The Lady Vols all-time are 35-0 in first/second round games in the NCAA Tournament played in Knoxville, including Saturday's 75-42 victory over Austin Peay. Add in the 12 victories in regional games in 1982, 1984, 1987, 1991, 1995 and 2003, and Tennessee has a 47-0 record at home in the NCAA postseason.
For the Lady Vols this can either be a burden to carry or a tradition to protect. A team with no seniors on the roster is still sorting that out with each new challenge, but the coaches and players both feel Tennessee has come a long way since it bowed out a year ago in the first round.
That has already been established with the double wins in the SEC – regular season and tourney – and then a number one seed in the field of 64 for the NCAA Tournament. It was reinforced Saturday when the sophomores claimed their first-ever career NCAA win in postseason.
Junior Angie Bjorklund is a savvy veteran on this team, having played in 99 career games with Monday's matchup with Dayton to be No. 100. Tipoff is set for 7:06 p.m. Eastern (ESPN2, Lady Vol Radio Network) at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Bjorklund is the only junior in the starting lineup and usually takes the floor with four sophomores to start the game. That lineup was even younger when Taber Spani started, but a wicked case of turf toe relegated the freshman to coming off the bench beginning in late January, after starting 16 consecutive games, because of limited mobility and mandatory rest.
A year ago when Tennessee played its first tournament game, several players, the freshmen in particular, recoiled from the pressure and couldn't shake the nerves. On Saturday, the team started uptight – initial shots at the basket, Kelley Cain excluded, were well off – but Bjorklund thought in this case the team was too eager.
"I think it was just excitement," Bjorklund said. "We were all so excited for the tournament to start. It might have been a little nerves for some people, getting the first-game jitters out. We weren't thinking about last year, because we came in with complete confidence. I think it might have just been the first-game excitement and nerves and getting that behind us.
"I think (Monday) will be different. We're always going to be excited, but I think once the game gets going it'll just feel like another game."
Dayton is approaching the game with the notion that the pressure is on the other team. The Flyers earned their first-ever tourney trip this season – they had non-conference wins over Michigan State, Purdue and Georgetown and then took No. 6 Xavier to overtime before losing by one in the Atlantic 10 – and followed up that bid by beating TCU, 67-66, on Saturday after coming back from an 18-point deficit in the second half.
The Flyers watched some of the Tennessee-Austin Peay game before heading to their locker room to get ready, so they took in "The Summitt" court, the 10,000-plus orange-clad fans and the eight national title banners hanging above the floor.
"We got to watch some of the game and seeing the crowd packed full," said sophomore forward Justine Raterman, who had seven points and four rebounds against TCU. "I think it does help us. Our nerves are a little calmed down now. We've got the first round jitters out of us.
"We know anything from here on out is icing on the cake. We did accomplish a lot of things this year and that's exactly what this game is – we have absolutely no pressure. We have nothing to lose going into this game. We're just going to relax and have a lot of fun."
Freshman forward Brittany Wilson hit the game-winner for Dayton and was still happy Sunday.
"I'm still smiling, but I have come down," said Wilson, who is from Louisville, Ky., and chose Dayton because of the academics – she is an engineering major – and family atmosphere. "We have to keep playing because we have one more game. We've got to keep moving forward. Our coach was just telling us that we have nothing to lose, so we've just got to come out and try to give it our all.
"I feel like it's just another game. Same court length, same basket, so just got to play our hearts out."
Wilson, a 5'11 undersized paint player, had eight boards against the taller TCU posts and also contributed six points and a block. Wilson has lined up against 6'9 Allyssa DeHaan at Michigan State, 6'6 Ta'Shia Phillips and 6'5 Amber Harris at Xavier and 6'4 Chelsea Jones at Purdue, so facing 6'6 Kelley Cain at Tennessee is a challenge but it won't be a shock.
"I have just got to try to be strong and have to try to outwork them," Wilson said. "I know that I am undersized so I have to do a little more. I have been competing against a lot of tall players."
Wilson smiled when asked about not letting the aura of Tennessee affect a team when it takes the court against the storied program and said she was trying to soak up every second in Knoxville.
"I guess I'm still in a dream right now," Wilson said. "I can't believe this is happening and the fact that we won. It's an honor meeting Pat Summitt, as much as she's done. I am really blessed just being here, and I am trying to take it day by day right now."
