Lady Vols looking to get rest, not relaxation

Tennessee head coach Holly Warlick gives out directions to her players during the game against Georgia at Thompson-Boling Arena on Sunday, January 6, 2013. Tennessee defeated Georgia, 79-66. At right is assistant coach Dean Lockwood. 
(Saul Young/News Sentinel)

Photo by Saul Young, 2012 Knoxville News Sentinel

Tennessee head coach Holly Warlick gives out directions to her players during the game against Georgia at Thompson-Boling Arena on Sunday, January 6, 2013. Tennessee defeated Georgia, 79-66. At right is assistant coach Dean Lockwood. (Saul Young/News Sentinel)

Taber Spani on Missouri's Morgan Eye

Along with the usual directives, Tennessee's coaches remind the Lady Vols more often lately about getting sufficient rest and eating properly.

"It sounds like something your parents would say," guard Meighan Simmons said, "Like my parents probably would be like 'you need to go to sleep. You need to eat.' "

The advice is intended to help preserve UT's ranks. The Lady Vols are down to nine active players with Andraya Carter (shoulder surgery) out for the season and Cierra Burdick (fractured right hand) sidelined until at least February.

With reserves Nia Moore and Jasmine Phillips playing limited roles, seven women's basketball players could do most of the work for No. 9 Tennessee (12-3, 2-0 SEC) against Missouri (12-4, 1-1) tonight (TV: SportSouth, 8 p.m.) at Thompson-Boling Arena.

After Burdick's injury last Monday, all five UT starters played at least 31 minutes last Thursday at South Carolina with four playing 34 or more. On Sunday against Georgia, three starters logged at least 34 minutes.

The result was two impressive victories marked by strong second-half play. The attrition apparently hasn't robbed the Lady Vols of their finishing kick.

"We're in great condition," said freshman forward Bashaara Graves, after playing 36 minutes in Sunday's 79-66 victory. "We're running the ball like we want and getting what we want from offense and defense."

The Lady Vols are running a marathon, not a sprint. There's nearly two months left in the regular season. And then comes the postseason. The coaches realize the toll a heavy workload could take on a younger player like Graves.

"At the same time, we look at what the alternative is," assistant coach Dean Lockwood said. "We're not going to compromise on how we need to play and how hard we need to play."

Instead, they're stressing time management, paying attention to the length of practices and player substitutions during games. Head coach Holly Warlick said that she will resist the urge to hoard time-outs.

"I'm usually one to sit on time-outs," she said.

It's incumbent upon the players to get the necessary treatment. Senior Taber Spani logged more than 30 minutes just once before Burdick's injury.

Since then, she's become a starter and is averaging 37 minutes the past two games. All this time, she's been dealing with what she described as "back stuff."

"I live in the training room, no matter what," she said, "just to survive, honestly."

Along with the physical maintenance, the players have to manage their fouls more closely. Center Isabelle Harrison missed most of the first half against Georgia after picking up two fouls. UT missed her rebounding and defensive presence.

"I feel like most of my fouls come from, I guess, fatigue,'' she said. "I'm in pretty good shape. But when it gets hard (on defense), I can't bail them out with a foul."

Lockwood conceded that UT's style of play will create a certain amount of fouls. When watching video with players, the coaches stress being smart about playing hard.

"What we want to avoid are the silly fouls," he said. "The reaching at 40 feet away (from the basket), going for a steal and knocking somebody out when you have no chance to make that play."

Against Missouri, the Lady Vols will be charged with being smart about guarding shooters. In their first season in the SEC, the Tigers are the top 3-point shooting team. They set a conference record with 18 3-pointers in last Sunday's 82-76 victory over Auburn. Sophomore Morgan Eye made 11 of them.

"We're different than a lot of teams in the SEC," Missouri coach Robin Pingeton said. "When we get going on all cylinders, it is a different matchup for teams in this league."

