Summitt looking for more: 'We weren't average tonight. We were below average'

Pat Summitt wasn’t in a holiday mood Tuesday night.

The hearty “Happy Thanksgiving” she issued to the interview-room crowd after Tennessee’s 83-56 women’s basketball victory over Western Carolina at Thompson-Boling Arena didn’t match the harsh critique that followed.

“With the number of young players that we have, I guess we should expect some inconsistency,” Summitt said. “I can’t think that way, though. I’m going to demand better from them. We weren’t average tonight. We were below average.”

Not freshman forward Glory Johnson, who matched her season high with 19 points, gathered four steals and blocked a shot in spectacular fashion. Yet she was hearing her coach’s message loud and clear.

“It’s a team effort; it’s not about points,’’ Johnson said. “Vick (Baugh) had my back on rebounds. I only had five rebounds.

“We didn’t play to our ability. As a whole, we could’ve played much better.”

Baugh was thinking along the same lines after recording her second consecutive double-double (11 points, 15 rebounds) and playing 32 minutes in her third game back from reconstructive knee surgery.

“Why coach is so mad is she knows what we can do,’’ Baugh said. “We know what we can do.”

Ninth-ranked Tennessee (4-1) did shoot a season-high 47.5 percent from the floor (28 for 59) and followed suit from the free throw line (23 for 27, 85.2 percent).

Along with Johnson and Baugh, freshman guards Shekinna Stricklen and Briana Bass scored in double figures with 13 and 10 points, respectively.

On the other hand, the Lady Vols didn’t play with any consistency against Western Carolina (2-2), which was led by Lauren Powell’s 14 points.

After scoring the most points in a first half (49) since a game at Alabama on Feb. 21 of last season, the Lady Vols spent the second half gathering fouls (14) and turnovers (13). Their lead shrank to 64-47 before a finishing kick across the final eight minutes.

“With this team, they’ll get in a good rhythm and then … it depends on the combination,’’ Summitt said. “The score situation allows us to play more players. In more competitive situations, we’re not going to substitute as freely. Even in the first half, our bench was not ready to come in and maintain the level of play.’’

Johnson and Baugh did their part to set a suitable tone. Johnson scored 15 of her points in the first half. She also made that stunning block, sprinting from the middle of the court and then soaring to block Kendra Eaton’s jumper.

“I was going to try my hardest to get out there and luckily I got a piece of it,’’ Johnson said. “I’m glad I did because you never know when they are going in so you always have to go after them.”

Baugh had nine points and six rebounds before the break. Afterward, she reported no problems with her surgically repaired left knee.

The sophomore forward sounded more like a senior in saying, “What we have to do is continue to pick it up because the teams we are going to play are just going to get better and better.”

Summitt was particularly disappointed with freshman forwards Alyssia Brewer and Amber Gray. After combining for 32 points and 19 rebounds against Louisiana Tech on Sunday, they had eight points and three rebounds against the Lady Catamounts.

“The unfortunate part is that they played like typical freshmen,’’ Summitt said. “Bri (Bass) and Glory didn’t play like typical freshmen and even though Shekinna wasn’t shooting well, she still did good things. I expect more from both of them. They will decide in the next few weeks what they will bring to our team. Tonight was not anything that will enhance opportunities for them.”

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Comments » 32

bmaples writes:

13 games to the 1K mark! Go Lady Vols -- if you win the next 12, the mark comes on January 22 at Arkansas. Wow -- I may have to make the trip, just to be there.

Keep it cookin', ladies!

xvolx writes:

long way to go defensively. can't seem to find a combination that will play hard every possession. free throw shooting really improved. rebounding terrible, still not blocking out. too many telegraphed passes. they improve, then fall back. pat has to be disappointed in effort by gray and brewer.

tnbigg writes:

Way to go Lady Vols! We can always count on the Lady Vols...

allvol9 writes:

Keep it up ladies. This group is so young...I can only imagine after they are together for a while how good they can be.

tnbigg writes:

Real coach...real observations...real counter measures...these Lady Vols may surprise a doubting Thomasina or two...

BigOrangeVol writes:

I've never seen or heard Trish go off that hard on any freshmen before in the press! Usually that stuff is reserved for the floor or the locker room. Dang, she threw Brewer and Gray under the bus then backed over them again. She's going to get their attention or else there will be two more scholarships open next season. Amber looks lost on both ends of the floor much of the time.

