Lady Vols officially begin preseason

The Lady Vols officially began the preseason Tuesday with court workouts at Pratt Pavilion. Go inside with InsideTennessee for story and videos.

The Holly Warlick era is underway – and Pat Summitt was in the house – as Tennessee basketball players took the court for the first time with the coaches for individual workouts.

With school in session, the NCAA allows coaches to work with the players for two hours a week – they will return Thursday – in groups of up to four at one time.

The first group to take the court was freshman post Bashaara Graves, freshman post Nia Moore, freshman forward Jasmine Jones and sophomore post Isabelle Harrison.

In the second session, sophomore Ariel Massengale joined senior guard Kamiko Williams and freshman guard Andraya Carter.

The third session consisted of sophomore Cierra Burdick, sophomore Jasmine Phillips, junior Meighan Simmons and senior Taber Spani.

Warlick reported that all 11 players were good to go and praised them for working hard in the three sessions.

Spani was ordered by Warlick to rest this summer and fully recover from a knee injury. Spani said Tuesday that she finally felt healthy.

Massengale, who suffered a concussion and a serious hand injury last season, also declared herself to be healed.

"I am perfect," Massengale said. "Jenny Moshak is one of the best. I am looking forward to the season."

Massengale stepped into the starting point guard slot last season and had first-year adjustments to make on the court. As a sophomore, she now knows what to expect.

"I won't say it's easier, but you know what to expect and you know what it takes to be successful," Massengale said.

Massengale will be asked to help lead a very young team – five players on the 11-member roster have yet to log a minute for the Lady Vols – but she is undaunted.

"Play hard," Massengale said. "I think a lot of the new ones that came in they all have a mind for the game, a great IQ for the game and know what's going on.

"I feel like if you just play hard and compete and give everything you've got that we'll be able to play with any team in the country."

Massengale also embraced the Lady Vols schedule this season, which includes three of the Final Four teams and the typical gauntlet of top teams.

"That is why you come to play at the University of Tennessee for reasons just like this," she said.

Massengale also is looking forward to new SEC foes Missouri – that will be a home game for Spani – and Texas A&M.

"I am," Massengale said. "I have never been to Texas. That will be a nice trip. And I have never been to Missouri."

Tennessee also will be challenged by playing three of its first four games on the road – at Chattanooga, at Georgia Tech, hosting Rice and at Miami.

"Oh really? I didn't even know that," Massengale said. "Oh, wow. That is definitely a challenge playing on the road, trying to get those jitters out.

"But we have a great fan base and support so I feel like no matter where we go, it's going to be Tennessee fans in the crowd."


Ariel Massengale

Meighan Simmons

Taber Spani

Holly Warlick

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