One of the keywords for this Tennessee women’s basketball team has been “youth,” and for good reason. Only two seniors on this team see any significant playing time, and three of the five starters are underclassmen.
Part of this youth are four freshmen that comprised the fourth best recruiting class for the 2018 cycle, and the Lady Vols have had to lean on all four at one point or another. Here’s how those freshmen have performed just over halfway through the season.
Zaay Green: Stock Holding
Zaay Green has been a consistent starter for Tennessee since the sixth game of the season against Oklahoma State. She has steadily played over, or around, 20 minutes a game in that streak, as well.
Green is the only of the four freshmen that has started a game, largely due in part to her 28-point performance against Carson-Newman in the pre-season exhibition match. After that flash, her scoring production has failed to reach that level again, though she remains a mainstay in the starting lineup.
The Duncanville, Texas native ranks fourth on the team in scoring, averaging around 9.5 points per game. She has scored in double-figures in seven games this season, with a high of 17 against Oklahoma State. Her shooting percentage does leave something to be desired, making just 36-percent of her shots.
Mimi Collins: Stock Rising
Mimi Collins’ statistics don’t necessarily hop out of the box score. She averages just about 5.3 points per game, to go with 3.6 rebounds. The freshman post has seen her minutes rise in recent weeks, and she has done a steady job of stepping up at a position of need for her team.
Collins was one of just three Lady Vols to end the game with double-digit scoring against Kentucky. In just seven minutes of play in the first half of the loss, she recorded 11 points and three rebounds.
After a few games with minutes in the single digits, she has had a couple of games in a row where her time spent on the court has increased. This trend should continue, as Tennessee looks for the right set of players to pull it out of the three-game skid.
Jazmine Massengill: Stock Falling
There was a time when Jazmine Massengill was playing over 20 minutes a night on a consistent basis. In one game against ETSU, she led the Lady Vols in rebounds, blocks, and steals. Known more for her defense, the Chattanooga product has only scored in double-digits once this season, a 10 point performance against Murray State.
After five straight games in which she spent over 20 minutes playing, Massengill’s minutes have taken a deep dive in the past couple of games. She only appeared for nine minutes against Kentucky, and 13 against Georgia.
In those two games, her stats read as follows: four points, two rebounds, and one assist. Tennessee will need more out of the freshman’s guard pay in order to find success moving forward.
Rae Burrell: Stock Rising
Rae Burrell tends to be the freshman that gets lost in the shuffle, and for a time, she barely saw any playing time off of the bench, with just seven minutes in the Lady Vols’ opening two conference clashes.
However, as they turn elsewhere to look for production, Burrell has seen an increase in playing time in recent weeks, though her production does not reflect that. In the loss to Georgia, she finished third in rebounding with five boards, first among all guards.
Though Burrell has made her reputation as a scorer, she has increased her role with the team by standing out in other areas, opening the door for more playing time.