LadyVolFanForever writes:

BigOrangeVol, don't give up on Gray & Brewer. They both played well against La Tech. Pat is lighting the fire, not giving up. She knows what they are capable of or she wouldn't have recruited them. Each freshman has to find their own way, gel in with the others. I get as frustrated and disappointed as you do, but I see good things in these 2 young ladies.
I keep reminding myself that this is almost a total rebuilding year and the injuries are raising their ugly heads early. Our coaching staff will find a way and we will settle into a rhythm. I do not expect a Final 4 but I do expect us to get Coach over the 1,000 mark so that will be out of everyones mind. Just watch us for the next 3-4 years......the competition is getting better but we will be right there with them !
Hang tough, Lady Vols !!!

Timed_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to BigOrangeVol:

I've never seen or heard Trish go off that hard on any freshmen before in the press! Usually that stuff is reserved for the floor or the locker room. Dang, she threw Brewer and Gray under the bus then backed over them again. She's going to get their attention or else there will be two more scholarships open next season. Amber looks lost on both ends of the floor much of the time.

My perception as well. I'm guessing these two girls are pressing prety hard, just not getting it done.

I hate to see this kind of stuff this early. As we know well, some players just don't mesh too well with CPS.

xvolx writes:

in response to Timed_vol:

My perception as well. I'm guessing these two girls are pressing prety hard, just not getting it done.

I hate to see this kind of stuff this early. As we know well, some players just don't mesh too well with CPS.

brewer and gray dont have a talent problem. they have a maturity problem. both can't put the highschool glory days behind them. too much pouting. come on girls. get with the program. both are athletic and gray has a pure shooting stroke, but if you dont play hard defense and rebound, you won't be playing for pat.

richvol writes:

No mention of 6'6" Kelley Cain again...where is she?

xvolx writes:

in response to richvol:

No mention of 6'6" Kelley Cain again...where is she?

concusion, also manning. bjorkland bulging disc.

ps11824 writes:

Manning and Gray are targets of Pat's ire because she sees their potential and this is her way of pushing their buttons. Remember Pat's quotes and past players' quotes: "If Pat's not on me, she don't see me." These athletes know full well that they've been hand picked by Pat Summitt. They know they belong on this team and they will find the place for their particular skill set. If Coach is not seeing that "effort meter" creeping toward max she will push that accelerator til the cows come home.

Manning is one of the most eager freshmen of the six, according to Pat. She says Manning is starved for coaching. Shucks, Alicia may have that "Marciniak mentality." She may turn out to be the most productive pick of the crop. A lot of this immature behavior has to do with the 'lack of' coaching' they received in high school. They will rid themselves of those tendencies after a while in the Lady Vol system. If they can't, they'll walk. I do not expect that to happen. They seem too bright to give up a full ride with Pat Summitt.

ps11824 writes:

This is a quote from Pat from a Nov. 14 article: "I don't know that we've put this much in at this pace in a long time,'' she said.

We need to consider this when we see the young team struggling. They are running some complex plays, I suppose, that attribute to some of the frustration we are seeing at times. This coaching strategy will build a tougher and smarter team to face the conference schedule.

We need to embrace their struggles and stay positively supportive.

ssgdebity writes:

in response to ButchIsBack:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Get a life you jerk, this coach is one of the best in the NCAA. How can you say get her out after she has won 8 NT, several SEC titles etc. Plus she is 13 games away from 1k. Now tell me which coach has accomplished that. Also there have been several times were she has taken a fresh young team to the top. So take your BS and shove it up your 4 point of contact. And lay off Coach Summit

utbacker writes:

i still feel like they are riding those two kids particularly hard and everyone else is getting a free pass. I am not seeing this so called attutude and lack of effort. Look it up and see who leads the team in charges taken. i am seeing them up on the bench cheering their teammates on... yet five games into the season, most of you are ready to put these kids out to pasture. Has evey single kid walked into this program and just "did it" immediately. Let's be real. I'm looking at the stats and see high shooting percentages from the field and free throw line and seeing decent scoring and rebounding numbers from these two especially when you take into account the minutes they receive. I just don't get it, but just becaue Pat makes a quote about the bench not keeping up the level of play, everyone jumps onit. When she went to the bench the score was basically tied, it's not as if the bench gave the lead away... there wasn't one. These kids didn't even play against Virginia and they lost. So you are telling me on this team that only Gray and brewer are stinking it up? Stricklen hasn't made a shot since the preseason and there's a lot of turinvers and fouls, but the only people getting called out by name are Gray and Brewer.

