Tess Darby’s development has been crucial to the Lady Vols’ identity
If you’ve watched Lady Vols basketball this season, you’ve likely heard Tess Dabry’s name all season and it’s because of the countless hours she put in during the offseason.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - If you’ve watched Lady Vols basketball this season, you’ve likely heard Tess Dabry’s name all season and it’s because of the countless hours she put in during the offseason. She had a sharp focus on improving her defense, and she met those goals.
Now has more steals and rebounds this season than her first two combined. Of course, she didn’t get here on her own, she had the coaching staff and one freshman by her side, her sister Edie.
“She holds me accountable to and especially on the bench,” said junior guard Tess Darby. “She sits by TK. And TK will tell me she’s like, whenever you do something, you’re sort of like ‘No Tess no!’ Just I guess she knows my game just as much as I do. So just having someone that’s a critic, but also my biggest supporter over there. Just tell me what I need to do. It’s very special.”
Tess knows that spots aren’t reserved, they’re earned. In her sophomore season, Coach Kellie Harper said she was often a liability on defense, and with the new talent coming in, her playing time would be limited if she didn’t improve.
Tess added, “Our whole program really lives by the quote is whole division, but trust the process, you know, that’s really a big emphasis that I’ve had is just trust the process and that’s also what I’m trying to get Edit to like fully commit to, is trusting the process.”
While defense was the focal point for Tess, she’s also become a more efficient all-around shooter.
“I’m a goal-oriented person and I love setting goals and just seeing myself not achieving them but getting closer to reaching them. It’s just knows that hard work goes in but just trusting the process along the way,” said Darby.
As the team approaches their Sweet Sixteen, Tess reflected on how rewarding it’s been to wear the orange and white jersey together.
“There’s a lot that’s very, very special about this but just getting to experience it all over again but at a higher level and on a bigger stage,” said Tess. “Not only just me getting the opportunity to come play at the University of Tennessee and put on the Lady Vol uniform. But having my sister there with me, you know, my mom and dad and even my other little sister Sloane. They all love it.”
Edie was an instant fan favorite. Numerous times throughout the season, the band and fans would start a chant, ‘We want Edie!’ More times than not, she’d take the court to the sound of hundreds of cheers. A moment that is also special for Tess.
“They’re gonna be a big smile sitting on my face over there. Just seeing like the band and the fans all started chanting, you know, ‘We want Edie!’. Everything that she puts into the game, even being a walk-on, you know, she has that title with her but I don’t see her as that. She puts in just as much effort and sometimes honestly more, and I’ll admit to it, more than me. You know, I’m just so blessed and fortunate that she is here,” said Tess.
In the Saint Louis game, the crowd cheer for Edie again, and they’d get what they wanted. Edie took the court and took advantage of her minutes by posting four points.
The Darby sisters look to continue the magic Saturday night at 6:30 against Virginia Tech.
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