Okay, so there aren't huge pieces of Lady Vols news, but there are pieces of news. Admittedly, some of this stuff is old, but these are the kind of things that happen during the offseason. (This goes for pretty much every sport, mind.)
- Baylor has elected to not renew Tennessee in out-of-conference play. Probably the most disappointing news of the offseason scheduling front, but also one of the least surprising, at least if you're the kind of person who pretty much expects Kim Mulkey to run away from anything that might actually be challenging if she has a choice. I'm sure there are other reasons behind this, but the optics of not having BRITTNEY GRINER immediately translating to "welp, can't schedule Tennessee now sorry all booked up you guys!" are a bit disconcerting. Lest you be concerned about Baylor's slate missing key SEC opponents, don't be; they picked up Ole Miss (9-20 last year) instead. (And yes, this has been on the site for a while but not up front, so apologies for that.)
- Holly's calling Geno out. Yeah, so this happened, and this is exactly the kind of thing you'd expect to happen during the offseason, but ...well, I believe her. I also believe that UConn doesn't have any interest in dropping any opponent from their schedule next season, and quite frankly, I'm fine with that - see the bullet point above if you don't believe me. It bears watching, and we'll hear about this - at great length if we want to be honest - if there's more than just the occasional "hey, wouldn't it be nice if we played every once in a while?". Would I like it if this happened? Was Derek Dooley in over his head?
- Jannah Tucker no more. So the actual most disappointing news of the offseason: Jannah Tucker's not enrolling for personal reasons. As you were, and if you think I'm going to question that you're mad. She was injured for her senior season, and - when healthy - she was an easy top recruit. There are myriad reasons why she chose not to enroll; while I suspect her injury likely played a part in it (it may not have, of course), let's hope she's doing well.
- Tucker, Part 2: Team-wise? Well, Tennessee will have a short bench again next season - Jasmine Phillips also transferred in a completely expected move so unsurprising I'm not even going to bother linking it - and their guard rotation will look like Ariel Massengale, Andraya Carter, Meighan Simmons, and Jordan Reynolds. Cierra Burdick looks to be set on the wing, and WOO DAT POST PLAY. Reynolds, by the way, had an outstanding senior season and my concerns she'd get lost in the shuffle have been largely abated. (In related news, I expect Jasmine Jones to get more work out of the 3 this season, simply because who else is going to be able to do that.) The squad will once again play tall, and there are going to be perimeter shooting questions (put your hand down, Meighan), but we've seen those before.
- Pat XO. ESPN has a feature out on Pat Summitt called Pat XO which has been making the rounds; keep your eyes out, because if you don't you'll just get Stared at until you do. You don't want that.
- Your super-belated Bashaara Graves Had A Season Notice. Seriously. 52% from the field, 13.2 ppg, 8.0 rpg. That ppg was 10th overall (other notables: Shekinna Stricklen at 13.3 ppg, Simmons at 13.5 ppg (I don't have to tell you who was more efficient), Tamika Catchings at 18.2 ppg) and that rpg was 4th(!) overall (tied with Catchings and behind Candace Parker (8.3), Chamique Holdsclaw (9.1), and Sheila Frost (9.4)). I don't quite expect that kind of season from her next year, if we want to be honest; Mercedes Russell is going to take minutes which will hurt her aggregate numbers. However, her per-minute numbers should hold steady, if not improve.
- Massengale wins gold medal, sun rises in east. Yeah, when you win four of these things, it gets a little boring.
- Other key Massengale notes: Massengale's 158 assists were the 9th-most in Lady Vol single-season history with room to grow (243, Dawn Marsh). Quite frankly, I'm not going to bother with career totals at this point until next season's media guide comes out, because while the offseason is slow, it's not let's-go-through-box-scores-for-multiple-seasons slow.
- Key notes for ESPN staff for Lady Vol broadcasts. Meighan Simmons is already ninth in Lady Vol history in field goal attempts. She needs to average 25+ attempts a game to get the all-time record (so feel free to call Isabelle Harrison selfish), which would also give her the single-season record for attempts (by about 300). If she can shoot 70% from the field, she'll get the all-time field goals made record. (If she shoots at her career percentages, that goes up to 35+ attempts per game.) Note that if any of that happens, you'll hear two distinct popping sounds, which would be 1) Hooper's head exploding from rage and 2) Mickey Dearstone's head exploding from glee. It'll be worth it when she's named player of the game in a 20-57, 48-point performance.
That covers it, or thereabouts. Should there be a flurry of small news / one big piece of news, we'll find y'all again.