where she certainly has the ability to hit the three.
Kelley Cain at 6'6 is another player who will effect where Candace plays since her minutes in the paint can give Candace more time on the perimeter in Sidney's old spot.
and we cannot forget Sidney Smallbone who is a legitimate 3 point threat anytime she takes the floor.
Tennessee will not lack the ability to score from the perimeter with
Shannon Bobbitt our leading 3 point shooter last year
Angie Bjorklund the best 3 point threat in the entire national incoming class
Candace Parker who has terrific range and will have more opportunity to show it.
Sidney Smallbone - perhaps the 2nd best 3 point threat of all available freshmen
Alex Fuller who has the proven ability and will get the chance to show it on a more regular basis.
Bird Auguste who needs to improve her 3 point shooting this Summer
and Alexis Hornbuckle who can create shots from anywhere
The fact is that these Lady Vols don't actually need a lot of 3 point shooting
This Tennessee team is the tallest and most athletic in memory
6'6 Cain, 6'5 Parker. 6'4 Baugh, 6'4 Anosiki, and 6'3 Fuller along with 6'0 Bjorklund
give the Lady Vols the tallest team in the hunt for this year's National Championship.
Given all that height it's certain that Pat will have the offense going inside as the first option.
With only TEN players this team may be the best combination of height, speed, athleticism, quickness and scoring ability to ever take the floor at TBA. With 6 virtual Seniors to tutor 4 incredible incoming freshmen their development should be should be rapid and excellent.
Between Angie, Sidney, Alexis, and Bird we have the guards to relieve and assist Shannon.
Don't be terribly surprised if this PERFECT TEN gives us and themselves a perfect season ending in NC Eight. There will be a couple of mis-steps along the way with the usual toughest schedule but come tournament time they have to be PERFECT
UP next - comparing the Lady Vols to the top contenders for their crown.