Lady Vols wipe out Stetson in tourney

Tennessee emptied its bench in the first half and overwhelmed Stetson with their size and depth to seize a 99-34 first round win in the NCAA Tournament. The players pointed out their deficiencies – need to start faster and shoot better from the free throw line – but there wasn't much else to complain about in a game in which 13 Lady Vols scored.

Four players reached double digits for Tennessee, 32-2, in the demolition of Stetson, 20-13, but it was the two points scored by Briana Bass that caused the biggest eruption from the bench and crowd of 7,948 at Thompson-Boling Arena on Saturday.

Bass, a junior guard from Indianapolis who plays sparingly but has one of the biggest voices in practice and on the sideline during games, hit a driving layup with a fake – the team calls it the okey doke – that caused the Tennessee sideline to explode with players waving towels, dancing and high-fiving each other.

Kelley Cain, whose hip and back woes cause her to sit on the floor at the end of the bench when out of the game, even jumped up to celebrate. When the buzzer sounded to end the lopsided contest, the 6'6 Cain wrapped the 5'2 Bass in a hug.

"Considering it is our first game, I was pleased overall," Coach Pat Summitt said. "Maybe we had a few lapses, but one thing we wanted to do was get a lot of people a lot of minutes. You never know when you might have an injury or something and someone else has to step up.

"We just wanted to get everyone to touch the ball and share in what we wanted to do from our defensive perspective, making sure they know all of our sets that we want to run. We limited that quite a bit today. If you don't have to use it then don't use it. Move on, survive and advance."

Tennessee will next face Marquette, a 68-65 winner over Texas, in the second game in the Knoxville sub-regional. Tatiyiana McMorris drained a three with 5.9 seconds left in the game to send the Golden Eagles into Monday's second round matchup.

Marquette Coach Terri Mitchell was asked about dealing with Tennessee's depth, which can come in waves, after the win over Texas. She noted that the Golden Eagles wouldn't try to match it.

"We can't," Mitchell said. "We play seven or eight players, and that's what we've played all year. We're doing personnel (Saturday evening). Our team takes a lot of pride in being focused on personnel. We'll do that (Saturday) and repeat it again on Monday. It's their job to understand who they're defending, their strengths and how to defend them.

"That's why they're a number one seed – their strength, their offensive power and rebounding are all great. We're going to prepare them well and playing in the Big East has prepared us well for this kind of game with the competition that we see. Our players are excited for another opportunity to keep our season going."

Tennessee and Marquette will hold press conferences and closed practice sessions Sunday. Monday's tipoff is set for 7 p.m. Eastern with the winner moving on to the Dayton Region next weekend.

The Lady Vols, who have never lost a first round game at home – or a second round one, for that matter – first had to dispatch with Stetson, which got a trey from Tierra Brown to pull to within one point, 10-9, with 15:13 left in the first half.

"I really like how we played minus the first five minutes," junior Alicia Manning said. "I think we could have come out a long stronger. But we just woke up, and we started playing our game, and we had a lot of fun."

That was as good as it got for the Hatters, who would not hit another field goal until Brown hit a midrange jumper with 4:01 left before halftime. By that time, Tennessee led 48-16.

"Tennessee, in the film I've watched, is a slow-start team, too," Stetson Coach Lynn Bria said. " … You've got to box them out for 40 minutes. You have got to keep them off the glass. They wear you down. There is no rest when it comes to rebounding when you play them. You have to keep them off the glass.

"They want the paint. As well as they shoot the ball from outside, they want to take the paint. Between rebounding and dribble penetration and they post you up very deep, I thought at times we had good defense, and they still scored."

Tennessee dominated the boards, 63-31. The NCAA tourney record for the Lady Vols was the 64 rebounds tallied against South Carolina State on March 19, 1983.

"At times we did box them out but they still got it," Bria said. "They're just big and they power you. It's hard when you can't match pound-for-pound when you're playing someone else. It's hard to sustain that for 40 minutes. I do think we were there at times.

"Now, if we were 6-foot-5 and close to 200 pounds, it might have been a different game. But we're not. We have one big and it's just where we are right now in our program. This is a great step for us, but we're not that team yet that matches someone like them."

Tennessee led 55-20 at halftime, despite Summitt using all 13 players on the roster before the break in an assortment of combinations. Glory Johnson and Shekinna Stricklen, the Lady Vols' two All-American candidates, logged just 18 minutes each. Senior guard Angie Bjorklund tallied the most minutes at 21, followed by freshman guard Lauren Avant at 20.