The first-year player also knows that she had a big hand in putting Dayton basketball in the minds of women's basketball fans this weekend.
"I feel like we have placed Dayton on the map, and we want to continuing making history as the years come along," Wilson said.
Spani, a first-year player for Tennessee, understands how Dayton would feel after not only getting its first-ever tourney win but doing so in dramatic fashion. When the buzzer sounded, towels flew into the air from the Dayton bench, and the players piled on each other at center court.
"I would be ecstatic and we could see that when they celebrated," Spani said. "I'm sure they're pumped, and I'm sure they're going to come in with a lot of confidence that they came back from an 18-point deficit and won an NCAA Tournament game. Even if we do get a lead we can't let up at all because they've done that before."
This Lady Vol team is trying to plow its own path of Tennessee tradition and crossed a big hurdle with the first round win Saturday over Austin Peay.
The second round game at home on Monday is as much of a must-win one as the first game was – as Alyssia Brewer noted Saturday – because a loss would be a major upset, along the same vein as Ball State was a year ago today.
But a team worried about losing can't concentrate on winning, and that's an area that the team has addressed periodically this postseason with Carolyn Savoy, a retired coach from Canada who got her PhD in sports psychology from Tennessee.
"We're not afraid to lose. We want to just expect to win and go out and play to win," Spani said. "I think even in our first game, it was a big game and it was the first time we've played in an NCAA Tournament after losing that game (to Ball State), so I think the pressure is always there, the nerves are there but as long as you can control it and focus on the present and what is at hand, I think that will help.
"Right now we're confident, and I think that really helps, too."
All players develop their own pre-game routine to both get ready and relax before a game. Some like music. Some prefer quiet. Some visualize the game. Others clear their head.
"I'll say a little prayer, get my mind focused on the Lord and that really just calms me and kind of takes that burden off and allows me to play a little more free," Bjorklund said. "Carolyn gives us ideas. She's like, ‘Just run hard. Take deep breaths,' things like that. I think that helps a lot of my teammates, too, just to get the jitters out. It's really talking and encouraging, too.
"We don't focus on not winning a game or hoping we don't lose. We focus on, ‘We're going to go in the game, and we're going to dominate.' When we have that mindset, I think it's kind of like when you're, ‘Don't miss this free throw, don't miss this free throw,' you're going to miss it. You say, ‘OK, how are we going to play? What's the game plan? How are we going to dominate this game?' "
Pre-game anxiety is normal – most players say they feel anxious before any game – and the Lady Vols' tentative start Saturday was likely due as much to the two-week break as any demons lingering from the Ball State loss.
"We've been preparing for this game a long time, so it's like it was finally there, and I think we needed to get into a flow of things," junior Sydney Smallbone said. "I think it will help going into (Monday) night. We've got the first game under our belt. I don't know if it was necessarily we were uptight but it was the fact it was finally here, and we had been waiting so long.
"From here on out, we're going to have to play our ‘A' game every day. We're on track to get to the Final Four, and that's our goal, and that's been our goal for a long time, so we've got to play 40-minute games from here on out."
Cain expects some nerves before Monday's game but said Saturday's game did relieve some bitterness of a year ago.
"We're happy to beat that from last year and hopefully we stay relaxed, but there will be some nerves," Cain said.
If Cain had any nerves it didn't show. She started the game 5-5 and finished 9-11 from the field for 18 points, one shy of her career-high 19 set this season against Florida.
"I still felt like it was a home game. I didn't feel like anything is different," said Cain, whose advice to her teammates would be to "be calm, let it come to you, don't rush anything."
Glory Johnson hasn't been as comfortable the court of late as she was earlier in the season.
"Just trying basically to keep myself in the game so I can help my team," Johnson said. "It's rough when you do get into foul trouble, or you're not being productive on the offensive end because you want to help your team. I've been a little tentative. I know it's tournament time and I know it's crucial, so I've been thinking about it a lot.
"I'm hoping I'm a little more relaxed now, but we'll see. I don't really know until we start playing."
Johnson was one of three players that Summitt watched film with on Sunday before practice. The other two were Brewer and Kamiko Williams.
"Today is Sunday, and we had a little prayer meeting, and she responded very well," Summitt said of Williams. "I think the thing for Kamiko is she is more casual and laidback. I spent time with her in the film session, which I thought was very beneficial.
