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Tennessee loses Carter, Cooper for upcoming season

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The backcourt for the Tennessee Lady Vols has suffered two big hits this preseason.

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

The Knox News reported the Lady Vols will enter the 2016-2017 without two of their guards in Andraya Carter and Te'a Cooper.

Due to health concerns with her knee, Carter has decided to end her college career. In a school release she stated, "After talking with my family, doctors, surgeons and coaches, I have decided that it is in my best interest to forgo my fifth year of eligibility and focus on letting my body heal and recover."

It was also during media availability that coach Holly Warlick announced that Cooper would miss the season after sustaining an injury to her knee while home this summer in Atlanta.

Warlick shared with the Knox news during the summer even though Carter has another year of eligibility, she did not  know if she could continue playing with the persistent pain in her knee.

Carter further went on to thank her support system for the help over her four years as a Lady Vols:

"I want to thank everyone who helped along the way, from family, friends, coaches, trainers, teammates and the countless individuals who provided their support," Carter said in the release. "These past four years, I have grown up and learned so much about life while making incredible memories. I've made a few mistakes along the way, but I've definitely learned from them, and the transformation from who I was in 2012 to who I am today is one that I am proud of."

While walking away from a sport she has played for years, Carter addressed how difficult of a decision it was to forgo her final year of eligibility.

"Ultimately, as the summer has come to an end, the realization that there is not a way for me to reach my full potential on the court while remaining healthy has set in. While this was not an easy decision to reach, I am confident that it is time to let go."

With this news, Warlick now only has nine players that are available during the upcoming season.

In Carter's career as a Lady Vols basketball player, she played in 113 games, starting 82 of them. She has career averages of 2.6 rebounds per game, 6.4 points, 1.7 steals, and 2.0 assists per game. Carter also shot 72.9% from the charity stripe.

She leaves the program with a plethora of awards, starting once she stepped on campus. Some of Carter's awards include, SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll (2012-13), SEC Academic Honor Roll (2013-14), SEC All-Freshman Team (2013-14), Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Finalist (2015-16), Arthur Ashe Jr. Female Sports Scholar of the Year (2015-16), SEC Community Service Team ('15-'16), and SEC Academic Honor Roll last season as well.

The Lady Vols will miss having Cooper on the court as well this season, however the freshman will return to the court. In her first season as a Lady Vols, she averaged 8.6 points per game, 1.1 steals, 2.0 assists, 1.89 rebounds, and shot 72.2% fro, the free throw line. Of the 36 games she played in, she started in 15 of them.

Last season Cooper received the College Sports Madness Preseason SEC Freshman of the Year, as well as the Coaches SEC All-Freshman team.