When viewing a 30-second video clip, Lockwood counted seven screens set by the Tigers on one possession.

All the more reason to remind the Lady Vols about getting their rest.

Get Copyright Permissions © 2013, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2013 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 12

SummittsCourt writes:

Lack of depth could be the one thing that derails this team. Hopefully the players listen to their coaches. Go Lady Vols!

underthehill writes:

Gonna need Kamiko on Morgan Eye..

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

Remember one year the Lady Vols carried 15 on the roster? And, I believe that was one of the national championship years. True, a few of them didn't play much, but at times they were used to commit a foul if nec.....just to have some depth.........especially when key players got hurt. Tennessee plays hard and injuries are going to happen. With just 9 players currently available, yes they need the rest and keep the injury bug away.

Unlike the men, these girls will contest those screens and 3 point shots. We'll see.

Go Lady Vols !

jt45 writes:

So their 3 pointers against our post and speed, could get interesting but I dont see this game being very close if Simmons is on. Spani can match up on threes when she is hitting. I wouldnt be surprised to see Graves have another field day inside. I wonder if Missouri has faced a defense like the LVs yet. Georgia beat them by 31 points, and looking at their schedule that appears to be the only quality opponent they have played. All of their wins but one have been at home. Lady Vols by 20 or more.

Theo writes:

Seems like it will be about fighting through screens and getting in passing lanes without picking up a bunch of fouls. We need to make sure we don't let them throw it inside, defense collapse and then toss it back out for the open three. (After the men's game last night I'm seeing that scenario in my nightmares. Yeck, what a bad performance.)
Great experience game. Hopefully a win.
Have got to believe Izzy and Graves are excited about this one. Excited to see how JJ reacts after her first real playing time and success.

johnlg00 writes:

I love what Holly was saying about using timeouts strategically to rest players during a game. It sometimes seems that some coaches make a sort of "macho" point about making the OTHER team use timeouts, or as if they got paid by how many they had left at the end of a game or half. There are and have been lots of high-energy teams that don't go more than seven deep in the rotation, but they have coaches who are savvy enough to know how to condition their players for those heavy minutes and how to rest them during games.

maxvolfan#217855 writes:

Whoever wins the starting lineup game wins absolutely nothing but here's mine.
Harrison
Graves
Spani
Ariel
Simmons
I know ..a no brainer.

RLL59 writes:

Perhaps Coach Lockwood might ask himself why other teams set screens to open up shots for their 3 point shooters, and the Lady Vols do not.

But, they're playing great right now, and with 7 players getting most of the playing time, the team is better offensively and defensively.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to RLL59:

Perhaps Coach Lockwood might ask himself why other teams set screens to open up shots for their 3 point shooters, and the Lady Vols do not.

But, they're playing great right now, and with 7 players getting most of the playing time, the team is better offensively and defensively.

Quality depth is almost always an asset in a high-energy, high-risk sport like college basketball, but there is much to be said for the greater cohesion and individual accountability of a short rotation. Perhaps the screening and cutting will improve the more these gals play together and continue to gain confidence in each other.

RLL59 writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Quality depth is almost always an asset in a high-energy, high-risk sport like college basketball, but there is much to be said for the greater cohesion and individual accountability of a short rotation. Perhaps the screening and cutting will improve the more these gals play together and continue to gain confidence in each other.

I agree with your comments about depth. If Holly is concerned about too many minutes for her starters (and she probably should be with Tabor), she can increase the playing time of Kamiko and Jasmine, both of whom compete talent wise with the starters.

Screening for the 3 point shooters has never been in the Lady Vol playbook, or is written in small letters on the last page. So, I really don't expect it to happen. Just hoping!

SevenT writes:

Final Score Kentucky 65 TA&M 62

Just Saying

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

98, johnlg....
I am REALLY pissed at you two...

Why did neither tell me Kelley Cain, one of my all-time favorites, is in the WNBA??

Last I knew she had given up the game.

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