Glory Johnson knows how to make an entrance.
The more belated the better for Tennessee's sophomore forward - or so it would seem. She came off the bench to score a game-high 22 points and gather a game-high 10 rebounds in the Lady Vols' 124-34 women's basketball exhibition victory Thursday over Carson-Newman College before a crowd of 12,363 at Thompson-Boling Arena.
"Coming off the bench, you have to prove something,'' Johnson said.
She made a statement with her double-double. Her teammates did likewise with five other Lady Vols scoring in double figures. Angie Bjorklund scored 21, Alicia Manning had 18, freshman Taber Spani scored 17 and Kelley Cain had 16.
Collectively, Tennessee shot 62.3 percent from the floor and amassed 28 assists.
But what did Johnson and the Lady Vols prove? Under similar circumstances last season, Johnson stated her case for being a starter by scoring 33 points in the exhibition opener and UT routed the Lady Eagles, 135-55.
The start wasn't a portent of the finish to come for either Johnson or the Lady Vols, who ended 22-11 last season.
"I think when you get in that situation,'' said UT coach Pat Summitt, referring to the one-sided circumstances, "you have to really focus on what your team brought on both ends. Did we play down to the level of competition? I felt like we kept our intensity and maintained it pretty much throughout the game. I'm excited about that because in the past, last year in particular, we'd get a lead and think the game was over. This team was thinking execution."
Johnson and sophomore point guard Briana Bass were good examples of Summitt's contention. Tennessee didn't need a boost, leading 12-3 when the Lady Vol duo entered the game with 15:45 left in the first half.
Regardless, Johnson barely broke a sweat before literally lifting Zoriah William of the Lady Eagles off the floor in a wrestling match over a loose ball.
It took Johnson about five minutes to gather seven points and seven rebounds as she ran from rim to rim in relentless fashion.
"We call it the post highway,'' Summitt said. "I thought that was one of the best things about our post game tonight."
While the 6-foot-3 Johnson looked like a fleet wide receiver, Bass wasn't letting her 5-2 stature detract from her decent impression of a quarterback. She was flinging transition passes all over the court in piling up five of her game-high eight assists by halftime.
Bass and fellow sophomore point guard Shekinna Stricklen combined for 15 of UT's assists.
"I think just having a year under your belt playing Pat's system and understanding her system - every year it gets easier," Bjorklund said
That said, it didn't look awfully difficult for Spani in her debut. She made three of her four 3-point attempts, grabbed nine rebounds and had two assists.
"She's such a skilled player and she makes a lot of good decisions,'' Summitt said. "She has a lot of composure. She's just going to get better and better."
Summitt used the exhibition to make a point to forward Alyssia Brewer and guard Kamiko Williams about having better practice habits. Each player received just six minutes. Brewer made the most of her time with seven points and five rebounds.
C-N coach Dean Walsh thinks that Summitt already has made her point and it showed in the Lady Vols' effort.
"Pat has clearly gotten the message across to them that it's her team, not theirs,'' he said. "I see a different dynamic out there, and there's no doubt that their attitude has changed."