NCAA Women

Six LVFLs Make WNBA Opening Day Rosters

Six LVFLs Make WNBA Opening Day Rosters


The WNBA tips off its 28th year on Tuesday, and as the new season commences there will be six former Lady Vols on active rosters around the league.
 

Tennessee ranks second among SEC schools in the number of alums on WNBA squads, while South Carolina leads with 10. Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Texas and Texas A&M have two each, while Auburn, Kentucky, LSU and Missouri have one apiece. Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma and Vanderbilt have no players currently holding roster spots.
 
LVFLs in the WNBA this season include Rae Burrell (Los Angeles Sparks), Diamond DeShields (Chicago Sky), Isabelle Harrison (Chicago Sky), Jordan Horston (Seattle Storm), Rickea Jackson (Los Angeles Sparks) and Mercedes Russell (Seattle Storm).
 
All-time, 53 Lady Vols have gone on to play in the WNBA. A total of 46 of those Tennessee products were taken in league drafts, including 21 first-rounders and three No. 1 overall selections.
 
The latest to join that group is 2024 No. 4 overall pick Jackson, a 6-foot-2 forward who begins her professional career in Los Angeles after tallying 1,176 points in only 60 games at UT and averaging 19.6 ppg. to rank No. 4 on UT’s career points-per-game list. She put up 20.2 ppg. as a senior in 2023-24 for the ninth-best single-season scoring average in Lady Vol history.

The two-time All-SEC First Team and All-America Honorable Mention selection and two-time Cheryl Miller Award finalist from Rocky Top joins Burrell in L.A. Jackson became the seventh Lady Vol to be selected by the franchise, following in the footsteps of Daedra Charles (1997 Elite, 1st Rd., 8th), Sidney Spencer (2007, 2nd Rd., 25th), Candace Parker (2008, 1st Rd., 1st), Shannon Bobbitt (2008, 2nd Rd., 15th), Cierra Burdick (2015, 2nd Rd., 14th) and Burrell (2022, 1st, 9th).

 

Burrell, now in her third year with the Sparks, appeared in 29 games a year ago and started in three. The 6-foot-1 guard/forward averaged 3.6 points and 1.2 rebounds in 11.1 minutes of duty per contest. She shot 38.7 percent from the field, 39.0 percent from beyond the three-point arc and 81 percent at the free throw line. Burrell netted double-figure scoring in three of her last five games in 2023, dropping 18 in the season’s penultimate game on Sept. 7 vs. New York.

 

DeShields enters her sixth playing season and has returned to Chicago after spending the past two years in Dallas and Phoenix, respectively, including being sidelined due to injury in 2023. In…

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