The Lady Vols are coming off an 83-79 win over No. 4 North Carolina that left Tennessee undefeated this season but disturbed over the Tar Heels' dominance on the boards.
Monday was used to lift weights and watch film. Tuesday marked the return to the court but not before a meeting of the team and coaches in the locker room "to talk about our identity as a basketball team, as a program and a history of the seven teams, including what we did last year, that have cut down the nets," Coach Pat Summitt said.
The coaches printed out a sheet of statistics from the national title teams in 1987, 1989, 1991, 1996, 1997, 1998 and 2007 that included rebounding, shooting percentage, free throw shooting and rebounding.
"We hammered, hit it," Assistant Coach Dean Lockwood said. "It's a great visual. There's a real thread of consistency. There is only one time in seven championships where Tennessee did not have 42 rebounds or higher and that was 29 in 1997. That team shot 59 percent."
The rebounding totals in the seven championship games, beginning with the first one, were 47, 45, 49, 54, 29, 47, and 42. The title teams – minus the aberration that was 1997, a season that included 10 losses – also had at least 23 free throw attempts.
"Here's the thing: Rebounding and paint points," Lockwood said. "Our identity needs to go back."
Summitt left her office early Tuesday and headed to the locker room to intercept the players before they went to the practice floor.
"We put this (the stats) on the board so Pat talked about it first, and then they got a copy," Lockwood said.
Tuesday's meeting followed the one held by the staff on Monday.
"We talked about our team and the identity part of it," said Lockwood, who added it was a common exercise by coaches across the country. "You try to figure out the pulse of your team. After a game like that, what are they thinking? Are they happy? Are they sad? Are they up? Are they down?"
Candace Parker and Alexis Hornbuckle went to the post-game press conference Sunday evening – Shannon Bobbitt was briefly present and then had to leave to sign autographs as the designated Lady Vol poster player – and were pretty sedate. They were also tired. Both played 39 minutes and Hornbuckle had lost her voice – she left it on the floor, she said.
The final score was the most important number. But North Carolina had destroyed the Lady Vols on the boards, 57-39, and the number flashed neon on the stat sheet. It also was the most rebounds ever tallied by a Lady Vol opponent, breaking the 55 grabbed by Colorado in 1981 and Kentucky in 1978.
"We're proud as heck of them for winning the game," Lockwood said. "They got their butts kicked in one area of the game. We didn't want to come in and make it a negative hammer. We didn't want to come in and make them feel like they were being attacked.
"Each of the coaches had a chance to speak and one of the things that I told them is that a lesser team would have lost that game. If you give up 28 offensive rebounds and you let an opponent take 19 more shots than you had better be a heck of a basketball team to win that game."
North Carolina had 28 boards on the offensive glass and 29 on defense. The Tar Heels were 35-83 from the field; Tennessee was 28-64.
"I told them that we as a staff have a lot of respect for you as a team but here's what we have to understand is there's a thread of consistency to what great teams do," Lockwood said. "There's a thread of consistency how great teams win. We won. That's good. You can't say the house is falling down when you win a game against a team like that, but we're living on the edge when we give up 28 offensive rebounds. In the last two games, we've given up 53 – 25 to Louisiana Tech."
Summitt sees a team that can pace itself sometimes. She harped on rebounding most of last season, and Tennessee finally got on the boards in postseason.
"We waited last year to turn it on," Summitt said. "I'm thinking, ‘Maybe this team thinks they can wait.' But they can't wait. There are too many great teams."
Summitt also showed the team the rebounding margins for the top teams in the country.
"Tennessee, we are minus one in the rebounding column," Summitt said with a look that clearly conveyed how galling that number is to her.
Next up for the Lady Vols is Old Dominion, which also gets on the boards and has a plus-3.1 over its opponents to date.
"They're obviously going to be all over the glass because anyone who has watched us play of late … . They're going to come in and try and dominate the boards," Summitt said. "They're athletic. They get after you on the defensive end. I've been impressed with them. They're going to come after you, they're going to try and turn you over, they're physical, and they're going to try and get on the boards. They're going to run right at you. This is going to be another trial for our team."
Summitt does feel good about her team's ability to answer a challenge. She applauded their response to the team meeting.