"This is a great start," sophomore Taber Spani said. "I don't know if we could have scripted it any better – the fact that we're home, the fact that everybody gets quality minutes, gets acclimated to the tournament again. Everybody played well. Everybody scored. The energy is just very high right now."

Tennessee got on the scoreboard first with a Stricklen turn-around in the paint – the junior started at power forward with Johnson in the post – and Stetson answered with a 13-footer from Brown.

Both teams opened in a man defense, and Tennessee got its next points from Johnson in the paint on an offensive board and a drive from the high post and Bjorklund from behind the arc.

With Tennessee getting the shots it wanted, Stetson switched to a zone, and Bjorklund buried a three-pointer.

"We tried to go zone, and when you go zone they can hit the three," Bria said. "They shoot the ball very balanced. You almost have to pick your poison. We're not a zone team. Our zone is terrible in case you noticed. We don't play zone.

"But against them, if you have a good zone it's good. That's just not what we've done all year. Playing them in a good zone is a good game plan if you can do it, but it's really not what we do."

Bjorklund's shot started a 23-point run in a little over four minutes that ended with Manning driving to the baseline, spinning, looking as if she would reset the offense and then firing the ball to Cain for a layup and 33-9 lead at the 10:35 mark of the first half.

Manning pumped her fist on the way back down the court, an assist being something she always celebrates more than a basket.

Manning is the quintessential example of the Lady Vols' depth this season. The 6'1 junior guard/forward would likely start at many other schools and can play inside and out, yet she comes off the bench at Tennessee, always provides a spark, especially on the boards, and cheers heartily for her teammates when not in the game.

"I think our coaching staff has done a really good job," Manning said. "We all know our roles, and we know what we need to do when we go out there. There are going to be games where you can play double the minutes you normally play and there are games you may not play as much as you want to play.

"You just get used to it and have the team attitude. I think our team definitely has that. We're all going after one goal."

The pursuit of that goal began Saturday and the players said the start could have been better.

"We really could have," Meighan Simmons said. "We should have been on from the beginning."

The players apparently were ready to unleash a pressing defense – that has to be music to Summitt's ears – but they didn't harass Stetson from the opening tip and instead waited until after the first media timeout. An audible "uh-oh," could be heard from the Stetson fan section when the Lady Vols retook the floor in their full-court press.

It didn't work initially as the Hatters backed up and then attacked, finding Brown behind the arc for a three and the 10-9 score. But then Tennessee got its transition game flowing, got the ball to the paint, harassed the ball handlers, swiped or deflected passes and led 33-10 by the next media timeout at the 10:15 mark of the first half.

"Every time the post touched it, we worked on how we were going to take the shot away," Brown said. "But unfortunately, their size just overtook us."

The Lady Vols raised their level of play on both ends with a balanced attack on offense and a relentless pursuit of rebounds on both ends.

"We just kept attacking, attacking," Alyssia Brewer said. "It's hard to be able to respond to that and know what to do."

"Everybody was being active on defense," Simmons said.

Tennessee went on its first half run with its transition game and defense. Back-to-back steals from Johnson and Cain led to layups – Stricklen off Johnson's and Johnson off Cain's.

Stetson called timeout between steals at the 14:04 mark of the first half, but it didn't slow down Tennessee, which used the break to insert Cain and Kamiko Williams.

Cain got fouled at the rim, made one of two free throws, Johnson got the offensive boards, got fouled, made one of two free throws and then Williams hit a midrange shot for a 23-9 lead followed by Bjorklund's third three-pointer – she started the game 3-3 from the arc – on an assist from Stricklen and a 26-9 lead at the 11:56 mark of the first half.

Bjorklund had shot extremely well off the bench after returning from a foot injury, so hitting her first three shots as a starter again relaxed her.

"Absolutely," Bjorklund said. "The experience really helps and, like I always say, shot selection is important. I only take shots I can hit."

On the next possession, Bjorklund faked the three, stepped inside and slipped the pass to Stricklen, who buried the corner shot for a 29-9 lead at the 11:23 mark. That led to a scream from Stricklen as she ran back down court.

"That helped a lot," Stricklen said of Bjorklund's early marksmanship. "That always helps. When she's on it takes a lot off of everybody else."

It also led to another Stetson timeout, but Tennessee scored four more points after Williams drove and dished to Stricklen on the baseline for a layup and then Manning drove, spun and passed to Cain for a 33-9 lead at the 10:35 mark.

