Coach Pat Summitt Talks About The Start Of SEC BBall Play

On the road swing at DePaul and Notre Dame last week…

“Our road schedule was a good one for us. We had time after the holidays to get in a lot of good practices and work on various aspects of our game. I thought it paid off for us, particularly in our DePaul game with our scouting report defense. We took it to heart and, overall, did a nice job there. We had good scouting at Notre Dame again. Overall there was better intensity and more consistent play for 40 minutes in those two games. That has been a focal point for us – to become a 40-minute team and not play the scoreboard, but to go out and play possession-by-possession basketball.”

On the upcoming Southeastern Conference schedule…

“I’m excited about conference play and opening up here at home. To be at home will be nice. With Auburn coming in that is number one on our list. They have one of the best players in the league in DeWanna Bonner. They are the type of team that can spread you out and play off the dribble and are very aggressive. It will be a challenge for our defense, particularly in the one-on-one game. We spend a lot of time trying to shore up our one-on-one game and our help and rotation. That is a place our basketball team will continue to be challenged and must continue to grow. As I look at South Carolina and Auburn, both have done a nice job of taking on some quality opponents. That is good for our league, and something I notice right off. South Carolina has great balance offensively, just like Auburn. There are some similarities there, in terms of having to guard, not only their best players, but also deeper into their rosters.”

On Auburn’s DeWanna Bonner…

“It is difficult to guard a player of her size. She can play on the perimeter and play off the dribble. She is unique, even in our league. Certainly, she is a go-to player. If you look at the number of shots she has taken, she is getting a lot of shots up. The one thing that Auburn does very well is spacing offensively. It’s not like you go out every year and guard a player of her size. The skills she has to possess such an effective face-up game and to be able to play off the dribble, the way she has, is interesting. I think back to when I saw her as a high school player, she has really developed and refined her skills. That will be a tough guard for us in terms of the matchup and her versatility. She has tightened up her skills and is playing very well for them and getting to the free throw line. She has done a great job using her face-up game to get to the free throw line even more.”

On whether Candace Parker is bothered by so much attention…

“Overall she has handled this well. Even coming out of high school she got a lot of attention because she was the best player in the country. It is magnified now at this level. There are times when we have to step in and protect her, especially when we are on the road. Everyone is seeking autographs and there are a lot of Candace Parker fan clubs out there. In terms of her getting distracted, I think she does a great job of keeping it all in perspective and staying focused with her team. It is important to her to be a great teammate, and I’ve been pleased overall the attention and what potentially could be distractions for her or for our team.”

On how it feels to cross paths with former Lady Vols…

“There are no secrets, because I’ve got so many former assistants, players and graduate assistants in the game now. They are all very familiar with Tennessee. It is special to have so many former Tennessee people, not only being a part of the women’s game, but also contributing to various programs around the country and right here in the SEC. It makes me very proud of all of them and what they bring to these respective programs.”

Story Courtesy: TN Lady Vols Sports Information


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