"I thought they responded real well," Summitt said. "I was very pleased with them. We had good feedback. It was interesting. I told them, ‘Just guess how many years of experience our coaching staff has.' They started at 50. We ended at 98 years as a coaching staff. I said, ‘We're going to work hard for you. We have experience, but we want feedback.' I think we had a good meeting."
Freshman shooting guard Angie Bjorklund got the message.
"I think definitely we need to work on our rebounding," she said after practice. "We talked about that. Go out and be dominating right from the start, whether it's on defense, rebounding, every little thing. Everyone has got to bring their game no matter who we play."
Exams start Thursday – the day after the ODU game – and the Lady Vols don't play again until Dec. 13 against Middle Tennessee. Bjorklund has already heard that no team wants to spend a week with Summitt with no games after a lackluster performance.
"I know," Bjorklund said. "We need to go out and dominate this game."
Summitt intends to practice Thursday and Friday and then give the team some extended time off to study. She took off Monday – minus weights and film – to save the players' legs for Wednesday's game.
"We wanted to come back in here (Tuesday) and start preparing and be ready to play and have a couple of days afterward that they can start preparing for exams," Summitt said. "I know they're concerned about their exams. That's why I've already promised them you can have the weekend off if we take care of business and we're really focused on being the type of basketball team that you should be and that you have been most of the season."
For Bjorklund that means hunting shots in addition to boards. The freshman sharpshooter from Spokane Valley, Wash., is in the starting lineup because of her ability to hit from outside. She shot 2-9 against North Carolina – 1-6 from behind the arc – but Summitt's message was to keep firing.
"We watched tape and I said, ‘Angie, what did you see?' " Summitt said. "And she said, ‘I rushed, and I had no reason to rush.' "
"Exactly, Bjorklund said with a shake of her head. "They were tripling and doubling Candace. I didn't think I was going to be that wide-open. I think I was so excited to get the ball that I definitely rushed my shot. I think it is a matter of just getting my feet set and releasing."
The coaches have confidence in Bjorklund to hit shots. So do her teammates.
"I consciously look for her, as well as Shannon Bobbitt, when I'm pushing tempo because Angie is a great shooter, whether she's struggling or not," Hornbuckle said. "I have faith in her that the next shot is going in. If I was to lose confidence in her or anyone else on the team it's going to lower her self-confidence so we try not to do that at all."
Fortunately for the Lady Vols, Bjorklund has a gunslinger's confidence.
"As a shooter you have to think every time I shoot the ball, it's going to go in," Bjorklund said. "You have to have that confidence. Every time I get into my rhythm and I get my feet set and my shot is there I think it's going in every time.
"Even my teammates are behind me. They said, ‘What do you do best?' Syd, the other night said, ‘What do you do best?' Shoot. ‘So, shoot the ball.' Just having that confidence and support with your teammates and especially the coaches, it helps it go in."
Another freshman who needs to be ready is 6'4 forward Vicki Baugh, who comes off the bench to back up the post players. She only played four minutes against North Carolina – though she had two blocks in that short span of time – because the coaches opted to stay with the veterans in Parker, Nicky Anosike and Alex Fuller.
"That's one isolated game," Summitt said. "Certainly it's not going to keep her off the court. I went with veterans."
Assistant Coach Nikki Caldwell likened the coaches' strategy to a chess game. As pieces were pulled and moved – Tennessee also went to a three-guard lineup in Bobbitt, Hornbuckle and Alberta Auguste – Baugh was the odd player out, but only in this particular game.
Caldwell and Summitt said the coaches decided the game demanded veteran post players. They wanted to leave Fuller with Parker because Fuller can extend her defender to the arc and beyond. That opened up the paint for Parker to maneuver in the second half, when she scored 15 of her 21 points and got to the free throw line 12 times.
"When we needed defense I took out Angie and put in Alberta," Summitt said. "I thought Alberta played a really good defensive game. We were struggling on the boards, and yes, Vicki could have helped us there, but then when I put Nicky back in she was able to do some good things for us. She made a difference when she came back in."
Anosike has the size and strength to not be displaced by the physical Carolina players. Summitt said the UNC and Oklahoma games were not ones for a youth movement.
"In the Oklahoma game and that game those were two games that went to the wire," Summitt said. "She's still learning offensively. She's going to always play hard on the defensive end and on the boards. She's going to make an impact for us this year I'm sure in a number of games."
