UA Coach, Player Keeping Busy Schedules

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Arkansas women's basketball coach Susie Gardner and UA junior guard Rochelle Vaughn face a busy schedule today.

First they will answer questions at the Southeastern Conference Basketball Media Days this morning. Then they'll return to Fayetteville for the Lady Razorbacks' Red-White Game at 7 p.m. at Bud Walton Arena.

Vaughn will play for the Red team along with her sister Brittney Vaughn, Kristin Moore, Danielle Allen, Melissa Hobbs and Allison Singleton.

The White team will include Kristina Andjelkovic, Christina Lawrence, Sarah Pfeifer, Kristin Peoples, Sheree Thompson, April Seggebruch and Adrienne Bush.

Arkansas junior center Ruby Vaden, named to the Preseason Women's All-SEC Second Team on Wednesday by league coaches, will not play tonight because of recent minor knee surgery. (Vaden is the only center on either of the top two All-SEC teams.)

Tonight's format is two 15-minute halves. Gardner plans to switch some of the players between teams, to look at different combinations in Arkansas' new fast-paced style of play.

Arkansas isn't the only SEC women's team that plans to run more this season.

Tennessee expects to be both bigger and faster, while Florida, Georgia and Alabama all promise to speed up the tempo also.

"It's going to be a faster league," said Florida coach Carolyn Peck. "I think that's the evolution of the women's game. The day of the 6-foot-5 post player staying only on the block is going away."

Peck cited 6-3 Tennessee freshman forward Candace Parker, 6-2 Lady Vols forward Shyra Ely, 6-1 Florida forward Bernice Mosby and 6-1 LSU junior guard Seimone Augustus as examples of tall, athletic players.

"Are they forwards or guards?" Peck posed. "Shameka Christon of last year's Arkansas team was like that, too -- a tall player with guard skills."

Georgia coach Andy Landers said a talented backcourt keyed by much-improved sophomores Cori Chambers and Janese Hardrick could give a different dimension to his Lady Bulldogs team that advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament last season.

Rick Moody, Alabama's 16th-year coach, said about his improved team, "We can be more up-tempo just because we're faster. We can make more plays at the basket this year. Simple things like making a cut to score look better in practice now."

Moody pegged Tennessee, LSU, Georgia and Vanderbilt as the top-tier SEC women's teams this season, but he said, "Those other eight teams are good, too. Two or three bubble teams in the SEC Tournament (at Greenville, S.C.) will either get into the NCAAs or eliminate themselves -- the way it's been the last four or five years."

Named to the Preseason Women's All-SEC First Team along with Augustus, Ely and Hardrick were 5-9 senior guard Natasha Brackett of Auburn, 5-11 senior forward Tashia Morehead of Florida, 5-3 senior guard Tameka Johnson of LSU, 6-3 forward Carla Thomas of Vanderbilt, and guards Armintie Price (5-9 sophomore) of Ole Miss and Tan White (5-7 senior) of Mississippi State.

Joining Vaden and Mosby on the second team were 5-9 senior guard Monique Bivins of Alabama, 5-8 junior guard Sherrill Baker and 5-7 junior guard Alexis Kendrick of Georgia, 6-foot senior forward Sara Potts of Kentucky, and Tennessee guards Loree Moore (5-9 senior) and Shanna Zolman (5-10 junior).

With six national titles (by Tennessee), 10 runner-up finishes, 27 Final Four appearances and 81 first-team All-America honorees over the years, the SEC understandably proclaims itself the premier women's basketball league.

It's no surprise, then, that SEC women's teams will appear on televsion 57 times this season, including 13 national dates.

Arkansas is slated to be shown twice -- at Tennessee on Jan. 13 (Collegiate Sports South) and against Georgia Tech at Duluth, Ga., on Feb. 13 (Fox Sports Net).

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