Lady Vols prepare for Notre Dame

The Lady Vols got back to practice Saturday after a day off – and an evening spent at the Salute to Excellence – to get ready for Notre Dame. Go inside with Inside Tennessee for the latest on the team.

Glory Johnson was back at practice Saturday and wearing a thick black brace to protect her left shoulder. The forward spent Friday, a scheduled off day for the team, getting three hours of rehab with Jenny Moshak, the program's chief of sports medicine.

Johnson injured the shoulder lunging for a loose ball in Thursday's 65-56 win over LSU. Alicia Manning had the side of her face clawed in last year's game against the Lady Tigers, so she was happy to emerge unscathed.

"It was great," said Manning, who added "I think it was definitely" the most physical game she has played in the hard-fought series.

"Looking at Glory, I was like, ‘Man, I am so glad it's not me this time.' It was a rough one. Usually I'm the one that gets the brunt of it, but Glory has been getting hammered lately."

Manning and Johnson attended the Lady Vols' Salute to Excellence gala on Friday evening, an annual event of support and fund-raising for the women's sports programs. Seniors represent the various teams at the event, and sleeveless gowns are often the dress of choice for the student-athletes.

"I didn't wear the brace at Salute," Johnson said with a smile.

Johnson was able to practice Saturday, as was Shekinna Stricklen, who sprained her right knee six days ago in the win over Vandy and missed the LSU game.

"Awesome," Assistant Coach Mickie DeMoss said about having the pair on the practice court. "It's hard to win games without those two.

"I was very pleased, especially with Stricklen because I didn't know what to expect from her coming off that injury. But she moved pretty well today. She really did, and I think tomorrow will even be better and hopefully by Monday she'll be full speed."

Taber Spani, who hasn't played since the Christmas break while resting and rehabbing a severely bruised knee, remains off the court.

"With her it's day to day," DeMoss said. "Again, we just don't know. Jenny is rehabbing her and she'll say it looks like she is getting closer. But we can't count on it until she is ready."

Tennessee has not yet been at full strength this season with the entire slate of 11 players. When junior guard Kamiko Williams was activated in late December, junior guard Spani was sidelined and remains so.

The coaches would relish having a full roster.

"Depth and keeping people fresh and you've got people who can make plays," DeMoss said. "It just gives you more choices as a coach.

"Also, it helps the competition amongst your team. They know they've got to compete for minutes, and you hope that intensifies their play."

Tennessee will return to practice Sunday and then travel to South Bend, Indiana.

"Just finishing up some stuff," DeMoss said of Sunday's session. "We didn't get through guarding all of their stuff."

The "their" in this case refers to Notre Dame. The Lady Vols and the Irish tip off Monday at 7 p.m. Eastern (TV: ESPN2) at the Joyce Center.

Johnson intends to be in the lineup, sore shoulder and all.

"Tylenol, play through it," Johnson said. "Forget about the pain. I am hanging in there. I will be on the floor Monday."

VIDEO COVERAGE

Danielle Donehew, the former director of basketball operations for the Lady Vols and now an associate commissioner with the Big East talks about the "We Back Pat" campaign. Donehew also serves as a representative of the Pat Summitt Foundation.


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