Angie Bjorklund offers driving tips

Angie Bjorklund has added one more duty to her role as team leader – teaching her teammates how to drive in icy road conditions. The Washington native was somewhat amused at the reaction in Knoxville as snow started to fall Thursday afternoon. Bjorklund and the rest of the Lady Vols all safely navigated to campus Friday and practiced in preparation for the upcoming game against Mississippi State.

Tennessee (13-1, 1-0) will travel Saturday to Mississippi and will practice at Humphrey Coliseum the day before its clash with the Lady Bulldogs, a game Assistant Coach Dean Lockwood predicted would be "an alley fight."

The Lady Vols held a light session Friday in Knoxville with film, free throws and scouting report defense because Pat Summitt wanted to ensure that her players are rested and ready for Sunday's game (2 p.m. Eastern, SEC Network) in Starkville against Mississippi State (11-4, 2-0).

"They had a lift and a conditioning session this morning," Summitt said after practice Friday. "The main thing we need right now is to make sure we have our legs back. We'll travel (Saturday) and get ready."

Kelley Cain was able to practice Friday – it helped that the session was not full court and involved few high-speed drills – after taking a shot to her surgically-repaired right kneecap in Thursday's 79-62 win over South Carolina. Cain is expected to be OK for Sunday's game but will need some care from Jenny Moshak over the next 24 hours.

"She said she feels better," Summitt said. "We've got some time for rehab. I am sure Jenny and her staff will make sure she gets in (for treatment)."

Moshak had an assistant on the sideline at practice Friday because she was at the University of Tennessee Medical Center with Vicki Baugh, who underwent arthroscopic surgery.

Baugh, a junior forward from Sacramento, Calif., had been rehabbing from an ACL operation last February. She had practiced periodically in the fall in an attempt to play this season and after one of her best sessions in early December, the knee experienced some swelling, and she was pulled from the court.

"Vicki had been making solid progress up until early December when she felt her knee move awkwardly," Moshak said. "She began to experience swelling and diagnostic testing revealed meniscal damage, which was repaired today."

Friday morning's surgery was scheduled to explore the exact status of her left knee, and the news from the orthopedists, Dr. Greg Mathien and Dr. Russell Betcher, was excellent.

"The good news, in the words of her doctors, is that the ACL looks ‘pristine.' That is outstanding," Moshak said.

The swelling concerned the staff because Baugh has undergone two ACL operations on her left knee in one calendar year. She initially tore the ligament in the 2008 national championship win over Stanford in Tampa and underwent surgery in May of 2008. She returned last season and was playing well until a New Year's Day 2009 practice injury to another ligament in the same knee. She was in and out of games and then tore the ACL again in February 2009 in the game against Oklahoma and underwent surgery later that month.

Friday's operation addressed the meniscus – a partial medial meniscectomy was performed, according to Moshak – and the rehab time for that procedure is about four to six weeks. That process will start immediately for Baugh, who was relieved to learn the news after the operation.

"I think Jenny suspected that there might be something going on with the meniscus," Summitt said. "This right here will clear up a lot of things and bring some clarity to why she was having the pain she was having."

Oddly enough, a third surgery on the same knee actually provided Baugh a psychological boost.

"Absolutely," Summitt said. "Now, we've addressed the issue. She can get ready for next year. It puts everything in its place."

Debby Jennings, the Lady Vols media chief, relayed the news from Moshak that Baugh was "elated" after the surgery because the ACL wasn't just intact but "pristine," according to the surgeons.

"It's great news for her," Summitt said. "She's got so much time to get that quad where it needs to be (and get ready for next season). I think Vicki is relieved and rightfully so."

BODY CHANGES: Freshman guard Kamiko Williams has shown that she has the skill set and athleticism to be a contributor this season, but first-year players arrive on campus with several areas of their game that need improvement, refinement and sometimes overhauling. Put body language on Williams' overhaul list.

Williams is splendidly talented but has a casual manner that can try the patience of Pat Summitt, an exacting and detail-oriented coach. Williams' body language often makes it appear that she's not paying attention and on a day when the team is scouting the next opponent that is particularly upsetting to Summitt.

"You don't come in here on a day like today when we're preparing for one of the best teams in the league and (act) disinterested," Summitt said.

Junior guard and team leader Angie Bjorklund has tried to take Williams under her wing and help her. With no practice guys available besides Tyler Summitt because school is out until next week, the Lady Vols are playing five on five against each other, and Williams has often been matched with Bjorklund.

"While I was guarding her I was giving her advice," Bjorklund said. "I think just constantly reminding her about her body language. Her personality is a little more laidback. Our whole team has been on her about her body language.

"Because I know she is focusing. It's just her appearance is that she is not. I'll ask her a question, and she'll know exactly what is going on. I gave her some tips. She's just got to respond to it."

Williams recognizes the problem. Now, she has to fix it.

"I can do a bunch of things on the floor and Coach is talking to me, I can still hear what she's saying and doing what I'm doing at the same time," Williams said. "With Pat I have to get the body and the focus together. I guess I am so used to doing different things and fidgeting and stuff while listening and paying attention. I have to learn to look at her with my body straight.

"I do have a fidgeting problem. I do have to learn to get myself together and do it the way she wants it to be done. The team and Angie (remind me), ‘Body language.' I have to learn the whole body language deal. That's something I need to work on.

"I need to work at it. I think I can if I put my mind to it. If I can turn on my little light bulb to play because they need me, I am pretty sure I can turn on something and be the person she wants me to be and be focused all the time."

Daedra Charles-Furlow, who is not in an active role right now with regard to recruiting or floor coaching, was on the sideline Friday with the other members of the Lady Vol support staff and can offer encouragement from that position. Williams sought out Charles-Furlow after practice to talk. Stephanie Glance, who is handling Charles-Furlow's coaching and recruiting duties while she addresses health issues, has been helping Williams on the court.

"Coach D is my talking person," Williams said. "Whenever I need to talk to somebody, I know she'll keep it real with me 100 percent. Stephanie has been that little bug in my ear, ‘Miko, stay serious. You can't get too loose right now. You're doing good, but keep it tight.' She's been helping me a lot."

Summitt is grateful for the staff's help. Charles-Furlow is a former Lady Vol player and spent quite a bit of time in Summitt's crosshairs when she was a freshman in 1988.

"Daedra is really good with the one on one," Summitt said.

NO GO IN SNOW: Angie Bjorklund grew up in Spokane Valley, Wash., so the sight of snow falling and accumulating – her city measures it in feet, not inches – doesn't spark much of a reaction from the junior guard until she gets on the road.

"Completely," Bjorklund said when asked if she had laughed a little at the local denizens' response to inclement weather. "I have been talking about it with my teammates. People don't know how to drive in the snow.

"I was giving my teammates a one on one on how to stop. You kind of pump the brakes. They're just sliding right through. Slamming, turning the wheel. I was like, ‘You've got to keep it steady!' I have to plan ahead (to get to practice on time) because (local motorists) drive so slow."


Inside Tennessee Top Stories