Lady Vols prepare for Vandy rematch

The Lady Vols got back to practice at the arena but not before meeting with the media. Go inside with InsideTennessee for coverage, including practice clips.

The Lady Vols have a rare bye this week and won't tip off again until Sunday against in-state foe Vanderbilt as part of the ESPN network's Rivalry Week promotion. Game time at the arena is 5 p.m. with ESPN2 having the broadcast.

The game is also Tennessee's "Think Pink, Bleed Orange" promotion to raise awareness of breast cancer and raise funds for "Champions for a Cause," the foundation started by Holly Warlick and Nikki Caldwell after Warlick's grandmother, Dona Long, now deceased, was diagnosed with breast cancer.

The cause got even more personal for Warlick when her sister, Marion Ferrill, was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and underwent a double mastectomy in November. Ferrill is doing well now and will be at Sunday's game, as she is a regular at home games and has made a couple of road trips, too.

Warlick began her weekly exchange with local media with a statement about her sister and the importance of breast health and how Sunday's game seeks to raise awareness of screening and the need for research.

"You talk about courage and competing … It's incredible what she went through and I am proud of her how she went through it," Warlick said. "We're very blessed that she made it through."

The pink campaign has spread across sports from high schools to colleges to pros.

"It brings awareness and that is what we are trying to do," Warlick said. "Awareness allows you to raise money."

Warlick and Caldwell's foundation raises funds for research, treatment and screening exams, and the two will make another motorcycle tour in the spring.

"We're going to do what we can to continue to beat it," Warlick said.

The Lady Vol players wore pink shoes at practice to get them broken in before Sunday's game. They also had a few pink basketballs on the rack. Both teams Sunday with wear pink uniforms of different shades.

Tennessee and Knoxville's minor league hockey team have a joint promotion this weekend. Fans attending Saturday's "Pink in the Rink" game at the Civic Coliseum will receive a $2 discount if they show a ticket or proof of purchase for Sunday's Tennessee-Vandy game. Ice Bears fans can show their ticket stubs Sunday for $3 off a general admission ticket to the Lady Vols game.

Warlick welcomed having a bye this week – Tennessee doesn't play Thursday – to allow additional healing time for her team.

Rebounding was a primary focus of Wednesday's session at the arena, particularly boxing out, as the Lady Vols have been vulnerable to weak-side boards while on defense. Dean Lockwood and Kyra Elzy executed what could only be described as a bad-shot drill as they tossed balls at the goal with the intention of creating rebounds, not making baskets.

The Lady Vols could be edging closer to a roster of 10 available players. Isabelle Harrison is off of her crutches and walking well following knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus nearly two weeks ago. It is very likely the sophomore post could return this season, perhaps by the end of the month.

Freshman guard Andraya Carter won't return this season, but she took the floor at times for dribbling drills and other non-contact reps in an indication that she has progressed well with shoulder surgery and rehab.

With the top of the SEC standings at stake, the rival Commodores in town, national TV audience and a Think Pink cause that matters to the players, Warlick expects her team to be ready Sunday.

"I think they're excited," Warlick said. "I think they'll be ready to play."

INSIDE TENNESSEE VIDEO COVERAGE

Wednesday practice clips

Holly Warlick

Kamiko Williams

Ariel Massengale


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