"We have to wait and see, but if today is any indication I think she understands this team really needs her and if she doesn't step up, it may be costly for us. So just getting her mind right. She's the type of player that gives in to fatigue. She can go for short spurts. But I told her, ‘You can be a mental midget, or a mental giant. From this day forward, you're a mental giant.' "
Williams has plenty of energy off the court, as she is fun-loving and often cutting up with teammates.
"We know she has a lot of energy," Shekinna Stricklen said. "She's just got to go out there and play her game and have fun. She's a great player, and we all know she's good on offense and defense."
Stricklen can relate to the struggles of a first-year player, especially one learning to play point guard for Summitt.
"I understand. I was just like her last year," Stricklen said. "Coach stayed on me about being so laidback. (Williams will) get over it. I learned real quick and hopefully she can learn by (Monday) not to be so laidback."
Stricklen laughed at herself at that remark, as she knows a 24-hour turn-around is a tall order for any player, but Williams nodded.
"I got it out of my system now," Williams said. "I talked to Coach. I'm good to go."
Summitt was somewhat critical Saturday of the play of Williams, Johnson and Brewer, but she said Sunday that those matters had been resolved after positive film sessions.
"I think the thing that's important is that they feel good about themselves," Summitt said. "Although I wasn't happy (Saturday) I woke up (Sunday) as a new day. It's a day to get preparation and order so our team will feel good about it and be very confident going in. Lyssi was the one that I was probably the hardest on, and I just think it's so important for her to really battle on every possession. She would pick and choose (Saturday), and I just wanted to remind her, so we watched tape.
"I thought Taber did a great job. I wanted to bring her here (to the press conference), because I think that she deserved to be here and also to understand how you have to get ready now for the next opponent. Good job (Saturday), but let's move on. Alicia struggled for whatever reason. I think she was trying to do too much, because she's been playing so well all along. I told her coming in here, ‘Forget about yesterday. Move forward. We've got to have you.' "
Summitt brought Spani, Brewer and Alicia Manning to the pre-game post conference on Sunday. Tennessee's early exit from the tourney a year ago deprived the team of getting experience – not just the games but the extra media attention and different processes of postseason. For the two sophomores and freshman, Sunday's session was their first on an NCAA dais in postseason.
Manning was solid in the SEC tourney in Duluth, Ga., but struggled Saturday, going 1-3 from the field with three rebounds and five fouls.
"I was maybe being too aggressive," Manning said. "That is the first time I have ever fouled out. I was like, ‘I can't do anything right.' I think maybe I was a little overanxious, but that game's done with. All my jitters are out, so I am ready to go.
"I think it was because the two weeks we had off. It was our first tournament game since last year, and we didn't have a very good experience last year, so I think that had something to do with it. I think we'll be a lot better Monday."
Summitt's approach since practice started in October was to impose her will on the players, who have gradually taken some responsibility from the coach and put it upon themselves.
"They're a team that is very close," Summitt said. "They're a close-knit group. They hold each other accountable. It's been interesting to watch the growth and just the maturity overall, particularly with. Kelley Cain and Lyssi Brewer. They kind of police the post game, if you will. Angie and Shekinna are working with the guards constantly. They have taken ownership in a really positive way.
"I told them, ‘It's not our team. It's your team. It has to become your team, and you have to want it more than anyone else in the country, so you've got to figure this thing out.' They have responded. Have I been hard on them? Yes. But that's my job, too. And our coaches are holding them to a different standard than a year ago, and I think that that's a good thing."
Summitt eventually wants a team to police itself. She has cited leaders on past teams, such as Nicky Anosike and Melissa McCray, who took care of a wayward teammate before the issue even reached the head coach. This year's team, despite the abundance of sophomores, is learning steadily to do that, too.
"I think we can check each other before Coach has to check us," Brewer said. "We have done a really good job of being able to get on to each other without Coach having to first."
Spani is the rare freshman who really didn't need policing. When Summitt found out after the Stanford loss in late December that only two players had been regularly getting in the gym on their own, Spani was one of them. The other was Bjorklund. Now, it's not unusual to see several players on the court before and after practice.
Another area the team had to address was a tendency to surrender leads, such as on Jan. 17 against Vanderbilt when a 20-point first-half lead had dwindled to eight points after a barrage of three-pointers.
"I think we have grown a lot this past season in working on that," Spani said. "Now, I think we are really trying to not necessarily play the team we are up by 20 against, we are trying to be the best team we can be. I think that has really helped us and the accountability on this team is much improved I think.
