Glory Johnson develops into Lady Vols' most solid player

Tennessee forward Glory Johnson (25) shoots over Auburn forward Jassany Williams (25) in the second half of their NCAA college basketball game in Auburn, Ala., Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012. Tennessee won 73-52.

Photo by AP Photo / Dave Martin

Tennessee forward Glory Johnson (25) shoots over Auburn forward Jassany Williams (25) in the second half of their NCAA college basketball game in Auburn, Ala., Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012. Tennessee won 73-52.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — In the early days of her Tennessee career, Glory Johnson had a knack for frustrating her coaches. These days they can't help but sing her praises.

"If we have to lay our hat on somebody, it's Glory Johnson," associate head coach Holly Warlick said. "She plays the game the way it should be played, with a lot of effort, a lot of heart. She plays hard every possession. She's getting beat up a little inside, but she's got a maturity about her."

The senior forward has become the ninth-ranked Lady Volunteers' most solid player this season by turning in strong performances on both ends of the court.

The Knoxville native has always been a good rebounder with a spirited attitude on the court, but as a young Lady Vol she drove coach Pat Summitt crazy with her inconsistency. Johnson would turn in a double-double performance one game and find herself in early foul trouble in the next.

Having acquired some patience and spent a lot of time in the gym, Johnson finally has realized the potential Summitt expected of her.

"I would get mad at every call," Johnson said. "You just get to a point where you realize the calls are not going to change. The refs are going to make really good calls and they're going to make really bad calls and they're going to miss things. Not everyone's perfect. Just deal with it, handle adversity and move on."

Johnson's 9.8 rebounds per game rank second in the SEC, just behind the 9.9 rebounds Nikki Byrd averages at Mississippi. Her 14.5 points per game rank fifth in the SEC, and her 64 percent field goal shooting ranks tops in the league and sixth in the nation.

Even though she draws extra attention from most opposing defenses, Johnson has managed eight double-doubles this season, including four in five Southeastern Conference games. She earned back-to-back SEC player of the week honors for her performance in wins against Old Dominion, Auburn, Chattanooga, Georgia and Arkansas.

On the defensive end, Johnson is tasked with shutting down the paint but often ends up frustrating shooting guards as well.

"She manhandles whoever is there," Georgia coach Andy Landers said after the Lady Bulldogs lost to Tennessee on Jan 5. "If you try and guard her, she comes right at you and makes you foul her."

Opposing players usually try to limit Johnson by getting physical, hoping they'll frustrate her and lure her into fouling. While that worked when she was a freshman and sophomore, she's learned to take the beatings she gets in the paint.

In a win against Vanderbilt on Sunday, Johnson found the Commodores' Elan Brown on top of her with Brown's elbow in her face after the two dove for a loose ball. Johnson went to the bench for a few minutes to put ice over her right eye but returned to play the second half.

"Glory just plays so hard," Summitt said. "It was pretty physical in there. I was really impressed with Glory's composure and energy. She was so focused on finishing her shot or boxing out for the rebound, no matter how many people she had around her."

Johnson has been just as focused off the court. She earned a bachelor's degree in global studies in just three years and is studying for her master's in communication.

She's already made a place for herself among the Tennessee greats, with her 1,010 total rebounds trailing just Chamique Holdsclaw's 1,295 and Sheila Frost's 1,043 and surpassing Tamika Catchings' 1,004. She's got 1,346 points for her career with 12 more regular-season games to go. Tennessee (13-4, 4-1) hosts LSU (13-4, 4-1) on Thursday night.

"She's a great player," Lady Vols point guard Ariel Massengale said. "On the boards she's relentless. The way that she plays, as hard as she plays, I'm glad that she's on my team and I don't have to play against her. She comes in here day after day and gets it done. We know that every time we step on the court we can count on Glory Johnson to give us 110 percent."

Get Copyright Permissions © 2012, The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 13

SoddyVol writes:

Good writeup about Glory Johnson. Very accurate. The Refs seem to let her take a lot of punishment around the basket without calling a foul. However, they haven't been reluctant to call one on her for the slightest reason, probably due somewhat to her reactions in the past. Glad she has matured a lot.

richvol writes:

Glory is a great player who gives her all for Tennessee. I am proud to have her playing for us. I am concerned about who will replace her next year. Then there's Stricklen and Baugh as well. We have one player,Massengale,that looks to be all-SEC caliber.

volfan2002 writes:

Glory has been great this season. Hopefully it will lead to a title for her.

wigmeister writes:

The lady vols most solid player? You betcha, and it isn't even close!

crossvoll writes:

I am so impressed with Glory's maturity and glad she's in the UT record books, she deserves it! She'll catch Sheila Frost before she's done and will make a good run at Chamique's record, I'd say. SEC Player of the Year if she keeps it up. She plays with the kind of heart the fans really like to see.

