Lady Vol players to scout Stanford

The Lady Vols will split into three groups and prepare scouting reports for the Stanford game – with school out they have no classroom commitments – and Angie Bjorklund and Shekinna Stricklen were placed in charge of assigning players to a group. It's not unusual for Pat Summitt to have her teams watch film and present a report, because it forces players to focus on the opponent.

Assistant Coach Mickie DeMoss doesn't get a reprieve from the hours of film she will watch – the assistants rotate the scouting reports – as she will still prepare the team as usual. But the coaches are curious to hear how the three groups will decide to defend and attack Stanford after they watch film.

"My thinking is that we give them scouting reports and we go out and play and it is very clear that not everybody is invested in the scouting report," Coach Pat Summitt said. "And so now with them having to mix up their teams and bring different scouting reports – they're not all going to bring the same one – we'll see what happens.

"If there's a best one, we'll use it," Summitt added.

Tennessee, 9-2, and Stanford, 6-1, face off Sunday at 7 p.m. (ESPN2). Both teams enter the game in a rather sour mood after the Lady Vols lost at Baylor on Tuesday and the Cardinal sustained its first loss of the season Thursday at DePaul. The defeat also kept Stanford Coach Tara VanDerveer from claiming her 800th career win so the Cardinal will be seeking that milestone Sunday.

It's an unusual position for Tennessee – which is usually the team setting these milestones – to be in a position of trying to stop one from occurring on its home court.

"It's not so much about stopping that," Summitt said. "It's about winning on our home court against Stanford. Let's just hope our fans show up. If our fans show up I like our chances a whole lot more."

"Hopefully, we can show some maturity here," said sophomore forward Taber Spani, who will move into the starting lineup. "I just know for myself and for our team we're going to be ready to play on Sunday."

Sunday's game essentially comes down to which team has shaken off the outcome of the last game and is ready to redeem itself.

"Absolutely," Spani said. "Everybody has talent nowadays. Talent is so spread out. It's back to a mindset. It's all about who really wants to win, who wants to compete and who's hungrier.

"Stanford, we know they're going to come in hungry. We know that they want to get their coach her 800th win."

Summitt had quite a bit to say to the team at practice Friday about expectations at Tennessee.

"Basically, if you look at it on the paper, they just haven't won a whole lot," Summitt said after practice ended. "I told them, ‘Right now you are nowhere close to a Final Four.' We have Pratt Pavilion and I can tell you these players are not invested in getting in a lot of shots.

"I could go down the list and that's very disappointing because this program and the fan support that we have and the support we have from Joan Cronan and Mike Hamilton, there is no way that they shouldn't be as invested."

Summitt said she doesn't expect a team to be at the same level of commitment as the coaches. Players also have to be students while it's a profession for coaches. But there are ample resources – Pratt, videotapes, assistants willing to watch film or come to the gym, a sports psychologist, et al – and "they need to take a clue here that if you really want to hang a banner in this arena, which right now they're running out of time," Summitt said.

"I have been disappointed many times, many times."

Summitt indicated Friday that Spani would be the only change to the lineup so that would put Meighan Simmons at point guard and Angie Bjorklund on the wing with Shekinna Stricklen and Glory Johnson inside. Bjorklund will also get a message.

"The one thing I feel that I've got to do is tell Angie if she doesn't hunt shots we'll change her," Summitt said.

Bjorklund has 261 career three-pointers, just five away from tying the school record of 266. Tennessee needs for Bjorklund to hits shots on a consistent basis, but the absence of a healthy post game has hindered the offensive flow because Kelley Cain, Alyssia Brewer and Vicki Baugh all set good screens and will play inside-out to get the perimeters shooters some open looks.

Baugh and Brewer went the distance at practice Friday with Cain making it for most of the session before needing treatment for her lower back and hip. Summitt was happy to see them on the court.

"It makes our decision as a coaching staff much easier," Summitt said. "Otherwise, it's a guessing game for us. When Jenny (Moshak) says, ‘Good to go, good to go, good to go,' down the line, then that kind of gives us free rein to run the practice the way we want to run it."

But their minutes on game day remain a decision that has to be made during the course of the contest, and the coaches don't know from one practice to the next and one game to the next how many minutes the three bigs will be able to stay on the court. Baugh wants to practice every day, but she has to wait and see each time.

"Right now I am just taking it day by day," Baugh said. "Jenny told me that this year is going to be pretty hard as far when I can practice, when I can't, trying to read my knee and how it feels. It's just going to be tough.

"I had three surgeries (two ACL, one meniscus) so nobody who comes back from that does amazing but I have a problem with patience that kind of has affected me. I am ready to develop some chemistry with this team and I am trying to do my best to get back on the court on a consistent basis as fast as I can."

Baugh said the players out with injury haven't developed enough on-court chemistry with their teammates. Baugh, Cain and Brewer have missed a substantial amount of practice all season – Brewer just returned last week – and it shows when they take the court.

"Right now our post game, we need to get healthy," Baugh said, "because what happens in practice happens in games. We've got to communicate. We'll be all right. Most definitely. We have plenty of time."

VIDEO COVERAGE: Video clips of Friday's practice with remarks from Pat Summitt and Dean Lockwood.


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