The number “200” figures prominently in two upgrades that would be worthwhile for Tennessee.
The number first applies to Tennessee’s 3-pointers. The Lady Vols ought to be shooting for that number on a seasonal basis. And that’s only a starting point. Having hit a program-best 242 in 2010-11, they ought to be aiming higher.
The Lady Vols had been steadily backsliding since the record number. This season’s 172 amounted to an upgrade over last season’s 160. But they had senior guard Ariel Massengale for a full season and she made a team-high 74 treys. She missed the final 16 games last season with a concussion.
One of the more encouraging aspects of signee Te’a Cooper’s game-high 21 points in the McDonald’s All-Star game on Wednesday was her shooting 3 for 6 on 3-pointers.
The other “200” applies to Tennessee’s blocks. UT hasn’t surpassed that total since its last two national championship teams (2006-’08). The statistic, like 3-pointers, had been in decline until a meager upgrade this season. The Lady Vols’ 140 blocks were five more than last season.
The return of 6-foot-6 center Mercedes Russell, who sat out this season after undergoing offseason foot surgeries, ought to mean more blocks. The Lady Vols are only losing 26 blocks with the departure of Isabelle Harrison.