KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — University of Tennessee women’s basketball head coach Kellie Harper confirmed Thursday that graduate transfer Alexus Dye has signed an athletics scholarship and an SEC Grant-In-Aid agreement to join the Lady Vol program for the 2021-22 campaign.
Dye, a 6-foot forward, comes to Rocky Top from Troy University after a remarkable season in which she was chosen as the 2021 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year and the Sun Belt Conference Tournament Most Outstanding Player. She will graduate in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in human services with a minor in psychology. She will have one season of eligibility remaining after student-athletes were granted an additional year as part of the NCAA’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am really excited to add Alexus Dye to the Lady Vol family,” Harper said. “Alexus has a winning pedigree, playing a key role on teams that captured a national championship, multiple conference championships and four high school state championships. She is an effective scorer and a dominant rebounder with proven results in big games. That combination of skills and experience and her drive to win will make an immediate impact on our program.”
A native of Birmingham, Ala., and a graduate of Wenonah High School, Dye is coming off a season in which she averaged 16.6 points and 12.6 rebounds in 28 games for Troy, leading the NCAA in double-doubles (23) and ranking second in total rebounds (352) and seventh in rebound average. She shot 49.5 percent from the field and 73.7 percent from the free-throw line for the Trojans en route to All-Sun Belt Conference First-Team honors.
Against Power-5/SEC opponents in 2020-21, Dye averaged 23 points and 11 rebounds per contest, including a game-high 26 points along with 11 rebounds in a controversial 84-80 loss to No. 2 seed Texas A&M in the NCAA Tournament First Round. She also had 20 points and 11 boards vs. Mississippi State earlier in the campaign.
As a junior, Dye put up 10.1 ppg. and 9.6 rpg. with nine double-doubles to garner All-Sun Belt Conference Second-Team acclaim. She recorded 12 games of double-digit rebounds and five outings of at least 15 boards, setting a (then) career high in rebounds with 19 against Arkansas State. She topped that number with 20 vs. Appalachian State as a senior.
Dye finished her career at Troy with averages of 13.3 points and 11.1 rebounds, tallying 32 double-doubles in two seasons, including 30 in her last 40 games. She helped the Trojans to a 22-6 overall mark and 15-2 league record in 2020-21, winning the Sun Belt East and capturing the league’s tourney title, and a 25-4/16-2 slate in 2019-20 before the pandemic brought the season to an end just before the league tournament.
Prior to her time at Troy, Dye played two seasons at Gulf Coast State College in Panama City, Florida, from 2017-19. In her final campaign there, she was named a WBCA Two-Year College Coaches’ All-American and an NJCAA Division I Second-Team All-American as well as the MVP of the 2019 NJCAA National Tournament.
Dye averaged 15.3 ppg. and 9.5 rpg. while shooting 55.4 percent from the field in 2018-19 as a sophomore. She helped guide Gulf Coast to a national title and a 27-5 record during that campaign, recording a double-double of 14 points and 15 rebounds in the national title game. She ranked second in the NJCAA in rebounds with 304, fifth in field goal percentage at 55.4 percent and ninth in scoring with 488 points.
As a freshman in 2017-18, she ranked second nationally in field goal percentage at 61.2 percent and averaged 7.0 points and 4.6 rebounds as GCSC finished fourth nationally.
At Wenonah High School, Dye was a three-time all-state selection, the state tournament MVP in 2016 and 2017 and was a three-star prospect, as rated by espnW HoopGurlz. She helped lead WHS to four Alabama Class 5A state championships.
The signing of Dye marks the fifth incoming graduate transfer in Lady Vol history and the third committing to UT during the Kellie Harper era. The most recent players to do so are 6-1 forward Keyen Green (Liberty) and 5-8 guard Jordan Walker (Western Michigan), who will play alongside Dye on the 2021-22 squad. Walker, who arrived with two seasons of eligibility, saw action in all 25 games last season, starting 13. Green started the first four games a year ago before an injury ended her season.
The other two previous grad transfers are Lou Brown, a 6-3 forward from Washington State who played the 2019-20 campaign, and Schaquilla Nunn, a 6-3 forward who came to Tennessee from Winthrop and played on Rocky Top during the 2016-17 season.
Dye is the third player from Alabama on this year’s UT roster, joining freshmen Sara Puckett from Muscle Shoals (Muscle Shoals H.S.) and Karoline Striplin from Hartford (Geneva County H.S.). That trio makes it seven from the southern border state to wear orange, following in the footsteps of Gwen Jackson (Eufaula/Eufaula H.S., 1999-03), Tasheika Morris (Huntsville/Butler H.S., 1999-2000), Sidney Spencer (Hoover/Hoover H.S., 2003-07) and Jasmine Jones (Madison/Bob Jones H.S., 2012-16).