ps11824 writes:

utbacker, identify and ignore those comments which have no substance. We know Pat is into these 2 because she has stated before that these 2 freshmen have so very much potential. Amber and Alicia asked Coach Summitt to push them as hard as they needed to be pushed. Trust me, Pat has only just begun and in the end when these 2 are taking part in their first banner hanging, they will thank their coach for staying on them mercilessly.

ps11824 writes:

Wouldn't it be fun to turn this little pest poster loose on the court with Pat? (or any of the ladies he has attempted to belittle) I would pay large coin to watch that massacre.

sgtvols writes:

butch...stop sniffing the glue, crawl back in your rat hole. tell your keeper to read your phooey before she types it. you humiliate yourself. but keep it up we need a laugh.

xvolx writes:

in response to ssgdebity:

Get a life you jerk, this coach is one of the best in the NCAA. How can you say get her out after she has won 8 NT, several SEC titles etc. Plus she is 13 games away from 1k. Now tell me which coach has accomplished that. Also there have been several times were she has taken a fresh young team to the top. So take your BS and shove it up your 4 point of contact. And lay off Coach Summit

this poster is just trying to get a rise out of you. don't respond.

xvolx writes:

wonder were he or she got the name butch.

MillisaAnn writes:

Come on Lady Vols you all can improve, keep working hard and Listen to Pat and the other coaches.

eefor10c writes:

Poor Butch. He needs attention so bad that he tries to get it by being a total jerk. Oops! he doesn't have to try--He is a total jerk (who thinks he's cute)

MIC writes:

Ignore the little boys....really!

dopedawg writes:

Keeping the faith ladies!!! Go Vols!!!!

BigOrangeVol writes:

BTW, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

I don't think that we realize it but it occurred to me today that Pat usually runs off/helps transfer a few players yearly.
So I did a little research and the attrition number is around 20.5% since she took over at UT of players that either quit or transfer.
Since Geter transferred to USC in ’99 there have been NINE that have either bailed or been shown the door.
(Tashika Morris/?; Sarah Edwards/?; Michelle Munoz/OSU; April McDivitt/UCSB; Abby Cannon/?; Sybil Dosty/AZ State; Lindsey Moss/Georgia; Sade Wiley-Gatewood/Maryland; and Nicci Moats/James Madison)
I had no idea it was THAT high!

FYI, 20.5% of the 12 on the current roster is 2.5...just sayin'.

ps11824 writes:

That's an interesting piece of research, BOV. I had forgotten Sybil Dosty's name. She is the one Alyssia Brewer reminds me of. Not in her style of play, just her looks and body type.

Out of those refugees you mentioned, I grieved over the loss of April McDivitt. I had met and spoken in depth with her grandparents at an AAU tournament when April was a HS soph. They told me she had wanted to be a Lady Vol since she was a very young child. I climbed high into the rafters at TBA one night when April's freshman season was barely underway to speak to her grandfather again. He was so happy and excited to be there to see her play. He was not so happy about his seating arrangements, however. It was a near sell-out game and I can't remember who our opponent was, maybe Georgia Pat Summitt Fan Night?

I thought McDivitt had the potential of becoming a great point guard for the Lady Vols. Without doing the research, I wonder what made her go. Could it have been the incoming Wiley-Gatewood and Hornbuckle class of guards? The kid wanted to play more minutes so she went out west. I wonder if she got more minutes there. I did see her a few times afterward. She was coming off the bench.

So, BOV, do you think one of our ladies will be leaving this team? Will it be for more pt, or will they cave to Pat's rigorous coaching regime?

BigOrangeVol writes:

April is an assistant now at UCSB. She had her career high of 20 in a Regional against UConn as UCSB lost to the eventual NC's. April left because of playing time and I guess she saw the writing on the wall too but she was a great kid!