"I think they were like, ‘Wow, they've got so many weapons,' " Stricklen said. "It wasn't just the five starters. It was people coming off the bench and keeping the same momentum going."

Stetson finally got on the scoreboard again after Cain was called for a foul, and Simone Taylor made one of two free throws, for a 33-10 score with 10:15 to play before halftime.

But Summitt kept sending players into the game with Brewer and Vicki Baugh getting minutes in the post. Baugh looked especially comfortable in the first half and scored six points and grabbed three boards in five minutes of play. The temperatures in Knoxville reached the 70s Saturday with gorgeous sunshine.

"When it's hot outside, my knee feels good," Baugh said. "When it's cold, my knee kind of aches and hurts. I felt good and I am hoping to feel good for the rest of the tournament. Regardless, it's tournament time so I'm ready to step up."

Summitt used all 13 players in the first half, and despite the busy shuffle at the scorer's table, the scoreboard kept changing with offense coming from fast breaks, inside-out attacks, offensive boards and a 17-footer from Spani to end Tennessee's scoring and take a 55-20 lead into the locker room.

The Lady Vols shot 57.9 percent (22-38) in the first half and out-rebounded the Hatters, 34-13, in the game's first 20 minutes.

"Our player movement, ball movement, commitment to defense and board play was pretty solid throughout this game," Summitt said. "We can just build on that. I think that without a doubt we have bought into it.

"Depth is a real factor for us to have the depth that we have to keep people fresh, move people in and out and not have to deal with fatigue is really special. This team is very special."

The full text of Summitt's remarks can be read here.

A video of Summitt's press conference is available here.

The second half started with Simmons connecting at the top of the key after the ball returned to her following good ball movement. That shot is one Simmons hits with regularity.

"There are so many different places that I shoot it, but I think the top of the key when you shoot it's going straight to the basket," Simmons said. "You know it's going to go in."

Getting the ball back after a few passes seems to increase the likelihood of a made shot, too.

"It gives me time to catch the ball, get it in my hands and get a feel of how it's going to release," Simmons said.

Summitt kept the official scorer busy in the second half, and the Lady Vols kept piling up point from Manning's dribble weave to the rim through traffic to Johnson grabbing a defensive board and starting the dribble fast break before finding Bjorklund behind the arc for a 70-32 lead with 15:20 left.

Bjorklund got the posts involved on the next two plays – a drive and dish to Johnson and then an entry pass to Cain fed the post on the next play to get Cain the ball at the rim.

Stricklen had an acrobatic basket after catching a fast break pass, twisting to hit the bank shot and getting fouled. She finished at the line for a 79-32 lead with 11:38 left.

The crowd applauded every basket and even cheered when Baugh jumped to dislodge a ball wedged between the rim and the glass after an errant Stetson shot. Avant used her second half minutes to drive and set up teammates.

With 5:40 left to play, the Lady Vols were shooting an even 60 percent, a feat they had not yet achieved this season for an entire game, though they have shot 50 percent or better in 12 games. They slipped to 55.7 percent by the end of the game.

Spani scored four consecutive points on a layup from a Bass feed and then hit two free throws after getting fouled while grabbing a defensive rebound. Bass finished the scoring for Tennessee with her driving layup, a bucket that meant all 13 players for Tennessee scored in a game for the first time this season.

"Everyone scored," Johnson said while looking at a box score in the locker room. "I love that every single person scored."

Stetson had no such balance on its stat sheet and didn't have a player reach double digits. Brown, Natasha Graboski and Victoria McGowan scored seven points each. Sasha Sims tallied six. McGowan led her team with seven rebounds.

The Hatters shot 18.2 percent (12-66) – the lowest ever by a Tennessee opponent in the NCAA tourney. The previous low was 20.3 percent shot by Furman in the first round on March 18, 2000. Stetson was 12.5 percent (3-24) behind the arc and 77.8 percent (7-9) from the line. The 34 points were a season low.

Despite the outcome, the coach and the players embraced the experience.

"This is the greatest stage in women's basketball. I've been coaching for 20 years and this is the greatest stage. You want to come here for the crowd and the people. Being around town and people see us, they say, ‘Good luck.' They know we're playing the Lady Vols, and that means a lot to us.

"I wouldn't pick here on my own, but if I did have to pick one, I would come here because it is the greatest. Nobody has done more for women's basketball than Pat Summitt has done. You might as well coach against a legend, and she's the legend."

