Turns out Tennessee didn't have to wait long for a worthy encore by Kamiko Williams.
After producing a game's worth of highlights in just 18 seconds last Sunday against Alcorn State, the senior guard delivered again Wednesday versus Middle Tennessee State. This time, her contributions didn't amount to window dressing on a rout. Instead, her nine points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals were crucial to an 88-81 women's basketball overtime win.
"You're seeing the results of her having great practices and being focused and being into practice," UT coach Holly Warlick said. "The result is she's playing really well in the games. She's got a lot of confidence right now, and we're doing our best to keep that confidence in her."
Considering its schedule, UT could use more solid play from Williams. No. 22 North Carolina (7-0) visits on Sunday.
The current state of Tennessee's backcourt adds more urgency to the situation.
Freshman guard Andraya Carter reinjured her right shoulder Wednesday and was helped off the court with 7:35 left.
A follow-up X-ray was negative. Carter underwent treatment on Thursday and her status is listed as day to day.
The Lady Vols did not practice on Thursday.
Reserve guard Jasmine Phillips, who missed the season's first two games with a strained left quad, missed Wednesday's game for what Warlick termed "a violation of team rules." Warlick wouldn't say whether Phillips will be back on Sunday.
Against MTSU, Williams played 18 minutes. Her 5-foot-11 size and accompanying strength wore on Shanice Cason, the Blue Raiders' 5-6 point guard. Williams stole the ball from Cason and hit a 10-foot bank shot to give Tennessee its first lead, 64-63 with 4:26 left.
Williams nearly clinched the victory in regulation with a pressure 3-pointer with 55 seconds left.
In overtime, with the Lady Vols clinging to a two-point lead, Williams again stole the ball from Cason and fed it to Meighan Simmons for a layup. Williams added another basket and punctuated her play by drawing Cason's fifth foul on a charge with 36 seconds left.
"She's a senior," MTSU coach Rick Insell said, "and that's what seniors are supposed to do."