"We can definitely self-check that, and Coach shouldn't be the one that has to get on us for effort, hustle, and attitude. That should be us for sure."
Tennessee's players watched the first half of the Dayton-TCU game – though an autograph line started when fans saw them so they probably didn't see much actual play – and then they left at halftime. Johnson got updates on her phone while watching the Lady Vol softball team, and the players caught up later with the highlights and then Sunday's film study.
"We watched up until halftime," Bjorklund said. "We were trying to scout."
Bjorklund expects Dayton's defenders to pay a lot of attention to Cain.
"I am going to assume that they're going to be focusing in on Kelley," Bjorklund said. "We still need to get her plenty of touches, but at the same time the guards need to step up with distributing the ball and shooting the ball. We need to shoot well."
Tennessee has drilled a lot lately against zone defenses.
"We've been practicing a lot against different zones so we'll be prepared," Cain said.
Stricklen, who will have the ball in her hand at point to start the game, said she is comfortable with the team's offensive sets against a zone.
"I think our triangle offense will be a big help with that, and they double on the posts," Stricklen said. "Angie has been knocking her shots down. Hopefully, mine will be falling. We have to penetrate and look to the open people."
Dayton's comeback from an 18-point deficit was noted by the Lady Vols, but they also expect every team left in the tourney to not go gently in that good night.
"Every team is out here to fight to win, and obviously they have that mentality, to be able to come back and win, but for us it's just we've got to keep the pressure going and keep our game going for a whole 40 minutes for us to be able to do what we always do," Brewer said.
"Obviously when you have a big lead like that it's easy to become relaxed and content, but we've got to treat every game especially right now in the postseason, like every game's the national championship game," Manning said. "So just staying focused and trying to get better every possession and put together a 40-minute game every game we play.
"Every team in this tournament, there's a reason why they're here, there's a reason why Dayton's here, there's a reason why they won that game. They proved to the NCAA that they deserve to be in this tournament. Seeing that they were at an 18-point deficit and came back, that just shows, like Coach was saying, they are resilient and they have heart, they are not ready to go home yet, so we have to take that into account and play as best as we can."
Dayton, for its part, wanted to take the time to recognize what it had accomplished.
"For us to achieve success and to win and come back in the fashion that we did, and get the opportunity to coach against a legendary coach in a legendary place against all these All-Americans is just one more step in our trajectory," Dayton Coach Jim Jabir said. "I think that you always need to continue to improve and always need to continue to build. One step is so important. It's historic. It's very, very important."
But Dayton doesn't intend to take the approach that it doesn't belong already yet.
"I sincerely believe that outside of our little world in Dayton, there's probably not a lot of people who think we stand a chance of winning and I understand that," Jabir said. "I think this is a good experience for our kids. I think we will really challenge ourselves in a way that we've not really been challenged all year. We've played Louisville, we've beaten Michigan State and we've played some good teams that are in the tournament. There won't be any challenge as big as this one. If it doesn't break us, it will stretch us and make us stronger. I see it as a positive and that's how we're approaching the game. We are going to try to be the best we can be and if it's not good enough, it's not good enough. Hopefully we will grow and, next year, we will be better for it.
"We are very excited and pleased to be playing in the second round. I can't think of a better place to play than the Mecca of college women's basketball. We're going to come out and try to play Dayton basketball the best we can. I've been very, very proud of our team all year and I'm sure we're going to come out and do the things we aim to do."
The Dayton players view the abundance of Tennessee fans as a welcome addition to the atmosphere, even if the majority are cheering against them.
"I am such a big fan of huge crowds," freshman forward Kari Daugherty said. "Back at Dayton, we try to get as many people to come out as we can. It's not quite as many at our games as the men's games, but our fan base has been growing. I can't wait to play in front of a big crowd like we will (Monday), so it's going to be exciting."
"I love playing in big games, and I love big crowds," said guard Kendel Ross, the team's lone senior. "There's no better place to play Tennessee than at home, for me."
For Tennessee's players, Monday's game is the next opportunity to stay in the tourney after an aborted postseason of a year ago.
"This is do or die," Stricklen said. "Have fun, go out, play the best you can and just win and you keep playing."
"Every team in this tournament wants to win and wants to compete as if it's their last game," Spani said. " … From now on every team that we play is going to have that mindset of wanting to win and advance. … We're just trying to focus on what we can control and that's playing a 40-minute game, and I think that we all feel that if we do that we are going to be a hard team to beat."