The full text of Stetson's remarks can be read here.

There was plenty in the box score for Tennessee to like.

The Lady Vols dominated the paint points, 52-14, and Tennessee's bench outscored that of Stetson, 40-3. The Hatters had just 13 turnovers, but the Lady Vols converted those into 22 points. Tennessee had just seven miscues, and Stetson got four points off of them.

"Great start for the tournament," Baugh said. "This team is on a mission, and it showed. It was great to have everyone involved, and it was great to have everyone score.

Tennessee had four players in double figures led by 15 points from Stricklen. Johnson got the double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Bjorklund added 13 points and was 4-5 from behind the arc. She has now hit 20 treys in her last 23 attempts. Brewer chipped in with a season-best 10 points.

Johnson's perusal of the box score also included a comment that two players got close to double-doubles – 10 points and nine boards from Brewer and eight points and nine boards from Spani. Every player except Bass got at least one rebound.

That meant there was plenty in the box score for Summitt to like.

"I think I saw Pat smile more than I have in awhile," Manning said. "I think everyone had a good time. Our fans had a good time. We shared the ball, we were aggressive on defense, and that's fun to watch."

"I think she was happy with the fact that we handled our business from beginning to end," Simmons said. "She didn't really have any complaints besides hitting free throws. We need to hit free throws."

Tennessee was 13-24 (54.2 percent) from the stripe.

"The one thing that concerns me is our free throw shooting," Summitt said. "That right there is a serious stat that we're looking at every day. They are getting their shots in but come game time, I don't know what's happening but it has to get better.

"That right there could cost this team and this program."

Summitt is referring to the team's chances to win a championship, a goal the players discussed last August when individual workouts began in Pratt Pavilion. One question then to the players was how they would handle a deep roster and having to share minutes. That question has been answered over the course of the season.

"We all just play together, and I think we're all committed to the same goal," Stricklen said. "We all want to get to the Final Four and win that championship. To do that we have to do it as a team, everybody has to be ready to play, and we need everyone."

GAME TWO: The partisan orange crowd enjoyed the Lady Vols' romp and then was treated to a close matchup between Marquette and Texas and a 68-65 win for the Golden Eagles.

The teams traded leads in the two halves – Marquette went up by as much as eight in the first while Texas built a nine-point margin in the second – but the game was knotted at 65 with 38.9 seconds to play.

Texas had possession of the ball after a timeout but Marquette blocked two shot attempts.

"At the end, all we needed was a stop, so we just told each other to play smart and work hard to get the loose balls," Marquette's Paige Fiedorowicz said. " If we did everything perfect, we knew we'd be fine."

The blocks gave Marquette the ball with 21.8 seconds left. Tatiyiana McMorris swished a trey from the wing with 5.9 seconds left.

"It was kind of déjà vu, since I hit a game-winning shot earlier this season," McMorris said. "I felt like I was going to be open. All of the Texas players went with Angel (Robinson) and once I got it, I knew I had to shoot it. If I missed, I knew we were going to overtime, so I was confident. I'm happy that we get to continue to play."

Robinson had 19 points and played a key role in coming back from nine down in the second half.

"We always kept reminding each other that we've been in this situation before and we can dig out of this hole," Robinson said. "We stayed positive, believed in each and we didn't want to go home. We got focused and we stuck with it and executed. We went back to the game plan that we lost track of."

Texas tried to get the ball to Kathleen Nash for a chance to tie and force overtime – Nash led the Longhorns with 19 points and nine boards – but she was swarmed in the corner and couldn't release a shot in time.

"Once I shot it, we knew we had to get back," McMorris said. "We had to transition to the three-point line. She had made a lot of shots during the game, and so we keyed on her and didn't want her to shoot the ball."

Texas Coach Gail Goestenkors was visibly disappointed after the game and offered her congratulations to Marquette, especially the play of Robinson.

"She took it upon her shoulders to really take the ball to the basket," Goestenkors said. "She would not be denied. Our defense broke down … but give her credit. You could see she made that decision which seniors do, and she just did a great job for them.

"She would not let her team lose. That's how it looked to me. She was putting them on her shoulders and saying, ‘We're not leaving here without a win.' She did a great job; she's an excellent player."

The full text of Texas' press conference can be read here.

"This is just another day at the office with this team," Marquette Coach Terri Mitchell said, referring to her team's penchant to create and get out of trouble. "The best thing is that we get to practice (Sunday).

