Teresa Geter brings team to practice

Teresa Geter, the former Lady Vol who led the 1998 comeback in the regional final against North Carolina to preserve the undefeated season and get Tennessee to the Final Four, watched practice Thursday from an observation area in Pratt Pavilion and had her Allen University team meet Pat Summitt afterwards.

Pat Summitt, her coaching staff, Teresa Geter, her coaching staff and the players from both teams posed for a group shot after practice. Allen University, a private NAIA school in Columbia, S.C., is in town to play Knoxville College on Friday. Geter brought her team to watch a Tennessee practice and heard Summitt saying things that she tells her players now.

"They told me, ‘Coach, you say that about talking on defense. Well, we see where you get it from,' " Geter said. "I guess it sounds a little better seeing somebody else do it, but they're grasping information."

Geter played for two years at Tennessee, including the 39-0 season of 1998 as a freshman, and transferred after her sophomore season to South Carolina to be in her hometown of Columbia. She hasn't strayed far, as she coached at Denmark Technical College in Denmark, S.C., which is about an hour from Columbia, before taking the job at Allen.

"I was so used to my family seeing me play and in the two years that I was here my dad was probably the only one that got to see me play on a frequent basis," said Geter, a 6'4 physical post in college but soft-spoken off the court. "I just wanted to give them the opportunity."

Geter, whose nickname was "Tree," finished her college career with 979 points, 670 rebounds and 237 blocks. She was one of four freshmen on the floor for Tennessee in 1998 when the Lady Vols began a comeback from a 12-point deficit late in the second half against North Carolina in a regional final played in Nashville.

Geter tallied 11 points and eight rebounds in the game and hit a putback off a teammate's miss to give Tennessee a three-point lead with a little more than a minute to play. The victory sent Tennessee to the Final Four in Kansas City, where the Lady Vols claimed the program's sixth national title. Tennessee has since won two more national championships in 2007 and 2008.

"She was physical, she was tough, aggressive," Summitt said. "I think she set the example a lot in practice. It's good to see her now coaching, and I'm sure she's bringing out the best in her team."

Geter, who was hired at Allen University in July, has a roster of 21 with 16 freshmen.

She brought them to the session to watch a "practice at a high intense level every minute that you're in practice," Geter said. "I have a young team so making that transition from high school to college has been not as smooth as I would like. I thought that they needed to see a high-level team performing in practice because I let them know practice is more important than the games and now they can see it."

Geter's interest in coaching had been piqued before she arrived at Tennessee.

"This is something I wanted to get into once I stopped playing," Geter said.

Geter said her status as a former Lady Vol who played for Summitt still carries some weight with a team of players born in the early 1990s.

"A little bit," she said. "They think I'm old anyway. They think my playing was back when the wheel was invented."

"They're seeing a lot of things that we preach in practice," said Geter who added she uses Summitt's terminology. "Actually a lot of it, a lot of Pat's philosophies on defense, rebounding, I try to apply ever since I've been coaching."

The Allen players came downstairs to the court after practice ended and took turns posing one-on-one with Summitt for photos with their cell phones before assembling for a group shot. It was a long practice – about two-and-a-half hours – and they watched the entire session, with most of them standing along an upper rail.

Summitt sought out Geter for a hug, as did Mickie DeMoss and Holly Warlick, who also were on the coaching staff when Geter played at Tennessee.

"It's really neat," Summitt said. "It was really good to see her."

PRACTICE PACE: Jenny Moshak met with Pat Summitt on Thursday morning to discuss the various aches and pains of some players, and it was decided that an approach of quality over quantity would be adopted as needed.

Kelley Cain, who has a history of knee issues, also has an aggravated hip that could benefit from rest. Cain sat out the entire session, while Vicki Baugh, who is coming back from two ACL surgeries, missed the final hour. Baugh is OK, but the knee can get fatigued as it gets used to the power moves of basketball again.

"Vicki has a knee that is still learning how to be a knee," Moshak said.