Tennessee Coach Pat Summitt is expected to start: Shekinna Stricklen, 6'2 sophomore guard/forward, No. 40 (12.7 points per game, 6.1 rebounds per game, 3.8 assists per game), hails from Morrilton, Ark., season high is 25 points against Baylor; Angie Bjorklund, 6'0 junior guard, No. 5 (14.1 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 2.7 apg), hails from Spokane Valley, Wash., has 97 three-pointers this season and 227 for her career, the single-season record is 103 held by Shanna Zolman; Alicia Manning, 6'1 sophomore forward, No. 15 (5.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 2.2 apg), hails from Woodstock, Ga., season and career high is 15 points against Ole Miss; Alyssia Brewer, 6'3 sophomore forward, No. 33 (10.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg), hails from Sapulpa, Okla., career and season high is 23 points against George Washington; and Kelley Cain, 6'6 redshirt sophomore center, No. 52 (10.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 3.4 blocks per game), hails from Atlanta, Ga., is in sixth place in career blocks at Tennessee with 154.
Dayton Coach Jim Jabir is expected to start: Patrice Lalor, 5'6 sophomore guard, No. 20 (5.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 4.3 apg), hails from Toledo, Ohio, scored a career-high 18 points on March 6 against St. Bonaventure in the Atlantic 10 tourney; Kendel Ross, 6'1 senior guard, No. 2 (10.0 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.7 apg), hails from Sarnia, Ontario, scored a career-high 20 points this season against Miami of Ohio; Justine Raterman, 6'1 sophomore forward, No. 34 (12.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.3 apg), hails from Versailles, Ohio, hits 52.4 percent of her shots overall and 36.6 percent behind the arc, set career high last season against Old Dominion with 27 points, season-best this year was 25 points against Wright State; Kristin Daugherty, 6'0 junior forward, No. 40 (9.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.6 apg), hails from Fresno, Ohio, career high set last season with 31 points against St. Mary's, season-best this year was 21 points against Toledo; and Casey Nance, 6'4 sophomore center, No. 22 (5.3 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.9 bpg), hails from Akron, Ohio, scored a career-high 21 points against Fordham this season, father Larry Nance played in the NBA for 15 seasons for the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Phoenix Sun and won the inaugural Slam Dunk contest in 1984.
Key players off the bench for the Flyers are: Brittany Wilson, a 5'11 freshman forward who averages 4.9 points and 3.9 rebounds; Kari Daugherty, a 6'1 freshman forward who averages 6.0 points and 2.3 rebounds a game and is the younger sister of Kristin; and De'Sarae Chambers, a 5'4 sophomore guard who averages 5.4 points and 2.0 rebounds a game. Chambers is from Maysville, Ky., and is a cousin of Chris Lofton, the standout guard for Tennessee. Both attended Mason County High School, and Chambers' jersey was retired by the school on Feb. 6. She scored 2,967 points, while Lofton tallied 2,763 for Mason County.
SCOUTING REPORT: As soon as the brackets were announced a week ago, the Lady Vol assistants split the games with Dean Lockwood taking Austin Peay, Stephanie Glance taking TCU and Holly Warlick taking Dayton.
That allowed the coaches to start watching film immediately to begin preparations for an individual scout. The coaches also scouted the Dayton-TCU game on Saturday afternoon in person and helped each other with the final scout, even if it wasn't their assigned team.
It appeared as if Tennessee's next game would be Glance's scout, but Dayton came back to win with 1.1 seconds left, so in the blink of an eye, it became Warlick's scout to present to the team. Here is her assessment for the Tennessee-Dayton game.
When Dayton has the ball: The Flyers showed Saturday that they were disciplined in their half-court offense, will push in transition to find open three-point shooters and like to spread out the opponent.
"They're a transition team," Warlick said. "They look to push, and that's a big concern of ours. They run out on transition, and their forwards – I don't know that they really have a true post player – run the floor and then they spread out. They're like a Vanderbilt but taller and bigger."
Defensively, Dayton dealt with the length and athleticism of TCU by switching to a matchup zone in the second half. Warlick expects to see various looks Monday.
"I think they're going to run the matchup," Warlick said. "I think they're going to run the man to man. They switch."
