Coaches seek sustained effort

Pat Summitt stayed up until 2:30 a.m. Friday watching the Kentucky game film. Then, she showed some selected clips to her players Friday afternoon. If the freshmen were wondering how much SEC play mattered to the head coach, they don't now. The team got an earful at practice about commitment to defense and playing for 40 minutes. Their next test comes Sunday at Vanderbilt.

The Lady Vols will likely again be without the services of Vicki Baugh, who is much improved after sustaining a knee sprain a week ago but will be brought back slowly to ensure her availability over the long haul of the season.

Pat Summitt said the game film reinforced what she saw live Thursday evening, and her mood wasn't much improved a day later.

"We did not establish a post game with the exception of Glory and Alex," Summitt said. "Lyssi didn't run to the rim. She and Kelley were not what they needed to be. When you want to rotate and play four post people, they've got to change."

Alex Fuller had 10 points and six rebounds, and Glory Johnson added 14 points and six boards.

They also played lockdown defense inside against Kentucky's post players, Victoria Dunlap and Eleia Roddy. Dunlap and Roddy had combined for nearly 24 points and 17.6 rebounds a game coming into Thursday's contest. They were held to a combined 10 points and nine boards in Tennessee's 69-64 win. Kelley Cain and Alyssia Brewer had a hand in that, too, as they combined for two blocks and three steals.

But Summitt is seeking more consistent offensive play from true freshman Brewer and redshirt freshman Cain.

"We have got to have more paint points and last night we had two people run to the rim – Alex and Glory," Summitt said. "Lyssi would run occasionally to the block, sometimes about two feet off the block. She just let people (push her out)."

Summitt then used the media members interviewing her to demonstrate how Brewer was positioned by her defender.

" ‘There's where you're going to play. Excuse me, you're right over here,' " Summitt said. "That's what we watched. Until 2:30 this morning."

Summitt was in prime form Friday, and she said it wasn't because of Sunday's upcoming game with bitter in-state rival Vanderbilt (3 p.m. Eastern, CSS).

"It's because of what I watched last night," Summitt said. "I watched it three times – in person and twice on film."

Did she think the team was ready to practice at Pratt following a lackluster win?

"I think after they watched the tape that they saw upstairs … We showed them how they played," Summitt said. "Our defense? Amazing. There wasn't much good to show on offense either."

She meant amazingly porous, and that was mostly because of Kentucky's sharp-shooting from behind the arc at 8-14. Fuller's presence on the floor helped stop the long-range bombs late in the second half, because she was the one making sure everyone matched up in transition, one time to the point of pointing and directing a perimeter defender to get out on the shooter, while she scurried to cover the paint.

Because a day off needed to be scheduled this week the staff opted to take off Wednesday – the day before the game. In hindsight can that be done with such a young team?

"That's what Holly asked me about today," Summitt said. "I don't know. But to be very honest with you I don't think that they came out with great respect for their opponent. And their opponent had an opportunity to beat us. We were fortunate to win that game."

Did the struggle get their attention?

"I don't know yet," said Summitt, who added, "I think coming back and beating Rutgers and probably hearing about how great they were (affected Thursday's readiness to play)."

That would be characteristic of a young team, especially not actually realizing how every SEC team comes to play until they found themselves in the middle of a scrum.

"I think last night was a prime example," Associate Head Coach Holly Warlick said. "Kentucky was 10 and 5 and they played awesome last night. They had a chance to win it. They put themselves out there. Everyone plays well against Tennessee and rightfully so. We try to prepare them and say, ‘Don't look at their record, don't look at what you think they're going to do. They're going to take their game to the next level.' That's how it always is.

"We're not totally disciplined right now. We're just on the edge. We're not consistent. We haven't played a 40-minute game. When they do … "

"That's a big if right now," Summitt said.

"That's right," Warlick said.

"Have we?" Summitt asked. "No."

To this team's credit it has handled itself well of late when behind. The comeback at Rutgers – the largest halftime deficit in program history at 20 points – was one for the record books.

"Yeah, but this team puts itself in a position to have to fight back all the time," Warlick said. "We just haven't played – I know we're not going to play a perfect game – but we haven't left a game going, ‘That was a great 40-minute effort.' We haven't gotten to that point yet. We're getting there. … They see a big win and think we've arrived. We have not arrived."

INJURY UPDATE: Sophomore forward Vicki Baugh was held out of practice Friday but was able to do a weight workout with Jenny Moshak, the chief of sports medicine.

"She's making progress every day," Moshak said. "She still has swelling, but it's going down. The pain is better. Some things in there she felt them, but she's not walking around in pain.

"Swelling is still our enemy, but she's getting stronger and her gait has improved and her pain is down a lot. Her spirit has improved. I think she's understanding that we need to not jump into this. There's a long season ahead of us, and we don't need to have this set her back for the rest of the year."

Moshak said she had not ruled Baugh out for Sunday's game at Vanderbilt but if she played it would be for very limited minutes.

"We're going to be a little more conservative with this because she's already had an ACL on this knee and even though that's fine the knee is different," Moshak said. "You're looking at a torn ACL in April and another incident not even a year later. The smart thing to do would be to take this fairly conservatively."

Baugh's adopted dog Max, a Miniature Pinscher-terrier mix, got loose last October and after Baugh chased him down she knew her knee was ready. If Max makes a run for it in January, Moshak had some advice.

"I told her let Max go," Moshak said. "He knows where the food is. He'll be all right. He's been fed a few times. He'll (come back)."

Moshak smiled when told of Kentucky point guard Amber Smith's evening encounter with a Chihuahua while on a summer rehab run after her ACL surgery.

"Chihuahuas are quick," Moshak said. "Did you see that Taco Bell commercial?"

Tennessee point guard Cait McMahan remains day to day with her sore right knee and did not practice Friday.

"She's the judge of that knee," Moshak said. "She is a very good communicator. She and I have a great relationship. You've got a person who has a heck of a good heart, heck of a great work ethic and a raw deal on the knee. Very sad."

McMahan deserves a fairer lot in life, Moshak said, because she squeezes every ounce of effort she has, but her knee won't cooperate physically on a daily basis.

"You give her a knee of somebody who doesn't work as hard as she does then it's fair," Moshak said.

Kelley Cain, a 6'6 center who was coming back this year from realigning her right kneecap and sustained a hard blow to the knee in practice last month that irritated the surgical site, was moving better Friday.

"We're staying aggressive on the rehab so that's helping," Moshak said.

The rest of the team was physically OK, outside of the standard aches and pains. Moshak's concern for the team overall are the microscopic invaders.

"I'm trying to keep everybody healthy from all the viral stuff going around," Moshak said. "That's my biggest challenge right now. We're doing a lot of hand-washing and making sure they try to get some rest."

FUTURE LADY VOL?: With the news official that former Lady Vol Candace Parker and husband Shelden Williams are expecting a baby this spring, the inevitable question for Coach Pat Summitt is will she still be coaching in 18 years in case the child wants to follow in mama's footprints.

"I don't know if I can't wait that long," Summitt said. "I'd better hope it's a boy because maybe I'll quit coaching."

A baby's footprints are taken at birth, and Summitt was jokingly asked if she got those on an LOI if it would be binding for perpetuity.

"The handprint," Summitt said of what she would seek. "I like those big hands. I'm not worried about the feet."


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