"There's nothing like that, to be able to advance and play again with this group of women that I'm so blessed to coach. These seniors have a mentality that they will not be denied."

The full text of Marquette's press conference can be read here.

HALLWAY WALK: The hospitality for the press – a spread of breakfast and lunch foods – was held in Arena Dining, and the path to get there took media members past the renovated basketball offices.

The hallway is lined with murals and photos, and the entranceway for both the Vols and Lady Vols offices begins with a huge display area for trophies and awards.

The Lady Vols case is filled with the eight national title trophies, and the sitting area has the recent SEC hardware for regular season and tourney, complete with net.

The Vols case is empty, and the stark contrast between the two programs was apparent to everyone who walked by.

Embattled men's Coach Bruce Pearl has always embraced Pat Summitt and her program – the success he brought to the Vols ultimately provided the funding for Pratt Pavilion – and the turmoil surrounding Pearl and his program over NCAA violations has been difficult, especially with the rampant speculation about Pearl's job status following remarks by Athletics Director Mike Hamilton and then Friday's 30-point loss to Michigan.

"I know it's a difficult time for the men's program," Summitt said. "Regardless of what happens I think the university is going to do the right thing. That's all I can tell you."

Summitt and Pearl have exchanged text messages, but haven't yet had time to talk in person.

When asked for her reaction to Hamilton undermining Pearl's job security on the eve of the team's NCAA tourney game, Summitt said, "I really don't to get involved in all that. I leave that up to the men's side and the people that are the ones involved."

SHIFTING LINEUPS: With Angie Bjorklund starting now, Taber Spani was expected to come off the bench and back up the perimeter players.

But Spani ended up starting Saturday on the wing, and Shekinna Stricklen, easily one of the most versatile players in the country, shifted to the paint. Stricklen has played all five positions this season and once did so in a single game.

Pat Summitt had contemplated starting Kelley Cain or Vicki Baugh inside, health permitting, but she opted to start the tourney with a smaller lineup and bring the bigs off the bench. She had said Friday that she wasn't certain yet and would decide on game day.

"For all of us we just have to be ready," Spani said. "We don't usually know until right before the game. Right now it doesn't matter with the depth on our team, who starts, who comes in, because everybody hopefully is going to get minutes and contribute."

NCAA DEBUTS: Freshmen Lauren Avant and Meighan Simmons played in their first NCAA postseason game, and neither committed a turnover during their time on the court.

Simmons started, logged 17 minutes and tallied nine points, two assists and a rebound.

"It was a little bit different," Simmons said. "I think the tempo was a lot faster. Just the fact it's the NCAA made it a little bit different. I know it's going to get tougher in the next game, because everybody is going to be giving it their all because it's the next step to the national championship."

Avant came off the bench, logged 20 minutes and tallied six points, three rebounds and two assists.

"It was an exhilarating experience," Avant said. "I am looking for five more."

SENIOR NIGHT: Senior Day was officially held last month in the last regular season home game for Angie Bjorklund and Sydney Smallbone, but their actual last appearance in a Lady Vol uniform on "The Summitt" will be Monday against Marquette.

There are no ceremonies in the NCAA tourney, but both players are aware of the moment.

"That is really weird," Smallbone said. "It goes really fast."

Smallbone expressed a desire to play Marquette – she was speaking before the second game tipped off – and she got it after the Golden Eagles defeated Texas.

Smallbone, who is from South Bend, Ind., knows Gabi Minix, a freshman guard for Marquette. Minix is from Grovertown, Ind.

"She played AAU with my sister," Smallbone said. "She is a little bit younger, but I know her pretty well."

It has already entered Bjorklund's mind that her final game in Knoxville will be Monday evening.

"It is weird, but that's the process," Bjorklund said. "It's always going to happen eventually. I just want to have as much fun as I did (Saturday) out there to end it. Everyone was playing hard. Everyone was playing together.

"I can't believe it. Time flies, but I just need to enjoy every minute of it."

SENIOR SHOTS: When crowd favorite Sydney Smallbone connected on a three in the second half, the fans' celebration was so loud it sounded like they were reacting to the game winner. Smallbone did notice.

"Usually I can't but when it's that loud it's kind of hard not to hear it," Smallbone said. "I was more happy that I actually made the shot."

Angie Bjorklund, who started after coming off the bench to end the season – where she had enjoyed considerable success from behind the arc – nailed her first three trey attempts, showing her shooting touch was intact from tipoff, too.

