Summitt selects two new starters for Sunday's game

Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt has always advocated writing her starters' names in pencil, and after four games into the season she has wielded her eraser. <p> Two Lady Vols will make their first starts of the season Sunday against Temple. One has starter's experience. The other is just a freshman.

Senior Brittany Jackson will replace senior Shyra Ely on the perimeter, and freshman Nicky Anosike will start at center in place of junior Tye'sha Fluker.

The changes, according to Summitt, reflect the effort put forth by Jackson and Anosike in practice and in games. Summitt has said her starters will be fluid, because she wants every player to feel like she could crack the lineup. She also never wants the starters to become complacent.

"We're not locked in," Summitt said Saturday after practice. "We need to reward the people that are doing well, and we need to make sure that everyone understands the responsibility of being a starter."

The insertion of Jackson and Anosike will ratchet up the defense, a Summitt staple that she felt was missing in the Thursday loss at Texas. While Anosike is a neophyte offensively, Jackson can be counted to score either from the field or the free throw line.

"Her offense has been consistent, but the reason that I'm comfortable to start her is because of how she's played on the defensive end," Summitt said of Jackson.

Starting Anosike seems to have arisen from a three-fold decision: she earned it, she needs to learn on the court, and there's no better time than November to immerse a young player in the game.

"To me, Nicky, is a player that has a lot to learn, but she's very eager," Summitt said. "And to give her as much game experience as we can we have to understand it's November. And to reward her for how she competed the other night. Competitive people deserve that type of reward. And it's every day with her. You can always count on her to bust it on the court. She brings a lot of energy to our team."

This lineup also isn't etched in stone, and Ely and Fluker could earn their way back.

"In this program they found out you don't perform, and others do, there's consequences," Summitt said.

Jackson started five games as a freshman, five as a sophomore and eight last season so it's not an unfamiliar role for her.

"This is my last year. I just want to help this team as much as I can," Jackson said after practice Saturday. "So when I get a chance (to play) I've been really focusing on my defense. Like coach said she knows I can score so I'm really been trying on the defensive end so I can be confident on both ends. I'm doing pretty well, (but) I'm not satisfied. I'm just going to keep working hard, and hopefully good things will happen."

Temple will be playing its second team in Tennessee this week. The Owls beat East Tennessee State University on Friday, 64-42, after limiting the Bucs to 20 percent shooting (12-59).

Temple is led by Candice Dupree, a 6'2 junior post player from Tampa; Ari Moore, a 5'11 senior forward from Shaker Heights, Ohio; Kamesha Hairston, a 6-foot sophomore forward from Toledo, Ohio; and Cynthia Jordan, a 5'7 senior guard from Chesapeake, Va.

The Owls played LSU at home on Tuesday and were within three points with 7:34 to play but lost 65-51. Jordan and Dupree scored 14 points each against LSU.

U.S. Olympian, WNBA standout and Philadelphia native Dawn Staley began her fifth year this season as Temple's coach. The Owls were 21-10 last year and finished first in the Atlantic-10 Conference. This will be the first-ever meeting between the two schools.

"I've obviously excited to start this series," Summitt said. "Dawn Staley has been a great player and has done a great job of building the program there at Temple."

Summitt, Jackson and sophomore forward Sidney Spencer are ready to return to the court Sunday and put the Texas game in the rear-view mirror. Summitt watched 1.5 hours of film Saturday of the Lady Longhorns game. "Ugly. It looked ugly," Summitt said. "Texas looked just as good as they played."

"We just didn't come to play," Jackson said. "They wanted it more than we did. You can't do that, especially at Texas."

Jackson will be looking for an inspired Tennessee team to take the floor Sunday.

"I hope we come out tomorrow fired up and ready to play," she said. "I'm sure we disappointed people the way we played so we've got to come out and play our game and play together as a team. I think we'll do that. I'm excited to play tomorrow (Sunday) and get the bad stuff out of the system."

"We can be more aggressive as a team," said Spencer, who said starters need to set the tone in the first four minutes. "That's our responsibility as a starter, and we didn't do that in either half of the Texas game. There were several points where I don't think we stopped and realized we're only six points down. … I think we'll come out ready to play (Sunday). I think everybody will play aggressive. I'll be anxious to see how we do rebounding-wise and how our post game steps up."

Two of Tennessee's four games have been televised. Against N.C. State the team struggled offensively. Against Texas, the team just struggled. A more-balanced and aggressive Lady Vol team was on display against UT-Chattanooga and George Washington. Anyone who only saw the televised games hasn't "seen a consistent Tennessee team," Spencer said.

The Temple game will not be televised. The one after it – Duke on Thursday, Dec. 2 – will be. Spencer said the players don't notice – "the cameras are so far away – so that shouldn't affect their on-court performance.

Regardless of who's watching, Summitt wants to see the Lady Vols "bring the intensity on the defensive end and knock down shots." She changed her lineup after she didn't see it against Texas.

STITCHED UP: Junior guard Shanna Zolman has a black eye and six stitches after taking an elbow to the left eyebrow in a scrimmage Friday. She practiced Saturday. Oddly enough it was her teammate in the scrimmage, Alexis Hornbuckle, who accidentally nailed her. … Sophomore Sidney Spencer has stitches in her lower leg after suffering a cut and bruised shin in the exhibition game against the West Coast All-Stars. She has been wearing a pad and tape to protect the wound during games.


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