Coach Summitt Talks About The Week Ahead In Lady Vols Basketball

On last two games against Kentucky and Vanderbilt…

“Our win at Kentucky was a win, but we didn’t play that well. Anytime you can get a road win you take it and move on. I thought our game against Vanderbilt was one of our 40 minutes of intensity. I thought we did a lot of good things at both ends of the floor. That was encouraging for us. Now we’re getting ready to play Arkansas. It is good to have another home game. The loss of Lauren Ervin changes the look of the team. Watching them, I think they are playing with great intensity. They are pushing the ball. Our transition defense will be a priority and defending the dribble drive. We will do our scouting today. We had yesterday off, so hopefully we’ll come in well-rested and ready to play Arkansas.”

On the absence of Alexis Hornbuckle in Thursday’s game against Arkansas…

“Going into a game without Alexis is a bit of a challenge for us. She has been one of our best all-around players at both ends of the floor. She has had a great year to date and when you think about what Alberta (Auguste) has to do… things that come to mind immediately are being efficient on the offensive end, looking to score and rebounding on both ends of the floor. On the defensive end, she needs to bring the intensity. Alexis has done a great job when we have a lull. She seems to be the one to bring the energy and get our defense going. Alberta certainly has demonstrated great intensity on the defensive end, and I want to see her be more consistent at both ends of the floor. This will be a good opportunity for her. When she came here, she had a lot of success at the junior college level at being the go-to player. This year, she is averaging over 18 minutes a game and I think that includes some quality reps and minutes in a lot of big games.”

On Tennessee freshman Vicki Baugh’s emergence over the past two weeks…

“Vicki Baugh is certainly one of the best athletes on our basketball team. I think she is getting much more comfortable on the offensive end because of her skill development. She has worked on her low-post game. In high school she was pretty much a face-up player and played off the dribble. She probably worked more on her guard skills than her post-up skills. She is adding a valuable package to her offensive game - the repetition of being on the block or working high to low or low to high. Defensively, she brings a great presence with her quickness, her mindset of playing great defense and going after the basketball, and as a rebounder as well. There is still a great upside there, but she is getting better and better. I am really excited about that and I continue to emphasize to her how important her development will be between now and post-season, because we are going to expect even more as we get closer to that time of year.”

On this group of Lady Vols never beating Duke…

“I don’t know that I need to jog their memory on this one, I think they are very much aware. Now there is a little bit of change in players and personnel at Duke. This team is very, very talented. Chante Black has stepped her game up. Abby Waner brings a lot of leadership and is an outside threat. Wanisha Smith is a talented guard. They are deep. When you look at the returning players in particular, it isn’t just depth, but it is experienced depth.”

On playing at Duke…

“Cameron Indoor Stadium is a tough place for us to play, it is an exciting environment. The students are so involved and you feel like everyone is right on top of you. That is a big advantage from a home-court perspective. It is exciting to go into a place like that and have the opportunity to play in that type of environment; it is great preparation for your team and forces you to be focused. We’ve been there and not had that type of focus and it cost us in many, many ways. It is a good environment for us to play a team like Duke as we go through the conference and post-season play.”

On difference under Duke’s new coach Joanne P. McCallie…

“It is a different look. Offensively, this team is very aggressive and they are playing a lot of people. We’ll have to be mindful of guarding personnel as much as guarding their actions on the floor. Defensively, the match-up zone is something that gives a lot of people problems. Fortunately, we’ve played against some match-up defenses. We’ve seen more man-to-man than match-up. Joanne has done a tremendous job with the match-up and now implementing it at Duke. We know it will be a challenge, but we have to come in, attack and be aggressive against it.”

On McCallie’s match-up zone and her coaching at Michigan State….

“When most people in our profession think about the system that Joanne had in place at Michigan State, we think about the match-up zone. Having worked with coach Joe Ciampi at Auburn and her background with the match-up and the commitment her players have made over the years really defending out of the match-up. That said, I think her teams are mentally tough and aggressive and competitive. They fight you for 40 minutes or more if necessary. There is a toughness to her teams and how they come at you.”

On Chante Black hurting defenses…

“Her aggressiveness, size, quickness and skills. She has really refined her skills and is shooting over 50 percent. You have to defend her. She is taking the most shots and is their go-to player. Because of her speed, quickness and athleticism combined with her skills she is a tough player to guard. You have to keep her off the offensive glass. That is a challenge in and of itself. The ideal approach is to limit touches and keep her off the glass, but that is easier said than done. She is playing her best basketball and brings a toughness and intensity. I recruited her out of high school and really, really liked her game. I thought she had a chance to be a great player. She has been able to unveil that and demonstrate that game-in and game-out.”

On Georgia’s Tasha Humphrey vs. Oklahoma’s Courtney Paris…

“If you look at what they do for their respective teams, there are a lot of similarities. Courtney definitely is the go-to player, has a great low-post presence and Oklahoma does an excellent job of high-low action. She has great hands and a soft shooting touch. Tasha has low-post skills as well, and does score off the face-up game more than Courtney. Comparing the two, they are so similar in what they bring to their teams, in terms of their ability to be the consistent scorer and go-to player and also they come up with important rebounds on both ends of the floor. That is something they consistently bring. They know their role and they know they have to bring it every night or their team will struggle. It is just like what we have to have from Candace Parker. They give their teams confidence and they can separate their teams out in close ball games. We had a tough time guarding Courtney and we haven’t had to guard Tasha this year, but every time we go against her, she is a tough one to defend. The Courtney and Tasha match-up should be a great one.”

On Georgia coach Andy Landers approaching 700 career wins…

“Andy has been a very successful coach and certainly in the Southeastern Conference. Year-in and year-out, he has his teams competing not only in the SEC, but on a national standpoint. One of the hardest things to do is to be consistent and to win every year. That speaks volumes to his ability to recruit, to teach and to motivate. He’s also played a lot of tough competition, not only in the league, but outside of it as well.”

On Andy’s fondest memory, in 1983 when he advanced to the Final Four for the first time…

“I don’t recall that game specifically, but I think Andy’s teams in post season are tough-minded. He demands a certain level of play and performance. That is what we all aspire to do, to get the absolute best out of our players. He’s been able to do that and get to Final Fours because of it. A lot of times as coaches, you’re in the regional final and you’re right there ready to put your team in a position to win and then they have to get to the Final Four. There are a lot of teams that never get there, but Andy has been able to do that. That speaks to his teaching, coaching, motivation and his ability to get players to come to Georgia and play together at that level.”

Story Courtesy: UT Lady Vols Sports Information


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