It's a well-documented fact of basketball: the point guard is the floor general, playing the part of the head coach on-court while still performing their duty of being the playmaker.
For the Lady Vols, they are fortunate to have stability at the position for the past two seasons with Ariel Massengale at the helm.
Since her first day on campus, the starting job has belonged to the Bolingbrook, Ill., native. But this season, the junior has a little help behind her — as well as some competition.
"She's had to step up her game," head coach Holly Warlick said. "I think this summer was good for her, but now she has people to push her. Her freshman year she was named starting point guard and she hadn't set foot on campus. So she's got some competition that I think is helping."
The new faces on the roster for the Lady Vols that have provided the push are redshirt freshman Andraya Carter and true freshman Jordan Reynolds.
Carter started the first five contests last season at point guard, but a labral tear in her right shoulder cut her first season short for UT, opening up the door for Massengale to reclaim the job.
"I see things from a different perspective now," said Carter, in regards to her time spent on the bench recovering last season. "It's kind of a coach's perspective. I could hear the coaches on one side and then watch exactly what they were talking about, and I got to see it first hand on the court and I think it will translate into how I play."
As for the competition between her and Massengale, Carter sees it as a friendly rivalry and a needed element in the offense.
"She pushes me," Carter said. "I think she wants my help taking the pressure off her and I'm completely willing to do that. I learn a lot from her, but we push each other at the same time, so it's a good balance between being really good friends, her being someone I look up to, and her being someone I compete with."
As for the Portland, Ore., true freshman, Reynolds – the No. 42 ranked player in the 2013 class – has also seen playing time at the position, currently averaging 2.5 points per game in the Lady Vols' first two contests this season.
Now a junior, Massengale is fine with the new competition as the season rolls on.
"I always welcome it," Massengale said. "I think it's why you come to Tennessee. You know that each day they are recruiting somebody to play that position with you so it helps because we're a team. So at practice we compete, but at ... game time we're all on the team together."
To begin the season, Massengale has continued to see ample playing time, leading the team in playing time by averaging 38 minutes through the first two games. She has also continued to play at a high level, highlighted by a 20-point outburst on Monday against No. 12 North Carolina.
Meanwhile, Carter has also played a large role for the Lady Vols, averaging a considerable 22.5 minutes and 10 points per game, as well as taking on the role of spark plug for the team's second half comeback against Middle Tennessee in the season opener.
Senior guard Meighan Simmons shares the backcourt with each of the three, and said she believes the competition is beneficial for the team.
"I think it will give Ariel enough time to recover," Simmons said. "It will give Andraya that opportunity to follow in her footsteps, as far as leading us out on the floor, and it's also going to be a little different.
"The intensity is always there with both of them."