Lady Vols theme: 'Fill up' in '07

Sophomore Candace Parker was able to practice Friday after spraining her ankle earlier this week, and freshman Nicci Moats practiced for the first time this week after spending time on the sidelines for rehab.

Friday was busy for the Lady Vols players and staff. Before a short afternoon practice they did the promotional shoots for the video images that are broadcast on the big screen in Thompson-Boling Arena. The players were wearing their orange road uniforms, which feature a wide white-and-blue stripe down the sides of the jersey and shorts. The Lady Vol logo is on the left leg of the shorts, and the upper left of the jersey has a U.S. flag patch. After a low-impact afternoon practice, the players and staff returned for a later evening practice session that was held in conjunction with a clinic for coaches. The clinic continues at the arena Saturday with coaches Pat Summitt and Bruce Pearl and their staffs.

Candace Parker, who sprained her right ankle Wednesday after stepping on the foot of a practice player, showed no ill effects from the incident. Moats, a post player who will be needed this season for depth purposes, also was able to participate in practice and moved well on the court.

The team will practice Saturday and Sunday afternoons as they head into the stretch run before the first exhibition game on Wednesday, Nov. 1, against Carson-Newman at 7 p.m. at the arena.

The men's team plays its first exhibition game on Tuesday, Oct. 31, against LeMoyne-Owen. Children in costume under the age of 12 will receive free admission for the Halloween game. Tickets are available two hours before tip-off in the ticket office, and the child must be present. Gates open at 6 p.m., and pre-game festivities will include trick-or-treating and an autograph session with the Lady Vols basketball team. The women's basketball team also will hold a three-point shooting contest during halftime.

Before the women's game Wednesday, the men's players will be available for an autograph session with the gates opening at 6 p.m. They will hold a three-point contest at halftime also. Parking for both games is free.

The 2006-07 media guides have arrived and this year's Lady Vols edition has a service station theme with the cover "Fullcourt Fill-Up." The players are holding gas pumps while sitting or standing in front of pumping stations, which have the national title years – 87, 89, 91, 96, 97, 98 – labeled like octane levels in black. The 07 numerals have not been filled in. The coaches are on the back cover in blue mechanic shirts with their first names stitched on a rectangular patch. Pat Summitt has the gas pump in hand, and Nikki Caldwell has a gas container. Holly Warlick has an oil funnel and oil pan in hand and, giving her an additional look of authenticity, a tire gauge in her front pocket. Dean Lockwood is holding a tire iron and a tire that is draped with a basketball net.

It's been eight years since Tennessee last won a national title, and the media guide theme recognizes that the Lady Vols will have to fill it up to get that seventh NCAA championship in Cleveland, Ohio, the site of the 2007 Women's Final Four. It is also the site of where Tennessee's season ended last year with a loss to North Carolina in a stout regional field that kept the Lady Vols out of the Final Four in Boston.

"One of the things here that I laugh about sometimes, in a sense of amazement, to have a program for 32 years and be in 20 Final Fours (16 NCAA and four AIAW) is nothing short of phenomenal because it is so hard to do that," Lockwood said. "It is just incredible.

"That being said that's still the goal of this program every year. Do we want to get back to Cleveland and play? You bet we do. It's been eight years since we hung a banner. There is no question what's in the back of all of our minds. But we have to also know that that's a day-by-day process. Wanting it now is not more important than our daily preparation.

"Cleveland holds significance for us because of the defeat last year, and the circumstances of the tournament. We want to go back there victorious, the old MacArthur thing of I shall return. He did it in the Philippines. We'd like to do it in Cleveland. Absolutely it holds significance for this team."

RECRUIT VISIT: Caroline Doty, a 5'10 point guard, attended practice Friday. Doty is a junior at Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania. Doty, an AAU and Street & Smith All-American, is ranked No. 12 by Scout in the Class of 2008 Top 25.

Inside Tennessee Top Stories