Tennessee coach Pat Summitt had a contingent of media waiting – most of which witnessed a long practice of full court work – who wanted to talk about Thursday's upcoming game with Georgia at Thompson-Boling Arena at 7 p.m. (Fox Sports Net, Lady Vol Radio Network).
Freshman forward Candace Parker, who sat out Monday's practice to rest a sprained left ankle, went through Tuesday's session and showed some signs of ill effects but not too many.
"She's still sore," Summitt said Tuesday after practice. "She got a lot of reps in today so hopefully tomorrow we can just rest her, and she'll be ready to play Thursday."
Summitt intends to rest Parker on Wednesday – "That's my plans," she said. "I'm sure Candace (who always want to play) will have other plans" – and put the team through a short workout and film session.
"It's going to be real light," Summitt said. "She could possibly walk through, and then we're just going to shoot. We want our legs."
Tennessee will be facing a Georgia team that wants to run and has three quick guards in Sherill Baker, Cori Chambers and Alexis Kendrick.
Bench depth will be key for the Lady Vols. They are deep in the post positions but very thin at guard now. Sophomore Alexis Hornbuckle has taken over the point guard spot and will continued to be backed up by senior Shanna Zolman. Summitt wants to get freshman guard Lindsey Moss and junior forward Dominique Redding some game repetitions at point, but the Georgia game is not well-suited for experimentation.
"The Georgia game is probably not going to be the game that I would feel comfortable," Summitt said. "Hopefully if we could get up some games down the road we could run her (Dom) there, get Lindsey Moss more minutes. Zolman has played a lot of point possessions."
Redding can compete for minutes on the perimeter, and she put together a stellar six minutes of play against UConn with seven points and two rebounds and solid play on the defensive end. Her points and rebounds actually all came in the five minutes she played in the first half.
"That was very encouraging, her intensity at both ends," Summitt said. "There's no reason why she can't contribute to our team in that fashion every game. To do that she's got to bring it every day in practice. She fades in and out. One day she's inspired; the next day she's uninspired. I'm just waiting for her to do what a junior should do – to expect the same from herself as the coaches expect from her, because she could really help us. And I'm not talking just six minutes worth. She could play a lot more minutes."
That was Summitt on Monday. At Tuesday's practice, Redding stood out for both her play and her willingness to be vocal on the floor.
"I'm encouraged by her play, her attitude," Summitt said Tuesday.
Redding is aware of what she needs to do. She said as much Monday and then did it on Tuesday.
"Keep working in practice, Redding said. "Do everything she asks of me, and hopefully she'll give me more minutes. I was playing a lot and then she cut them so I haven't seen much action. I just stay ready because I know I'm going to get in sometime. I've just got to do what I've got to do. Passing, consistently going to rebound, keep my defensive intensity."
Zolman struggled shooting against UConn, and Summitt talked to her about finding other ways to help the team, including continuing to be a senior leader, which she did, and rebounding, which she didn't, though Zolman had in the previous two games when she tallied 12 total.
"Lead," Summitt said. "Don't let the team see you frustrated. I understand that, but you've got to step up and talk about what we need to do as a team. She's not a Tasha Butts leader; Tasha talked nonstop. She leads with her own style. I do think there are some other players on the team that are stepping up and talking more. We need that."
As far as the post players, Summitt has senior Tye'sha Fluker, who had two strong days of practice, and sophomore Sybil Dosty, one of the team's best rebounders, coming off the bench. Redshirt freshman Alex Fuller, who is moving much more fluidly after a nagging hip injury, needs to work her way into the mix.
"I hope so," Summitt said when asking about finding minutes for Fuller on Thursday. "I always have to wait and see how the game unfolds. I think we have to find out how much Lindsey is going to help us and how much Alex is going to help us. Everybody else I'm very comfortable knowing pretty much what I can expect. But I don't think Alex and Lindsey have had enough quality possessions for us to really make an accurate assessment. I just think we've got to get them more minutes."
The conclusion of a short "Camp Summitt" – classes start back Wednesday so it's back to balancing basketball with academic commitments – brought a smile to Summitt's face Tuesday.
"They responded," Summitt said. "I think they knew – after watching tape – that they needed to step it up in certain aspects of their game, individually, collectively. I didn't have to coach effort today. That's a good thing."