"She did really well," Smallbone said. "She came out early and was knocking down shots."

Pat Summitt, who has sometimes had to encourage Bjorklund to take more shots, is pleased with her senior sharpshooter.

"I think she is at a very comfortable place with her game," Summitt said. "I also think she knows she has to hunt shots. There are going to be a lot of double-teams on her. She has to come off screens.

"I think she is very capable of going into this next game and here on out, really hunting her shots. She knows she has to put them down."

FAMILY LOVE: Glory Johnson has her own cheering section with five people in five white T-shirts, each sporting one letter of her first name.

Several times during Saturday's game, they stood up to spell out G-L-O-R-Y. One even has "Glory" across the lenses of her sunglasses. The T-shirts aren't the quick spray paint or marker version, either. The stylish orange lettering is stitched and embossed on the shirt's fabric.

"Three of them are my sisters," Johnson said.

One is a co-worker of her mother's and the other a family friend. The one wearing the tribute sunglasses is a sister, and she doesn't wear them otherwise.

"She'll probably wear them on the way home from the game," Johnson said with a laugh. "She's just very creative. They made me a doll. It was supposed to be me, but it looked like a snowman really. They put the makeup on the face and all that.

Johnson is the youngest of five children and her older sisters were not always so nice.

"I got beat up a lot when I was little," Johnson said with a laugh. "Until I got bigger than everybody else and then they stopped messing with me."

Johnson is from Knoxville and always gets a loud ovation during player introductions.

"I am just thankful for the support," Johnson said. "I have my family here and a lot of people don't get to have their family here."

BIG DRIVE: After the diminutive Briana Bass hit a driving layup with 51.7 seconds left to score Tennessee's final points of the game, the only danger for the Lady Vols was the possibility that someone on the bench would get injured in the celebration.

In the last media timeout at the 3:53 mark of the game, the players had specified to Bass that they wanted the "okey doke" play in which she drives, fakes the pass and finishes the layup.

"That's what we call it. Cross 'em up," Kamiko Williams said.

"Tell everyone to watch out for that one," Glory Johnson said. "If we call ‘okey doke,' someone is about to get taken to the hoop."

Associate Head Coach Holly Warlick was about to address the team when the players told her, "We've got it," Williams said. "We were like, ‘Just sit back and watch. We got it.'

Alyssia Brewer, who is good friends with Bass, logged 16 minutes, several of which she used darting across the court trying to get Bass to stay still for a second so she could set a screen to get her loose.

"I was trying to get her a shot so bad," Brewer said. "I was chasing her around trying to set a screen for her at the end."

Bass ended up creating the shot on her own when she took a pass from Sydney Smallbone, split two defenders, faked a pass to Smallbone and hit the layup.

"She finally hit it," Williams said. "We got so excited. Because Bree is so little, split two people, faked one and just lobbed it up there. I just feel like a proud mom."

"I think everybody was the happiest they had been the whole entire game," Brewer said.

The crowd stood and let loose a loud cheer, same as what happened when Smallbone connected on a three-pointer on a pass from Lauren Avant, at the 8:49 mark of the game to put Tennessee ahead 84-32.

"Anytime you see your teammates do that – like when Syd hit that three – how the crowd was, how the bench was, that just shows how close we are as a team," Brewer said.

The fact Bass added some flair to the play with the fake pass really energized the arena.

"We loved that," Avant said. "We just have a team-like spirit about us. We love seeing one another happy. It was good to see everybody on the scoreboard."

"For her to show everybody what she is capable of doing that is just really good to see," Brewer said.

"I loved it," Stricklen said. "You can just see the energy in all of us (after the shot) because she works so hard in practice. She goes hard every day. She stays on us, and when she does something good like that, we love it.

"Bree is always the main one up when we score, so we give it back to her."

Williams admires Bass for playing few minutes but always staying positive with her teammates. Despite the fact Williams takes minutes at the point, Bass has been the one to help her focus at practice and answer questions about specific plays.

"And when she does (play), she works hard," Williams said. "She gets her teammates involved, and she sprints the floor well. I love Bree. She helps me out a lot in practice everything from, ‘Miko, pay attention,' to ‘OK, Bree, how do we run this again?' "

Stricklen said the players listen to Bass, who has a good understanding of the system.

"When we're messing up, and she's yelling at us, we listen to her, even though she's the smallest one," Stricklen said. "She is positive to everyone, and she encourages us."


Briana Bass talks about her drive

Inside Tennessee Top Stories