With Tennessee women's basketball coach Holly Warlick and her team focused on the "Grind For 9" initiative to capture the program's ninth national championship this season, the group will to look to a crew of experienced players to lead the way.
However, a pair of talented true freshmen may find their way into the rotation from the get-go.
While the Lady Vols lost out to Georgia Tech on the nation's No. 2 recruit, Kaela Davis, and had another top commitment drop due to personal reasons this summer, the team expects big things out of freshmen center Mercedes Russell and point guard Jordan Reynolds.
Russell and Reynolds, both hailing from Oregon, played together on the same AAU club team in high school.
Since the two arrived on campus, they have impressed their coaches and fit in right from the start with their new teammates.
"Coming in, both freshmen are extremely talented, and I think they're going to help us out tremendously," said Kyra Elzy, Lady Vols assistant coach, in a recent UT release. "We just have to keep in mind that they're freshmen."
The 6-foot-6 Russell will look to help out a team already deep in the front court and returning two of the top ten rebounders in the SEC from last season.
Ranked as the No. 1 recruit in her class according to ESPNU, Russell is the highest ranked player to sign with Tennessee since Candace Parker in 2004.
In her high school career she led Springfield (Ore.) to two state championships and was named the MVP of the McDonald's All-American game in Chicago on April 3, totaling 16 points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots.
Reynolds' arrival will provide depth for the Lady Vols at point guard alongside Ariel Massengale and Andraya Carter.
The 5-11 guard averaged 18.5 points per game and over five assists per game as a senior at Central Catholic H.S. She comes in as the No. 10 ranked guard in her class.
Both freshmen this season will bring their own unique attributes and personality to the team – Reynolds being the more vocal of the pair.
"Jordan is an energizer bunny, always talking and laughing," senior guard Meighan Simmons said. "She came in early and she did communicate with us because she knew she's going to have to be in a leadership role. She's going to need to be vocal and I think she's taking advantage of that."