2,455 miles. That’s the distance between Knoxville and fifth-year senior forward Vicki Baugh’s hometown of Sacramento, Calif.

“I could probably count on one hand the number of games my family has been to in my whole career,” Baugh said.

But Baugh has found another family in her five years at Tennessee, a family in which she is the grandmother.

Her Lady Vols teammates comprise that family, and they are not short on praises for their matriarch.

“I know it was tough for her to move all the way to Knoxville, Tenn.,” freshman forward Cierra Burdick said. “But she’s grown up. She’s 22, she’s the grandma of the team. We all have a definite amount of respect for her.”

Baugh is the lone Lady Vol with a national championship ring. She averaged 5.3 points and four rebounds per game as a freshman on UT’s 2007-08 team that finished 36-2.

The ring came with a price for Baugh though. She tore her ACL in the 64-48 title game victory over Stanford.

She rehabbed and averaged 19.1 minutes a game for the Lady Vols in her sophomore year when disaster struck.

She tore her ACL again.

“It was very tough,” Baugh said. “I had a moment where I didn’t know if I’d be able to play again.”

After sitting out the 2009-10 season as a medical-redshirt, she returned last season after missing almost 21 months of game action.

Though not 100 percent healthy, Baugh played in 24 games, averaging 3.6 points and 3.2 rebounds per contest.

Now in her final season as a Lady Vol, Baugh is averaging a career-best 7.5 points per game, while grabbing 6.6 rebounds.

She posted eight points and eight rebounds per game in UT’s run through the SEC women’s tournament.

“It speaks to her strength of character and her strength of spirit that she stayed on course and was able to persevere,” UT assistant coach Dean Lockwood said. “I think it says volumes about the kind of person that she is.”

The impact of Baugh’s journey is felt by her teammates beyond the court.

“She’s genuine and caring,” Burdick said, “and I respect her more as a person than as a player just because she’s that great of a person. But I’m definitely going to miss Vicki.”

But it doesn’t stop there.

Senior guard Briana Bass offered a glimpse into what the team does when they aren’t on the court.

“We normally go over to Vicki’s house and hang out over there,” Bass said. “We’ll watch a movie or play some music and act silly.”

“Vicki’s got a townhouse so it’s got a lot of room,” senior forward Alicia Manning said. “Vicki’s house has always kind of been the place to hang out. She’s always cooking something or watching some show or a movie so we like to go over there and hang out.”

Baugh said the decision to leave home and play for UT coach Pat Summitt was easy. And although her tenure as a Lady Vol may not have followed an ideal script, the mark she’s left on her teammates is obvious.

“She’s such a great person, such a great caliber player, she’s just amazing,” Manning said.

“Well yeah, pretty much, she is the grandma. She has been through it all, literally.”