Lady Vols in the WNBA Update: Sept. 10

Credit: UT Athletics

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — With the WNBA regular season concluding on Sunday, it is now official that four LVFLs are advancing to the playoffs.

Shekinna Stricklen and the Connecticut Sun (23-11) finished second overall in the league and have a bye until the semifinal round. Stricklen finished the regular season with 13 double-digit scoring performances and started all 34 games for the Sun.

The next highest seed was earned by Candace Parker and the Los Angeles Sparks (22-12), as they finished third overall and have a bye until the second round. Teams are re-seeded after every round, so first-round results dictate who the team will face next.

Despite battling injuries throughout the season, Parker finished strong by scoring double digits in the last four games and is now averaging 11.2 ppg. and 6.1 rpg. She was named the WNBA Western Conference Player of the Week on Monday and also was announced as part of the 2019 induction class for the University of Tennessee Athletics Hall of Fame.

Diamond DeShields and the Chicago Sky (20-14) finished fifth overall in the league standings. The team plays host to No. 8 seed Phoenix in the first round in an elimination game at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday (ESPN2). DeShields has been on fire all season long, scoring in double digits 24 games in a row and 30 altogether. She most recently scored a career high of 30 points against Connecticut on Sept. 6, and she also finished eighth in the league for ppg. (16.2) and eighth overall for her total of points this season (551).

The Seattle Storm and Mercedes Russell round out the former Lady Vols in the postseason, with the Storm finishing sixth overall. The team hosts No. 7 seed Minnesota at 10 p.m. ET on Wednesday in a first-round elimination game on ESPN2. After not starting in any games last year, Russell finished the 2019 regular season with 30 starts and finished the regular season 18th in the league in rebounds per game (6.1).

Diamond DeShields

Chicago Sky
G | 2nd Season

DeShields has started in all 34 of the Chicago Sky’s games this season. She is averaging 16.2 ppg., 5.5 rpg. and shooting a steady 83.6 percent from the free throw line. She leads the team in scoring and is currently ranked eighth in the league in ppg. Her next game is Wednesday when the Sky takes on the Phoenix Mercury in an elimination game at 8 p.m. ET (ESPN2).

Isabelle Harrison

Dallas Wings
F/C | 4th Season

After sitting out all of last season due to medical reasons, Harrison averaged 25.6 minutes a game while tallying 8.6 ppg. and 5.8 rpg. Even though the Dallas Wings didn’t qualify for postseason, Harrison finished the regular season by nearly missing two double-doubles after scoring 12 points against Seattle and 15 against Washington, collecting eight rebounds in both contests.

Glory Johnson

Dallas Wings
F | 7th Season

Johnson appeared in 28 games for Dallas, starting in 19. She completed the regular season with an average of 7.3 ppg. and 6.1 rpg., while playing 24.1 mpg. The LVFL scored a season high of 20 points in one of her last games of the season.

Candace Parker

Los Angeles Sparks
F/C | 12th Season

Initially sidelined with a hamstring injury at the start of the season, Parker saw action in seven games before suffering an ankle injury on July 9 against Dallas. She returned to action on Aug. 1 and has played ever since. The former Lady Vol has been averaging 11.2 ppg. and 6.4 rpg. through the 22 games in which she has been active. She also finished the regular season by scoring in double digits in four straight games, including a double-double against Atlanta with a season high of 21 points and 11 rebounds, including six assists and two blocks. The Sparks return to action in the second round of the WNBA Playoffs.

Mercedes Russell

Seattle Storm
C | 2nd Season

Russell has been given a bigger role this year for the Storm, as she has seen action in all 34 games and started in 30. She is averaging 7.5 ppg. and 6.1 rpg. during 25.6 mpg. She currently ranks 18th in the league in rebounding and sixth in field goal percentage at 51.7 percent. Seattle hosts the Minnesota Lynx on Wednesday, facing off at 10 p.m. ET (ESPN2).

Shekinna Stricklen

Connecticut Sun
G/F | 8th Season

Stricklen has started in all 34 games this season for the Connecticut Sun, as the team has clinched a spot in the semifinal round for the playoffs. She is sitting at 9.0 ppg. and has chipped in 1.9 rpg., while playing 23.7 mpg. The Sun will take on the highest remaining seed in a best-of-five series after the first two rounds conclude.

 

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