BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - Tennessee's Briana Bass will be heard louder and clearer at the NCAA women's tournament.
The Lady Vols freshman point guard has spent the week working with Dr. John Haas, the director of UT's School of Communications Studies. The intent of their collaboration was helping the 5-foot-2 Bass with projecting her voice and finding a deeper tone.
"Basically we've been meeting in a classroom and just yelling,'' Bass said.
Bass has been practicing with some basic keywords like "deny" and "help". At first, she was a little too high-pitched with the latter.
"People were wondering what was going on in the room," Bass said.
Their work has carried over to practice. UT coach Pat Summitt is hoping for an audible carryover effect in tonight's first-round game against Ball State.
"I think it can have an impact on her leadership as much as anything,'' said Summitt, who helped to arrange the voice sessions, "but defensively, she's talking more.
"I've been very frustrated with her not speaking up and not calling screens and not being real vocal on offense. Our guards call everything. With the loud gyms we're in, at times it's been an issue."
Bass' teammates are noticing a difference.
"She's working on it, she's working on it,'' forward Glory Johnson said. "You have to have your point guard talking. If people can't hear what your point guard is doing, it's kind of chaotic. It definitely helps solve a lot of confusion on the court."
Along with a stronger voice, Bass also might be developing more self-assurance.
"I kind of feel like I do have more confidence,'' Bass said, "now that my teammates can hear my voice."
Nice To See You: East Tennessee State, which plays Iowa State in tonight's other first-round game, is staying in the same hotel as the Lady Vols and is hoping for some support from their fans."
"We're trying to smile and be nice to all those Lady Vols fans,'' ETSU coach Karen Kemp said.
Awfully Familiar: After watching "The Cinderella Season" documentary of UT's 10-loss championship team of 1996-97, these Lady Vols realized they're not alone in feeling Summitt's wrath.
"It's the same coach, different team,'' forward Alyssia Brewer said.
"It reminds us so much of us, the stuff Pat was saying, the stuff that was going on,'' Bass said.
Bass was happy to note one difference.
"I'm glad we don't run on the track anymore,'' she said.