Sarah Edwards had her Mom & Grandmother diagnosed with breast cancer the same day. She transferred to ETSU to become a doctor and is a current emergency medicine resident at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

As to who is expendable or may leave I have no idea. With Dupree coming in next season, if Brewer doesn't pan out then it may be her or Gray. With the Williams kid signing then it might be Smallbone (I have no idea why she is even here to begin with.) And if Spani is as good as advertised it could be Bjorklund or Stricklen. Or I could be totally wrong on all accounts.

ps11824 writes:

I agree to some extent Smallbone is not developing as I had hoped she would. She will not be a star at Tennessee. Sounds cliche to say she is a step slow. Her ball handling skills are suspect, and she's no play maker, IMO. I wish I could be proven wrong. She seems to have the desire to perform. She does have a nice long ball, albeit slow getting off.

BigOrangeVol writes:

A step? Syd is three steps too slow on a good day, no decent handle with either hand, no court vision because her eyes are down and her stance is too vertical, constantly gets blown-up on Defense.... She does have an aggressive mindset and that means a lot in my book; she’s a dang fighter!!! She has a good shot and form if she’s wide open but her lack of athleticism kills her in the SEC. I agree that her heart and desire seem to be in the right place but I just don't think that SHE is in the right place; maybe she could flourish at Indiana or Purdue.

I'll admit that I wasn't a big fan of Angie either; at least not off of last years Freshman performances. Her inconsistency and fragile psyche was frightening. You can't be a team player by lighting up the scoreboard 5 nights then shrink and disappear the other 33. She’s a starting 2-guard that only had five games all season where she made over 5 shots. An SEC shooting guard that only averages 8.4 ppg is normally coming off the bench. Speed kills and it kills her; her lack of quickness and conditioning are her main opponents. If she gets her mind and body right or if she showed Syd's grit, then she could be a great player…if her game is nothing but a 3-baller then she’s a spot player here at best.

Stricklen has the same mindset and shot selection of Larry Bird - any shot from anywhere at any time under any circumstance. The difference is that "The Hick" hit a decent percentage. She needs to find a shot inside 15-18 feet that she can consistently nail in the 40-45% range and quit throwing up trash from all over the court; this ain’t Morrilton. She’s terribly weak in the paint! She reminds me of the kid on the 6-year old team that is the only one who can get it to the rim so he fires the ball every trip down court as soon as he gets his hands on it no matter where he is, who is open under the basket or how many kids are on him.

BigOrangeVol writes:

Sorry for the rant!

Not every good baller is cut out to be a Lady Vol; that’s not a knock on anyone. There are something like 342 college and university women’s basketball teams in 32 conferences so not all 4,000+ ladies are capable of playing at the Lady Vol level even if they are really, really good. That being said, there probably isn’t a young lady on our roster that couldn’t beat this old geezer like a red-headed stepchild; even 30 years ago when I was wasn’t nearly as good as I thought I was!

That critical stuff out of the way...I will love and proudly support all our ladies and staff with my dying breath and I pray that they all reach their full potential on and off the court. Like our children, I want the best in life for each and every one of them. But I get frustrated too just like Pat does! These freshman growing pains are causing me to lose what little hair I have left though.

The last thing I want myself and Lady Vol fans to turn into is anything akin to the spoiled infants on the football pages; they are a total embarrassment to the university! For the first time in almost five decades they have actually made me ashamed to be an alumnus these last three years. So I’ll bite my lip these next couple of months and have faith that this team will be thumpin’ the rest of the nations teams in February and March.

ps11824 writes:

Nice post, BOV. It is refreshing to read post with substance. I fear DePaul will be a huge challenge for our young'uns.

BigOrangeVol writes:

Thanks but I do tend to go over the top occasionally. :-)
Sometimes my passion gets the best of me.

We should be playing the DePauw Lady Tigers/Tigresses (whatever) instead of the Lady Blue Demons/Demonesses.

That Naughton girl can flat-out ball and we CANNOT afford to foul her; she's deadly at the line! They go seven deep but their frontcourt goes 6’-3”, 6’-3”, 6’-2” and one of the first girls off the bench is 6'-3".

Their five are pretty decent but with what's left of our bench/MASH Unit we should be able to carry the day. It won't be UCSF or C-N for sure, they will scrap.

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