Freshman Sydney Smallbone didn't play against North Carolina and the reason was the same: The coaches wanted experience on the floor.
"It's like my decision not to play Sydney," Summitt said. "We were in a game with, for the most part, a veteran team and great atmosphere. They're going to come along, they're going to learn and they're going to be in a lot of tough games because we play such a tough schedule. But you can't fast-forward it. Do you play everybody to play everybody or do you sometimes go with your veterans? That's what our staff chose to do.
"I will be the first to tell her, ‘We want to get you more minutes.' They all know. Second exhibition they were all about to pass out. There will be games that they will play more minutes."
That's the flip side of the freshman coin. They need game experience so as to be ready down the road. At some point they will just be tossed into the fire.
"It's going to ultimately just happen," Lockwood said. "We just have to do that. A lot of times in games you hear fighters talk, you have this fight plan, and then you get hit four or five times in a row and now you're going on instinct and feel."
Lockwood indicated the staff also wanted to insulate Baugh for as long as possible. They know they need her to have a successful season, and they didn't want to overwhelm her to the point of overall detriment in the North Carolina game.
"With the way they were scoring paint points and the way they were rebounding there was a little bit of, ‘Oh, boy, she might not be ready for this type of game and this type of team,' " Lockwood said. "Rather than throw her in and have her experience a number of setbacks, we said, ‘Hey, let's let the vets handle this one.' We can get her some more practice reps and then there's going to be a time when it's going to be sink or swim.
"There are going to be times when we need her size, and we need her defense. We'll just have to have her playing. It's like parents with kids. They're probably ready more early than you think they are. An 18-year-old is probably ready for military service more often than not, but you talk to a mom or a dad who raised them and watched that kid on a tricycle and then a two-wheeler, and it's like, ‘Oh, boy that's just a baby.' Well in six months that baby is going to be blowing stuff up.
"I think with her there's just going to be a point where we let go and say, ‘Go in there.' We just wanted to make sure there was a comfort level with her. We felt like our margin of error in that game was very small. We couldn't have any type of uncertainty."
Baugh's time is coming soon, at least that is the staff's plan.
"We're definitely going to look to be more strategic how we play Vicki and definitely look to get her as much reps and minutes as we possibly can because we do have to get her ready," Caldwell said. "I think (Wednesday) night our substitution and how we're going to run our team in and out, I think we're going to really make a point of emphasis at looking at Vicki.
"In a game like (UNC) do you go with your veteran squad? And that was the call that our staff made, and we stuck by it. It's a chess match. When we go to our three-guard lineup with Bobbitt, Hornbuckle and Auguste you're shutting down everybody on the perimeter."
The coaches broke down game film and saw plenty to correct with the players who were on the floor.
"The other thing that hurt us with board play is we had to at times rotate our defense, which then put a guard down there trying to battle with (Erlana) Larkins," Caldwell said. "There were times when Bobbitt was down there with her or Hornbuckle. We've got to be better at hitting people early (and boxing out)."
Which, of course, goes back to Baugh, who is still learning the offenses but will instinctively rebound and defend.
"Where can we get more help on the board play?" Caldwell asked rhetorically. "We said we've definitely got to look at running Vicki in there a lot sooner, getting her more minutes earlier so it's not necessarily in the clutch of the game that we say, ‘Do we go with a freshman or do we go with a veteran squad?'
"I think we can get her in early. We talked about making sure that we progress with Vicki."
The topic of this strategic breakdown is taking it all in stride. Baugh is also, like the rest of the team, preoccupied with the start of final exams and deadlines to submit papers.
"I think Vicki understands," Caldwell said. "Vicki trusts in our decision, and she trusts that her time will come. She's very coachable, very eager to learn. When she goes in there her effort is tremendous. We've got to get her more opportunities and get her earlier minutes in the course of the game. That will help her and help us have more confidence in her, too, because maybe at the end of the game she might need to be in there. Time will tell."
There is a secondary benefit to getting the freshmen on the floor. The veterans won't have to log so many minutes.
"That's another reason that we want to get our freshmen more minutes," Summitt said. "I think what's happening is we have players that sometimes pace themselves. I'd rather have a rule where – and they know this – go all out, pull yourself. That way we know we are keeping people on the floor that are fresh and ready to play."