Dayton Coach Jim Jabir indicated after Saturday's game that the matchup zone may also require some "trickery" to handle the size and outside shooting of Tennessee.
"They may try a triangle and two, box and one," Warlick said.
When Tennessee has the ball: Regardless of an opponent's defensive scheme, the Lady Vols want to establish the power and size of its inside game, whether it's post scoring or guard penetration. Tennessee also wants to speed up the tempo at times.
"We're going to establish our inside," Warlick said. "We're going to push it on them. Kinna and them have to attack. They have to defend us, so our athleticism, we need to make sure we use it. We may be more athletic than them but at spots they're more skilled than us. We have got to keep attacking the basket and go inside. We have to get paint points."
Pat Summitt also wants to get the ball to Angie Bjorklund and that starts with establishing the paint.
"I think that if we can play inside-out, that's where the game is going to be determined eventually," Summitt said. "But by going inside and having post players that are getting double-teamed, the guards then benefit from the inside-outside play.
"No one is benefiting more than Angie. But you give Angie credit because she moves so well without the ball, and she's gotten much better. We're trying to get her a good package where she can come off screens and not just have to get open on her own. We want to help her get open. She's slowing down. I tell her constantly, ‘Just speak to yourself and say wait, wait, wait,' because she can get a little bit anxious."
Defensively, Tennessee will continue to deploy different looks. On Saturday the Lady Vols played man and then quite a bit of matchup in the second half.
"We're going to mix it up," Warlick said. "We'll play a little zone. We're going to play some man. We're going to press. We're going to do what we do best and hope it works."
Summitt wants her team to be ready for Dayton's best shot.
"You've got to make sure your team is focused, and I think our team is very focused, but I also think that this Dayton team is going to make runs at us and they're a quality team," Summitt said. "They play so well together, and they have size pretty much to match us with size. So I think it's a matter of us being invested in our defense, our board play and our ball security. Hopefully our bench can come in and give us quality minutes as well.
"I do think our depth – and they have depth as well – but I like the rotation that we're starting to see. It's given us a chance to keep a lot of players fresh and keep the pressure on."
COACH HUMOR: Dayton Coach Jim Jabir has been both erudite and entertaining in press conferences this weekend.
He said that he went to church Sunday morning with Justine Raterman and inquired as to whether she had seen apparitions while in Knoxville because of her tentative play Saturday early in the game.
"I went to church with Justine and her parents," Jabir said. "We were on our way walking back from church and I said ‘When I took you out that first time, you kind of looked like you had seen a ghost. I didn't know where you were.' She said that she started the game feeling pretty comfortable and then missed a couple of shots, and her confidence started to ebb. She kind of went into some place that I'd never seen her before.
"After sitting for a bit, she was able to kind of get herself back together and become the Justine that we know and love."
Brittany Wilson said that Jabir is not always humorous.
"In practice, he can get, you know, like a coach," Wilson said with a smile. "But he does have a sense of humor. I like to know that he can be serious and funny at the same time."
Pat Summitt endorsed her counterpart on Sunday.
"I've known Jim and watched him coach,' Summitt said. "He's an excellent coach and I think it starts with his ability to teach. I think his teams execute really well. Watching them courtside, they've got great ball movement, great player movement, and they've got inside-outside weapons.
"When it comes to the job he's done, he's been very successful and he's very much respected in our profession."
CAMPING OUT: Sophomore forward Justine Raterman has been in Knoxville before. She attended Pat Summitt's team camp before her senior year at Versailles High School.
"She was really down to earth," Raterman said. "She talked to the entire camp. My sister went up and talked to her. My sister was my head coach, and (Summitt) came to a lot of our games (during the camp). She took pictures with all of us. She was a very normal person. She didn't act like a big celebrity that she is. I gained a lot of respect for her."
Raterman also is familiar with Tennessee forwards Amber Gray and Glory Johnson after playing against them in AAU ball.
Raterman also was familiar with Gray's high school team since she is from West Chester, Ohio. Gray did an interview Sunday with a reporter for a Dayton, Ohio, newspaper that focused on her continued recovery from brain surgery after a stroke last July brought on by an aneurysm.
"I heard a lot about it," Raterman said. "I didn't know her on a personal level. Her AAU team and my AAU team were very big rivals so I got to play against her a lot. We had a competitor's relationship but last year when I heard about everything she went through, I just kind of felt for her.
