Women's Hoops: Summer workout photo gallery

The basketball season is more than four months away, but for the women's basketball team, preparations have already begun. In accordance with NCAA regulations, summer workouts are non-mandatory and basketball coaches aren't allowed to observe or supervise. However, the athletes are allowed to work out under the supervision of a strength and conditioning coach.

So four days a week, the players who are on campus work out in the weight room in the McGugin Center. Most of the workouts are sandwiched around classes, with players coming in at different times as their class schedules allow.

But on Friday mornings, the entire team reports at 6 a.m. to work out together.

At 6 a.m. in June in Nashville, the sun has just risen over Hawkins Field as the workout begins inside the McGugin Center.

Strength and conditioning coach Lori Alexander (standing) explains the plan for the morning.

With the first session of summer school already underway and basketball camps about to begin, most of the team is on campus and at the workout. Clockwise, starting with Lori: Erica Grimaldi, Liz Sherwood, Nicole Jules, Carla Thomas, Rachel Brockman, Holly Rogers, Caroline Williams, Cherish Stringfield and Dee Davis.

Today's lifting focuses on the upper body. Many of the lifts require a spotter, so the players pair off and head to their stations. In the foreground, Dee spots while Holly lifts.

Erica spots for Rachel, who recently returned to Vanderbilt as a redshirt sophomore.

Every lift doesn't require a spotter. Caroline does this one alone.

Lori circulates through the room, spotting for certain lifts, offering encouragement, instructing, teasing, correcting technique, cajoling . . . in short, doing whatever it takes.

After lifting, there's some jump rope before heading across the street to the stadium. Cherish shows how it's done.

By now, it's approaching 7 a.m., and the sun is peeking over the bleachers in the stadium.

This is the first day of stadium workouts this summer. On different Fridays the activities are different. On this particular Friday, they divide into two groups, one running up and down one aisle, the other going up and down the other while Lori supervises. Up and down . . up and down . . up and down. . .

Dee Davis is rehabbing following knee surgery in April, so instead of running with the others, she walks another set of steps alone.

Finally, it's back to McGugin for stretching and to finish lifting before heading off to class.

Photographs copyright 2005 by WhitneyD for Vandymania.com.

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