Hornbuckle and Parker acknowledged as much last season. They knew that there would be games in which they had to play 38 to 40 minutes and sometimes they had to choose a few spots to catch their breath during possessions.
"They don't have to this year," Summitt said. "To me you can get in bad habits doing that. We had possessions (Sunday night) that we didn't have five people sprint the floor. That's something we're going to address and that's something that will change. But we have to as a staff basically say to them, ‘This is what you've got to do.'
"We know that Candace and Alexis are playing a lot of minutes. Shannon is playing a lot of minutes. But pushing yourself hard is important and pulling yourself when you can't give 100 percent is important. It's two-fold. The whole approach is to be able to keep our veterans fresh and get our bench more minutes."
That tricky balance could begin tonight, depending on how the game plays out. The team will get a lengthy break between games, and the staff wants to set the tone right now.
"This one is long," Summitt said. "It seems like it's forever before we play again. Fortunately with a veteran team we should be able to handle it."
Added Caldwell, "We want to establish our identity right off the bat. We want to make sure that we know it doesn't matter who we play, what time of year that we play, that we're playing the Tennessee way.
"That's who we are. We're a team that owns the boards. We're a team that is aggressive off the dribble or putting the ball inside and getting paint points and trying to get to the free throw line, and we're a team that can make stops. That's who Tennessee is. That's what we're really going to focus on from here on out is making sure that we know our identity and what we stand for and why we play this game."
Hornbuckle broke it down in player terms.
"You have that time between (Wednesday) night and next Thursday night, but if you play bad that will be the longest week," Hornbuckle said. "It would seem like the longest week.
"Coach will find a way to kill us. We've got to go out here and find a way to win and do what we need to do and do it in the Tennessee way."
STARTING LINEUPS: Coach Pat Summitt is expected to start: Shannon Bobbitt, 5'2 senior guard, No. 00 (10.7 points per game, 3.5 rebounds per game, 3.8 assists per game); Alexis Hornbuckle, 5'11 senior guard, No. 14 (11.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 4.2 apg); Angie Bjorklund, 6'0 freshman guard, No. 5 (8.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg); Candace Parker, 6'5 junior forward, No. 3 (22.5 ppg, 10.2 rpg); and Nicky Anosike, 6'4 senior center, No. 55 (7.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg).
Old Dominion Coach Wendy Larry is expected to start: Jazzmin Walters, 5'2 junior guard, No. 4 (3.5 ppg, 4.8 apg); T.J. Jordan, 5'8 senior guard, No. 23 (16.9 ppg, 3.1 apg); Shahida Williams, 5'11 senior forward, No. 11 (8.0 ppg, 2.4 steals per game); Tiffany Green, 6'2 junior center/forward, No. 45 (8.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg); and Megan Pym, 6'4 senior forward, No. 44 (8.4 ppg, 7.1 rpg).
Old Dominion and Tennessee first played in 1977, and this will be the 41st meeting between the two programs.
"I have a lot of respect for (Athletic Director) Jim Jarrett and what he's done with the Old Dominion program and the commitment he's made to women's basketball," Summitt said. "Wendy, she works hard. You look at her teams year in and year out. She's got them there, and she's working hard and she's winning her conference more times than anyone else. We understand that we have to be prepared to play because she will have her team prepared."
Nikki Caldwell has played against ODU as a Lady Vol (1990-94) and also coached against them as an assistant.
"When you talk about ODU and their identity, it's very similar to ours," Caldwell said. "They want to get after you defensively, they want to run the ball, and they want to establish their board play. And that's much like a tradition of a Tennessee team. That's why Old Dominion has been able to maintain over the years is because her philosophy and what she believes in and what her kids buy into has not changed or wavered."
Tennessee recently had to drop its longstanding series with Louisiana Tech – the Lady Techsters will come to Knoxville next season, and then the regular season series will end – but the Old Dominion series seems safe.
"I have not even entertained any change in that regard, so right now, we are planning to continue this series," Summitt said. "It is interesting because a lot of people want to play us now. I think maybe they want to because they know that we are losing our core group of veterans after this year. We get a lot of phone calls. They started even two years ago.
"I'm pleased that we do have people that are interested in starting a series, but it will be difficult with us adding the two SEC opponents to our schedule and the fact that we have played some of these teams for so long, we still want to keep the series going, and ODU is certainly one of those."