"It's amazing that she could come here to Tennessee. I was very impressed with that but having gone through that is really something, and I am really glad that she has come through."
Raterman enjoyed AAU competition because it was the cream of the high school crop, and she was happy to get the chance to renew acquaintances with Johnson.
"It's really exciting to be able to play against her again," Raterman said. "I am really looking forward to it."
GAME READY: Players have practice, scouting sessions, meetings and film to get prepared for a game. But there is also that time right before a game when they try to relax.
"I play music," Kelley Cain said.
One of Shekinna Stricklen's pre-game rituals is making sure she feels refreshed so she takes a shower. That's also time to get focused. Otherwise, she enjoys the looseness of the locker room.
Glory Johnson tries to un-clutter her mind and narrow her focus.
"I try to take my mind off negatives and try to focus on what I'm doing right now instead of what happened in the past or what's going to happen in the future," Johnson said. "Music helps a lot. I love listening to music before I play. Mainly it's music and dancing.
"Miko is creative, and Vicki is different. Vicki can dance. It's funny when Strick dances (because it's pretty offbeat). It does help a team to have someone you can laugh at. The goofiest and she doesn't even know about it is Vicki because she's a character, and she's funny, and she doesn't even think she's funny. Miko is a goofball all the time."
"We dance to music and sing, all that good stuff," Kamiko Williams said.
Vicki Baugh kept the team loose during media interviews this weekend by sending a plastic basketball and a paper airplane flying around the locker room.
Spani needs to make a phone call before every game, presumably somewhere a little quieter than the locker room.
"I always call my parents, I pray, listen to music and do visualization, focus stuff," Spani said. "I think if you can see yourself doing stuff well in the game it already helps. Carolyn (Savoy) always says what you think and what happens (the mind absorbs), so if you put yourself in those game situations it's going to help I think."
Alicia Manning needs some activity around her.
"My personality is I just need to be around people and talking," Manning said. "I watch them. They get me pretty pumped up with their dancing."
Alyssia Brewer needs some quiet time, and she finds it within the confines of the locker room.
"I listen to music, and I stay in my cubby area and kind of keep to myself," Brewer said.
"We know when to play around and when to take things seriously, and I think that's a great thing for a team to be able to have. We're laughing and playing around, but we know whenever we step on the court it's strictly business."
ASSORTED FACTS: Tennessee leads the series with Dayton, 1-0. The lone meeting was in 1986, a 66-40 win for the Lady Vols, a year after Dayton became a Division I program. In 1980, Dayton won the AIAW Division II national title. The 1986 game against the Lady Vols was played at Stokely Athletics Center. Dayton is 5-27 all-time against SEC schools with the wins coming over Kentucky (three), Auburn and Mississippi State. … Tennessee is 6-3 in games played on March 22. The last win on this date was against Purdue, 75-54, in 2005. The first win on March 22 was against LSU, 67-65, in a 1986 regional final … The three losses on this date were to Mississippi, 63-60, in 1985 in a regional semifinal; Duke, 69-63, in 1999 in a regional final; and Ball State, 71-55, in 2009 in a first round game. … Tennessee led in attendance at Saturday's eight sub-regional sites. Knoxville drew 10,922 fans. The other seven Saturday sites: Stanford (5,645); Seattle (3,656); Louisville (3,560); Durham (3,084); Berkeley (2,572); Tallahassee (2,357); and Tempe (1,455).
BY THE NUMBERS: Tennessee is averaging 74.1 points a game while allowing opponents to score 56.2. Dayton averages 71.4 points a game while allowing 58.9.
The Lady Vols are shooting 46.2 percent overall, 37.4 percent behind the arc and 67.7 percent from the free throw line. The Flyers are shooting 42.2 percent overall, 31.7 percent from long range and 70.2 percent from the line.
Tennessee makes an average of 5.3 three-pointers a game while allowing 5.6. Dayton makes 5.7 threes a game while allowing 5.5.
Tennessee averages 43.4 rebounds a game for a +9.8 margin. Dayton averages 42.7 boards with a +6.2 margin.
The Lady Vols average 15.7 assists and 14.8 turnovers a game. Opponents lose the ball an average of 16.0 times a game. The Flyers average 15.1 assists and 16.9 turnovers with foes losing the ball 18.6 times a game.
Tennessee averages 6.8 steals and 6.5 blocks a game. Dayton averages 7.7 steals and 4.5 blocks.