Lady Vols hold advanced sessions

The Lady Vols continued their accelerated approach to preseason practice with in-bounds plays and defensive pressure packages added Thursday to the fundamental staples of dribbling, shooting and passing drills.

With five seniors on the court the coaches have a core group that can absorb new information quickly. The freshmen, Isabelle Harrison and Cierra Burdick, didn't slow down the process Thursday, and that has allowed the staff to make efficient use of the preseason practice sessions.

The third freshman, Ariel Massengale, remains out of practice under Tennessee's concussion protocol. She sustained a blow to the head in Monday's session after colliding with a teammate and has not yet been cleared to return to the court. The absence of Massengale meant senior Briana Bass and sophomore Meighan Simmons handled the repetitions at point guard.

Fifth-year forward Vicki Baugh continues to impress observers with her fluidity on the court. She also has a vocal presence that her teammates respond to, and that has been particularly beneficial for the coaches.

Junior forward Taber Spani did some dribbling drills with the team – as did junior Kamiko Williams, though she remained standing in one place while Spani was cleared to move up and down the court.

Spani, who had scar tissue removed last week from her left elbow, was limited to using her right hand for any dribbling drills or shooting. Spani and Simmons spent time on the court before practice started to work on a variety of shots. Spani is left-handed, but is now shooting right-handed while in rehab and has added midrange shots to her off-hand repertoire. Williams continues her sideline rehab from ACL surgery that includes mini-trampoline balance exercises.

Tennessee's new athletic director, Dave Hart, stopped by practice Thursday and had a friendly chat, based on their smiles, with Head Coach Pat Summitt.

The Lady Vols will practice Friday and Saturday before taking off Sunday. Tennessee expects to host two top 2013 recruits this weekend on unofficial visits in Mercedes Russell, a post from Oregon, and Stephanie Mavunga, a forward from Indiana.


Thursday practice clips

Coach Pat Summitt

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