SCOUTING REPORT: Nikki Caldwell handled the scouting report for the Tennessee-Old Dominion game. Here is her assessment.
When Old Dominion has the ball: "They'll get out and run. T.J. is probably the key player that we're going to have to aware of where she's at all the time in transition because she can just flat-out shoot the basketball. Williams, their other guard, she's more of a slasher-type player but athletic. You've got Green who can give you that low-block presence and Pym can stretch you with her ability to shoot the three. They've got a nice team. They've got a really nice team."
Caldwell has no doubt that Coach Wendy Larry will have her players ready for a showdown in Thompson-Boling Arena.
"Wendy Larry has been around the game for so long," Caldwell said. "I think she's going to have her team prepared to be aggressive offensively with dribble drives. I think they're going to be aggressive on the defensive end and try to force us to play at a different tempo. I think, most importantly, they're going to be aggressive on the boards. After watching our game against Carolina they probably have a lot of focus themselves making sure they get to the offensive glass as well. That's been a concern for us.
"I think Old Dominion is a team that can play with a lot of energy and emotion. When they get that generated they're even better."
When Tennessee has the ball: "A staple for Tennessee is a team that's aggressive in their transition game. That's what can separate us from other teams in the country. We have the three-point shooters. We have the player that can get to the hole. Our bigs can run the floor. And we come off the bench, same thing. Our bigs can run the floor. We have shooters that can come off. So we've got all the components of being one of the best transition teams in the country.
"But that doesn't come unless you're controlling the boards. You've got to control the boards to control the time management, how often you get the basketball. And then our deflections and steals. One of the things we pride ourselves on is being a great defensive team. Then obviously when you have the best player in the country with Parker you've got to go to her. You've got to establish her early and establish our inside attack to open up our outside attack."
NORTH CAROLINA REWIND: The postmortem on the North Carolina game was as big a point of emphasis as the next game in interviews Tuesday.
"We ended up coming out with a good win but still areas of improvement, rebounding being one of them," said Alexis Hornbuckle, repeating a theme heard all afternoon Tuesday. "A point of emphasis is getting on the boards because when it comes down to it you need rebounding and defense."
Having Old Dominion at the next opponent gives Tennessee a chance to see if the lessons have stuck yet.
"I know they're athletic," Hornbuckle said. "They like to get up and down. They play a fast tempo like North Carolina. They don't necessarily have the height and athleticism across the board that North Carolina presented, but it's going to be a tough game. You always have to focus on the other team, what sets they're running and try to take that away, but the main focus is always ourselves and getting better day in and day out."
Pat Summitt watched the game film and came away with plenty to point out to her team.
"We didn't protect the ball," she said. "We didn't close out by being aggressive. We closed out in a conservative way. We tried to finish that game, and we were too cautious, way too cautious. We'll talk about it, but we're not going to dwell on it. We've got to get ready for this Old Dominion team."
The rebounding numbers were still sticking in Summitt's craw, though.
"Obviously we have to be more committed to rebounding the basketball," Summitt said. "It was ridiculous how we didn't box out, how we didn't pursue the ball. I think we're asking about three or four players on our team to do all the dirty work, and that's not going to stand up when we continue on to postseason and that's when it will catch up with us.
"I think our basketball team today had a better understanding of what our identity has been with all of our championship teams and who we are. We are known for our defense and our board play. Certainly we've got some very skilled offensive players on our team, and they make a difference for us but even on a poor shooting night you've got to have something that's going to be a staple of our program and that's our defense and board play."
The coaches sense a team thinking it can get by on the boards, and they wanted to nip that in the bud in December.
"Our point is we're getting dangerously close to the edge and we want to ultimately be able to separate ourselves and that's one area where we're capable," Dean Lockwood said. "One of the things we can be with this team is we can become a rebounding force, and that's what we want to become.
"We want to give a message to our team, but we don't want to hammer them. We really believe you guys want to win a championship and so in light of that we want to help. So let's take a look at what we've done in our first six games and especially in our last couple. Let's look at some patterns and some tendencies and then let's talk about what we need to do from this point. It's an ongoing assessment like any season."
The calendar says December, just like last year's regular season game with North Carolina. The Lady Vols lost that game and used it to identify weaknesses that had to be corrected. The win is serving the same purpose this year.