Fall_Creek_Vols writes:

Just as I was about the blister the AP writer for ripping off a recent John Adams article on Glory, the writer gives us more than John did.

I don't recall hearing anything about Glory's undergraduate degree. Anyone who completes a four-year degree in three is by definition, focused.

When Coach Pat retires, I hope more than passing lip service will be given for the 100 percent graduation rate in her program. I believe it is one of her greatest accomplishments.

tonyvick#213307 writes:

you ain't never been righter...

Theo writes:

Wow - what a great young woman. Global Studies sounds pretty stout - three years? That's why I'm proud to be a Lady Vol fan.
I hope Izzy and Cierra (sp) are watching her every minute. I think one or both of them could be our next Glory.

camvols writes:

Kelly Cain was this teams superstar. She was Pats go to player, if you needed points give it to her on the low block and it was a sure two. They have struggled without her. Glory has been the only player to step up in her absence. Without Baughs presence in the paint the load has been put on Glory's shoulders and if anyone can take us to the final four, it will be her. I'd love to see her at her natural position. Playing the five stop against bigger and thougher compeition this year has gotten her better.

butch31 writes:

I am so excited about Glory's consistent play this year. If she develops a 15-20 foot jump shot *LOOK OUT* I am really disappointed Glory was developed her freshmen year.
We would of had NCAA title by now had she been. I expect to improve in the WNBA significantly. Glory is the SEC Player Of The Year by far. I'm not being biased either. Glory has worked hard in the classroom, weight room, basketball court and conditioning. Glory deserves this recognition.

Jephry writes:

in response to camvols:

Kelly Cain was this teams superstar. She was Pats go to player, if you needed points give it to her on the low block and it was a sure two. They have struggled without her. Glory has been the only player to step up in her absence. Without Baughs presence in the paint the load has been put on Glory's shoulders and if anyone can take us to the final four, it will be her. I'd love to see her at her natural position. Playing the five stop against bigger and thougher compeition this year has gotten her better.

I loved Kelley, but c'mon...seriously? The one thing she was really good at was shooting layups completely over the basket. Her inconsistency shooting-wise was maddening. She played with a lot of heart, but her injuries seemed to keep her down, both mentally and, of course, physically.

Glory is so much more of a potential superstar than Cain was. Her heart, fight and drive will never be forgotten. I'm proud she's a Lady Vol!

ps11824 writes:

Fall_Creek_Vols writes:
Just as I was about the blister the AP writer for ripping off a recent John Adams article on Glory, the writer gives us more than John did.

I don't recall hearing anything about Glory's undergraduate degree. Anyone who completes a four-year degree in three is by definition, focused.

When Coach Pat retires, I hope more than passing lip service will be given for the 100 percent graduation rate in her program. I believe it is one of her greatest accomplishments. ]]]

As I've lamented for years, these sports writers give us very little more than boxscores on these ladies. Occasionally, when one does poorly, we will get a sentence or two, but they 'aint about to do any digging on women's sports unless there's scandal.

That may sound harsh. The evidence is right before your eyes. If Stokes or Tatum got injured last evening, there would be interviews with doctors and medical histories, and even his mama would have a paragraph or two about how she always made him eat his peas. There would be articles all over gvx by ALL the writers.

butch31 writes:

in response to Jephry:

I loved Kelley, but c'mon...seriously? The one thing she was really good at was shooting layups completely over the basket. Her inconsistency shooting-wise was maddening. She played with a lot of heart, but her injuries seemed to keep her down, both mentally and, of course, physically.

Glory is so much more of a potential superstar than Cain was. Her heart, fight and drive will never be forgotten. I'm proud she's a Lady Vol!

I looked at Kelly Cain's Stats *(I wouldn't call her)* a go to player LOL! Glory, Shekinna, and Meighan were the go to players. If you remember the Notre Dame game in the Elite 8 last year, you will see coach Summit pull Kelly after that technical foul, which cost us the game. We never saw or heard of Kelly again...

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