UT's Russell named SEC freshman of the week

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT/SUBMITTED) -- After helping #5/5 Tennessee to a 110-42 victory over Lipscomb on Sunday, Lady Vol Mercedes Russell was named the SEC Women’s Basketball Freshman of the Week on Monday.

Russell, a 6-foot-6 center from Springfield, Ore., scored 12 points and was one of six Lady Vols in double figures vs. Lipscomb. She also pulled down seven rebounds, blocked five shots and recorded a pair of assists in 19 minutes of duty as the Lady Vols got back on the winning track following a six-point road setback at Stanford on Dec. 21.

Coming off the bench, Russell connected on five of eight shots from the field and two of three tries from the free throw line to help the Lady Vols tally their most points in a game (110 vs. Alabama) since 2011 and highest victory margin (68 vs. Princeton) since 2005.

Russell was a key component in Tennessee’s dominance on the defensive end, blocking five shots and altering several others as UT held Lipscomb to 13 second-half point, the second-lowest total ever recorded by a UT opponent over the final 20 minutes of a contest.

Her shooting also enabled the Big Orange to connect on season bests of 63.9 percent in the first half and 57.9 percent for the game and out-point LU in the paint, 66-16, and in second-chance scoring, 24-3.

Over the past four games, Russell has hit 17 of 27 field goal attempts for 62.9 percent and has reached double figures in scoring in three of those contests.

Russell and Tennessee (11-1) return to the court at Thompson-Boling Arena Thursday night, when they open SEC play vs. #16/16 LSU (9-2) at 7 p.m. CSS will have the telecast on an evening when Lady Vol legend Candace Parker will have her jersey retired in a pregame ceremony at 6:45 p.m.