"We can always learn from a win," Nikki Caldwell said. "Some warts were exposed and here's an area that we've got to get better in and we've got plenty of time. It is December. The good thing about it is that we know we have not played our best basketball. We haven't put together 40 minutes of dominance.
"That's the scary part about it – that there is so much more upside to this team and you're talking about pretty much the same team that won a championship last year. So that's exciting."
The rebounding totals – 57 for North Carolina and 39 for Tennessee – have been turned into a challenge, but the outcome became a statement.
"Yeah, North Carolina kicked our everlasting tails on the boards," Caldwell said. "They answered every run we had. They took it at us off the dribble and in the paint. But we still had the resilience and the courage to say, ‘Come at us,' and we ended up victorious at the end. A lot of teams could have folded. We know that we can string runs like that. They can, too. We had three 10 or more point runs during the course of the game against a North Carolina team that is a very fine basketball team."
No player is being spared the directive to get on the boards. Shannon Bobbitt, who is averaging a healthy 3.5 rpg from the point guard spot, has been asked to push that number to 5.5.
"She can get some more garbage rebounds for us," Caldwell said.
Caldwell also noted the high number of team rebounds for North Carolina – ones in which a missed shot goes out of bounds without either team securing possession – at nine. Tennessee had one in the game. That meant there were missed opportunities for the Lady Vols and "more loose balls to get," she said.
Dean Lockwood broke down the paint points that North Carolina scored. He came up with 58 – the official box score had it at 60 points – because his criteria were that at least one foot had to be in orange paint. Two of the 60 points on the stat sheet came from a short baseline jumper just out of the lane.
Lockwood found that North Carolina got: 16 points off of offensive rebounds with most coming because the defense failed to rotate and another Tar Heel rebounded the miss; 20 points out of transition with six of those points on uncontested layups and 14 on attacks to basket; and 22 points in the half-court offense with 10 from post moves on the blocks and 12 on dribble drives to the basket, which indicates a breakdown of post and perimeter defense.
"When someone gets paint points I want to see how they're getting them," Lockwood said. "Number one is our rebounding. We have to get more physical and have to get more aggressive. We have to be much more of a box-out team. We have to take away the transition opportunities. Our rotations have to get better. Pick up the ball a little earlier and make the ball change directions."
North Carolina Coach Sylvia Hatchell noted after the game that the Tar Heels should have gotten to the line more because of how many of their points came in the paint and implied that her team lost the game because of the discrepancy at the foul line. But Lockwood's breakdown revealed a lot of unimpeded paths to the basket for North Carolina.
Summitt took exception to Hatchell's remarks, and her ire seemed to extend to the Final Four game in April – won by Tennessee, 56-50 – when Hatchell hinted that the game was poorly officiated, and some of her players flatly stated such.
"It is disappointing that the last two times that we played North Carolina and won that the officiating was what was talked about, not giving us credit for closing out in both games," Summitt said.
ODDS AND ENDS: Tennessee leads the series with Old Dominion, 31-9. The Lady Vols record in Knoxville is 14-3. Old Dominion's last win in the series came in 1997 in Norfolk, Va. The Lady Monarchs last won in Knoxville in 1982, and they have never won in Thompson-Boling Arena. Tennessee started out 1-5 against Old Dominion. … Tennessee is 6-0 in games played on December 6. The last win on this date came last season against Tennessee-Martin, 85-29. Tennessee was coming off a loss to North Carolina prior to that game. … Old Dominion is coming off of an upset win win over No. 19/20 Michigan State, 79-73, on Sunday. The win catapulted ODU into the Top 25 in the AP poll. The Lady Monarchs two losses this season are to ranked teams in UConn and Stanford. Other signature wins include triumphs over Purdue and Penn State. … Old Dominion out-rebounds Tennessee in their matchups, 38.7 to 34.5 rpg – a plus 4.2 advantage. Last year in Norfolk, the Lady Monarchs controlled the boards, 34 to 30. UT last won on the boards in 2005-06 with a 31-28 tally. For the season the Lady Vols are averaging 41.5 boards per game and allowing 42.5. … Tennessee has played Old Dominion more than any other non-conference opponent. … The surgery date for freshman center Kelley Cain is Dec. 11. She will undergo a procedure to correct the tracking mechanism of her right kneecap and is expected to miss the season.