All thoughts for Lady Vols now on defense

Marquette was able to exploit perimeter

Lady Vol Angie Bjorklund talks about Ohio State center Jantel Lavender

In the spring, a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of . . .

Defense?

Maybe it's because Dean Lockwood isn't as young anymore or that his considerable literary tastes don't favor Alfred Lord Tennyson quotations.

More likely, the thoughts of the Tennessee assistant coach are dominated these days by helping steer the Lady Vols through the NCAA women's basketball tournament.

"This time of year," Lockwood said, "I don't dream about being on a Caribbean island and seeing scantily clad maidens running through sand and surf. I fantasize about five players on the floor at any given time in a (defensive) stance with their heads lower than their opponent's shoulders, talking, communicating, sneakers squeaking. . . . "

Making Lockwood's dream a reality is an ongoing quest for Tennessee (33-2). It takes on more urgency as the Dayton Regional's top seed prepares to face No. 4 seed Ohio State (24-9) in a regional semifinal game Saturday (TV: ESPN, noon).

No. 2 seed Notre Dame and No. 6 Oklahoma meet in the second game of the doubleheader.

The winners play at 7 p.m. Monday (TV: ESPN) for a trip to the Women's Final Four in Indianapolis.

Defense and rebounding are an annual UT obsession at this time of year. This year, defense is taking top priority because it's been more problematic.

Along with bracing for Ohio State center Jantel Lavender, the Lady Vols also have been shoring up their first line of defense this week. Marquette point guard Angel Robinson repeatedly tore through UT's perimeter during Monday night's second-round game, scoring 19 points and dishing out eight assists. After her performance, the Lady Vols appear more vulnerable to Buckeyes point guard Samantha Prahalis, who's among the nation's leaders in assists with 208.

"A lot of teams are going to be pushing it (in transition),'' UT guard Angie Bjorklund said. "I think Marquette did a great job of pushing the ball. We didn't do a very good job of stopping it."

Keeping opposing guards out of the foul lane has been a lingering issue for the Lady Vols this season. UT isn't the only team facing such a challenge. But that doesn't minimize the situation.

"We can mask some things by playing zone and mixing stuff up,'' UT coach Pat Summitt said. "But bottom line, when we have to get down and defend one on one, that's where the biggest challenge is in the women's game."

The Lady Vols continued working on pressure defenses in practice this week. Their full-court alignment wasn't particularly effective against Marquette and was used sparingly. Forward Glory Johnson suggested that the Lady Vols try again. Specifically, she said, "again and again and again."

"Some teams kind of freak out when you press them randomly,'' Johnson said. "So even if it doesn't work the first time, try it again later in the game."

The Lady Vols also might reconsider using freshman guard Lauren Avant, who's ball-pressure defense was instrumental in a victory at Vanderbilt last month. Avant didn't play against Marquette.

"I wouldn't say that she's not going to have an opportunity to be on the court,'' Summitt said. "It's all about a feel and talking to the staff. I know (assistant) Mickie (DeMoss) is really high on her.

"She seems to be shooting the ball better. It helps when you can play both ends and be efficient."

At this juncture, everyone's thoughts, not just Lockwood's, seem to be tilted toward one end of the court.

Dan Fleser covers Lady Vols basketball. He may be reached at 865-342-6288. Follow him at http://twitter.com/fleserKNS and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/fleser/

© 2011 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 22

voloffaith writes:

Some coach thru time has cried out,"defense and rebounding win championships!" stick with what gotcha here! Go Lady Vols!!

kazoo writes:

As Summitt herself know, this is not a good man-to-man defensive team--lack of quickness at just about every position. On the plus side, our size gives teams problems, so we'll see how it plays out.

dwa7#337691 writes:

early predict:

Lady Vols 73
O Staters 70

ddt#1340890 writes:

Foster's girls will not get within 15 points of the Lady Vols after the first 15 minutes. As in both the Ky and Marquette game, our southpaw from Clarksville is far superior to our young lady from Texas any day.

PINK_CHAMPAGNE writes:

I would like to see Avant get some playing time. I think she is pretty good. She gets to the hoop and to the free throw line. She draws fouls! I like that! Her on ball defense is better than any of the other guards on the team, IMO, then Briana Bass! Go lady vols!

dead_vol_foul (Inactive) writes:

Glory!! You are ONE SMART CHICK!!! Way to go, ma'am.

That is EXACTLY why you run the press. It isn't for the first half, it is for the last 8 mintues of the game....you want to wear down the opposing team with your depth.

Otherwise: getting tired of reading about the OSU post; unless I miss my assessment, she is going to have her hands full.

We don't so much need to "focus on defense" as to "not be stupid". As long as we square up and don't overplay, we do fine.

Final thought: Mickie knows her stuff. She may have issues recruiting or whatever, but she is good with players. Would like to see Pat pay attention?? Anyway, if we want to win it all, we will need Avant, simmons, and Williams...maybe even all at once.

I gotta say this: position by position, UConn is QUICK...much quicker than us. If we play them, and they get ahead, we will be toast.

dead_vol_foul (Inactive) writes:

Kamiko:
you have GOT to play better D; you don't have to get steals, or even lock down your opponent. Just make her work for everything; remember, it's PERSONAL between you and whomever you are guarding.