Shekinna Stricklen, who has tweaked her knees several times and also deals with quadriceps tendonitis, rested for a few drills Thursday.

"The bottom line is this. It's a very, very long season, and we've got folks who have got some stuff that they are recovering from and that kind of thing," said Moshak, the team's chief of sports medicine. "Coach Summitt and I have talked and we're going to take a quality versus quantity approach with Kelley, with Vicki, with Strick, with whoever we need to is the bottom line."

Moshak said the earlier start to practice led to the approach of "being very smart and looking at where we are in the season and looking at how we have to build things. The way we see it we started two weeks early, which gives us that advantage to where we can play with some time. Because the quality versus quantity, having somebody out there 100 percent versus having them out there 50 percent is a big difference."

Summitt endorsed the decision and put the implementation into Moshak's hands.

"We can be patient right now," Summitt said. "We've got time and the main thing is to get them healthy. I feel good about it and I told Jenny ultimately it's her decision, but we want to err on the side of caution."

Moshak said the good news is that players are physically OK but occasionally need some extra rest to prevent a tweak from becoming a nagging injury.

"Get a little bit ahead of things," Moshak said. "It's good, and I think it's going to stay good if we stay smart. I get paid money and I've got a couple of degrees, and I've got a couple of certifications to be smart in this process, and that's what we're going to do.

"Anybody who needs it we're going to do it. What needs to happen is that everybody understands it's a team approach and that when somebody else is sitting out a day to get this maintenance quality rest then others need to step up."

Moshak had good news about Alyssia Brewer, who is recovering from Achilles tendon surgery on Sept. 10 after a shard of class from a broken candle base sliced the area around the back of her heel.

"Lyssi is ahead of schedule," Moshak said. "We're looking at more like the three month (return) versus four month."

Last week Summitt said a likely return date for Brewer would be early January.

"It will be before then," said Moshak, who gave Summitt the news Thursday, and estimated it would be some time in December.

"That's great news," Summitt said. "That will make a big difference. (But) we're not going to just throw her out there. We're going to watch her and see how she feels and let Jenny gauge when she can go and how much she needs to be on the floor."

Brewer has remained in good spirits. On Thursday she led the team in warmups, not by doing them but by imitating Heather Mason, the strength and conditioning coach, with handclaps and catchphrases as Brewer directed the team down the court. It was a spot-on impression and entertained her teammates.

Freshman point guard Lauren Avant remains out of practice as she treats a nerve contusion in her right hand. The news was good in her case, too.

"Lauren is day to day, but she is improving greatly," Moshak said.

COACHES PICKS: The SEC coaches predicted order of finish and preseason all-conference teams were announced Thursday.

As with the media vote, the coaches picked Tennessee and Kentucky to finish first and second, respectively, in the league followed by LSU, Georgia, Vanderbilt, Auburn, South Carolina, Alabama, Ole Miss, Florida, Arkansas and Mississippi State.

Tennessee's Angie Bjorklund and Shekinna Stricklen were named to the Coaches' All-SEC First Team, while Lady Vols Kelley Cain and Glory Johnson made the Second Team list.

Kentucky senior forward Victoria Dunlap was selected as the Preseason Player of the Year by the coaches with eight votes, matching the media's pick. Coaches can't vote for their own players. Joining Dunlap, Bjorklund and Stricklen (two coach votes for player of the year) on the First Team were Kentucky's A'dia Mathies, Auburn's Alli Smalley, Georgia's Porsha Phillips, LSU's LaSondra Barrett and Vanderbilt's Jence Rhoads (one coach vote for player of the year).

Joining Cain and Johnson on the Second Team were Alabama's Tierney Jenkins, Arkansas' C'eira Ricketts, Georgia's Jasmine James, LSU's Katherine Graham, South Carolina's Marah Strickland (the Maryland transfer got one coach vote for player of the year) and Vanderbilt's Hannah Tuomi.

VIDEO COVERAGE: InsideTennessee.com has video clips from Thursday's practice and the visit from Teresa Geter and her Allen University team.

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