Pat Summitt less than pleased Monday

A poor practice is bound to happen at some point in the season, and it came for the Lady Vols in the latter half of Monday's session. Pat Summitt expressed surprise and disappointment at the performance, but she also realized the players have plenty of time "to take the reins to the team."

"They started out great," Pat Summitt said after practice. "We worked on our defense, broke it down, built it up. Overall from a defensive review and execution, it was solid.

"Then we started going up and down. As I told this team when you have veteran players and your best players are not your hardest workers, you've got problems. And today that was a problem. When we started going up and down we had people jogging the floor and I'm talking veteran players and some of the best talent on the team. We can't have it. We'll self-destruct."

Tennessee also was missing three players from practice. Freshman center Kelley Cain is still recovering from a blow she took to the head Friday. Senior guard Alberta Auguste saw the team's doctor Monday because of soreness in her leg, and senior guard Alexis Hornbuckle missed the second part of practice with some knee pain. All three players are expected to be OK and are expected to return to practice soon.

The loss of Hornbuckle from the full-court work likely hurt, but Summitt expected other players to step up.

"It'd be nice to see leadership from our veteran players across the board," Summitt said. "Alexis has been a jewel in that area. I don't think we rely on one person. I think what hurt is other veteran players not stepping up.

"Once the game starts players take ownership but more importantly now once we get into practice, they should be taking ownership. There's a certain way we want to play – we want to press, we want to run, we want to play up-tempo and bring the intensity. We can't do that by just turning it on in a game. You have to prepare for that every day."

Summitt expressed surprise that a veteran-laden team would have a bad practice so early in October.

"It disappoints me first of all," she said. "It disappoints me, and it surprises me."

But Summitt also noted that it is early in the young season, and the players have plenty of time to recover from a bad session.

"They've got time to take the reins to the team," Summitt said.

Summitt would like to see that happen Tuesday afternoon when the team returns to practice. On Wednesday, Summitt and two seniors, Nicky Anosike and Hornbuckle, will travel to Birmingham, Ala., for SEC media days. As usual, they will return later that day and will hold an evening practice with the team.

Monday's session wasn't all bad. As Summitt noted, the first half of review and execution went as planned. Candace Parker also showed some glimpses of her improved offensive package.

In two trips down the court Parker wowed some construction workers inside Pratt Pavilion with two of her baskets. First, she got the ball on the wing, drew the defense and then drove baseline and hit a reverse layup. On the second possession, she stayed behind the arc on the wing and drained a three-pointer. The workers just looked at each other and shook their heads.

"She's worked on her outside game clearly," Summitt said.

Parker was playing the small forward spot because Anosike and freshman forward Vicki Baugh were on the floor, too. But Summitt won't hesitate to put Parker in the paint.

"When we need paint points she's the best at anyone on our team at getting those," Summitt said.

The game plan this week at practice is to install much of the defense. It's the same method Summitt and her staff followed last season – get the defensive work in early.

"We're just adding to our defensive schemes," Summitt said. "We worked a lot today on our defense. How we want to guard ball screens and just some repetitive things with back screens and cross screens, just concepts as much as anything and working on bringing out team defense together."

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