Glad to see you get the PT, just make sure the defense and passing help us, too.

plainspeaker1 writes:

in response to ddt#1340890:

Foster's girls will not get within 15 points of the Lady Vols after the first 15 minutes. As in both the Ky and Marquette game, our southpaw from Clarksville is far superior to our young lady from Texas any day.

This trying to cause trouble between these two players HAS to STOP!! Each one brings something different to the Lady Vols. They are on the SAME team. Sometimes fans seem to forget that!!!

tennboy78 writes:

Just send wave after wave of pressure against them. Play every possession like it is the last of the game and you are down by one. The ball belongs to you - take it, or make them wish you had it.

We have more good players. Keep the pressure on and they will not be able to handle it. WEAR them OUT!!!

ps11824 writes:

dead vol, go ahead and break down this side of the bracket when you get time. I would be interested to see how you would pic and why. I think Ok sends ND home, do you? Duke vs DePaul? Who would match up best with UConn? G'town goes home with a beatdown?

ModelMaker writes:

in response to PINK_CHAMPAGNE:

I would like to see Avant get some playing time. I think she is pretty good. She gets to the hoop and to the free throw line. She draws fouls! I like that! Her on ball defense is better than any of the other guards on the team, IMO, then Briana Bass! Go lady vols!

I agree with you. I would like to see Avant and Simmons on the court together. Have Bjorklund come in as the best sixth women in the Tournment. I like Avant's basketball IQ. I believe in her and I think she can get it done. I think she plays like a Senior.

dead_vol_foul (Inactive) writes:

in response to plainspeaker1:

This trying to cause trouble between these two players HAS to STOP!! Each one brings something different to the Lady Vols. They are on the SAME team. Sometimes fans seem to forget that!!!

I have to agree with you there.

weirdest thing I've ever seen on these boards since even before they went public.

98, am I correct??

dead_vol_foul (Inactive) writes:

in response to ps11824:

dead vol, go ahead and break down this side of the bracket when you get time. I would be interested to see how you would pic and why. I think Ok sends ND home, do you? Duke vs DePaul? Who would match up best with UConn? G'town goes home with a beatdown?

98, I'm outta my league.

I pretty much only know a few teams by heart, 'cause I don't see as much ball as I should.

My heart broke for Marist, those kids got robbed at Dook. That coach...he is superb.

Theo writes:

in response to plainspeaker1:

This trying to cause trouble between these two players HAS to STOP!! Each one brings something different to the Lady Vols. They are on the SAME team. Sometimes fans seem to forget that!!!

May I have an Amen!

butch31 writes:

in response to dwa7#337691:

early predict:

Lady Vols 73
O Staters 70

UT Lady Vols 85 Ohio State 57...If Shekinna, Meighan and Angie plat defense and lock uo the wings with over playing defense, and Glory is not forced out of the post to defend the wings simply because they're getting burned like in the Marquette game, Ohio State won't stand a chance.
I am glas Coach Summitt, recognized no defense by those three led to the disaster of a game. 3yrs ago, we would've lost that game.
I am elated to hear Kamiko, Briana, and Lauren will play, those three work extremely hard, and believe it or not, there is no drop off in play or defense with three.
Tennessee will be ready...believe that!!!

dead_vol_foul (Inactive) writes:

in response to Theo:

May I have an Amen!

makes me curious as hell as to 'who'.

I get the impression it would be Kamiko's family, or maybe old HS friends.

Counterproductive, at the least. Kamiko is just now rounding into a player. She still needs passing and defensive work...but she is a valuable player who for the next 2 years should give us really strong play.

ps11824 writes:

mike, nobody ask your opinion, and I'm grateful for that.

dead vol, of course you are correct, but what about?

PTC1 writes:

in response to Mike_In_Connecticut:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

So UCONN is going to win their 8th National Championship !! Mike are you related to the "PSYCHIC" Siliva Brown? The Huskies will be watching the game in their dorm rooms. REALLY? Is it too soon to congratulate them?

maxvolfan#217855 writes:

Uconn goes down hard . Lol

civilianvol_formerly_marinevol writes:

"This time of year," Lockwood said, "I don't dream about being on a Caribbean island and seeing scantily clad maidens running through sand and surf. I fantasize about five players on the floor at any given time in a (defensive) stance with their heads lower than their opponent's shoulders, talking, communicating, sneakers squeaking. . . . "

STOP, I CAN'T STAND IT. I've got to go take a cold shower.

r2d2 writes:

The practice of making a lot of substitutions during a game and starting a different lineup every three or four games is a two-edged sword. Keeping fresh players in the game is the positive side of the sword. Losing player consistency and cohesion is the negative side. This is the giant obstacle that CPS and her staff must overcome if the LVs are to win a NC.

butch31 writes:

in response to r2d2:

The practice of making a lot of substitutions during a game and starting a different lineup every three or four games is a two-edged sword. Keeping fresh players in the game is the positive side of the sword. Losing player consistency and cohesion is the negative side. This is the giant obstacle that CPS and her staff must overcome if the LVs are to win a NC.

Very true, I am watching the game, and seeing Angie Bjorklund get BURNED by Ohio State guards, yet Coach Summitt just yells help *(lol)* She pulled Gloria and Meighan for not helping. I did not understand that. Angie is a senior, and if she hasn't learned anything yet, it should at least be defense. I would bench her in a heart beat, she benched Smallbone. lol Shekinna has no defense either, she is getting burnt too. Bad coaching on Summitts part.

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features