SAN ANTONIO - Tennessee is traveling lighter than expected for its first road trip of the women's basketball season.
Sophomore forward Alyssia Brewer and freshman guard Kamiko Williams did not accompany the Lady Vols for a game against Texas Tech tonight in the ESPNU Classic (TV: ESPNU, 7 o'clock) at the AT&T Center because of a violation of team policy.
UT coach Pat Summitt indicated that the punishment would be for this one game, which is part of a doubleheader to help promote the Women's Final Four here in April. Defending national champion Connecticut plays Texas in the second game.
"If they take care of business, it's done, it's over,'' Summitt said. "I'm not holding a grudge. I want them to get it right and we'll move on.
"When you come here, you go to class, you sit up and pay attention, you sit in the front three rows. If you don't, understand that you don't play."
Summitt said that she spoke with the players' parents after UT's 74-65 season-opening victory over Baylor on Sunday. Brewer and Williams already were squarely in the coach's crosshairs over inconsistency at practice. Summitt spoke to Vincent Williams, a master sergeant in the U.S. Army, about his daughter before Sunday's game and gave him credit for her energetic play.
"Got a nice little phone call from my father and he got me acting right and it showed during the game,'' said Kamiko, who had four points, two steals and a block in 14 playing minutes.
Brewer had four points as well in 13 minutes. Her one assist was timely as her pass set up Glory Johnson for a conventional three-point play, pushing UT's lead to 67-57 with 4:08 left.
Sixth-ranked Tennessee will be down to nine players against Texas Tech (1-0), which opened with a 91-52 victory over Sam Houston State last Saturday.
Williams' absence deprives the Lady Vols of an athletic player capable of making an impact on both ends of the court. Presumably, sophomore reserve guard Briana Bass will log more than the nine minutes she had Sunday. Starter Shekinna Stricklen can't top the 40 minutes she played against Baylor. Her 25 points, 14 rebounds, five assists and three steals added up to SEC player of the week honors.
Nobody benefited more than Stricklen from the team having a day off from practice on Monday.
"She can sleep,'' Summitt said. "I might even massage her feet."
Fellow guard Angie Bjorklund played 32 minutes against Baylor and hit her first two jumpers before tailing off to a 4-for-13 shooting finish.
"She has to be a better screener to get better shots,'' Summitt said. "She gets a little overanxious. That hurt us."
Without Brewer, a repeat of UT's foul trouble on Sunday could cripple its post play. Johnson stayed out of trouble and worked hard for her nine points and seven rebounds. Her four steals canceled her four turnovers, and she hit two free throws down the stretch. Johnson didn't seem bothered by the left shoulder injury she suffered last week, just the resulting wardrobe change.
"She came into the day not real happy about the (protective) sleeve she has to wear,'' said Summitt who then asked: "Am I going to have to worry about you and that sleeve and it's going to affect your play? She said, 'no, no it's not.' It certainly didn't.''
History Update: Tennessee opened a game in a zone defense at least one other time before Sunday during Summitt's 36-year coaching career.
UT started in the alignment for an SEC tournament game against Georgia in 1993 and paid dearly.
The Lady Bulldogs rushed to a 30-14 lead.
The then-No. 1 Lady Vols recovered but squandered a 10-point lead down the stretch to lose, 73-72.