Staff Report: SPORTS

The Preseason Associated Press Poll was officially released on Tuesday for the upcoming women’s basketball season, and the Lady Vols were ranked at No. 15.

This is the first time in the Kellie Harper era that the Lady Vols have appeared in the preseason edition of the AP poll, and the first initial appearance for the program since starting the 2018-2019 campaign at No. 11. The UT women’s team ended the 2020-2021 season at No. 13 in the AP poll, marking the first time Tennessee had finished ranked since 2017-2018 when they finished 12th.

The Lady Vols are scheduled to face off against eight ranked teams, including the preseason top-3 teams in South Carolina, UConn and Stanford, as well as four others who are receiving votes.

Tennessee is one of four SEC teams ranked in the preseason poll, while seven SEC squads received votes.

Tennessee head coach Harper welcomes back nine letter winners and six returnees with starting experience from a team that placed third in the SEC for the second straight season and advanced to the NCAA Second Round, finishing 17-8 overall and 9-4 in league play.

Harper brought in graduate transfer Alexus Dye, who was named the Sun Belt Women’s Basketball Player of the Year for the 2020-2021 season, to an already veteran-laden squad. She also adds the No. 9 rated recruiting class according to ProspectsNation.com and the No. 15 class by espnW. 

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