Lady Vols making right moves during busy time
Posted: Friday, December 16, 2011 7:02 pm
By BETH RUCKER
AP Sports Writer
KNOXVILLE (AP) — For sixth-ranked Tennessee, December has been a time for adjusting on the go.
The Lady Volunteers had to play without their starting point guard during a two-game road trip in the Northeast. Now they must adjust to traveling across the country for a two-game stand on the West coast.
So far everything has worked out for Tennessee (6-2), which got victories against No. 23 DePaul and No. 11 Rutgers. After spending approximately 32 hours in Knoxville, the Lady Vols today boarded a plane bound for Los Angeles where they will face UCLA on Saturday before traveling to No. 4 Stanford on Tuesday.
“We’ve got two big games ahead of us, and our last game is probably the hardest of all four games,” associate head coach Holly Warlick said. “We just continue to take one game at a time and to just play to our ability and play hard. Great things happen to this team when we play hard.”
Making adjustments is nothing new to Tennessee, which has been adapting to changes ever since coach Pat Summitt revealed in August she had been diagnosed with early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type.
While Summitt, 59, has always received a warm welcome on road trips, the Hall of Famer was the subject of even more attention during the Lady Vols’ trip to the Northeast.
She received the Maggie Dixon Courage award before Tennessee’s game against DePaul, and Rutgers donned “We Back Pat” warm-up shirts and presented Summitt with a commemorative jersey.
Warlick expects Summitt to receive similar attention Saturday at UCLA, a place the Lady Vols haven’t visited since 2007.
“I think the emotion for Tennessee coming there and Pat Summitt coming to the gym, I think that’s going to be a special environment,” she said.
Warlick has made plenty of her own adjustments this year.
Though Summitt has often relied on her longtime assistants to draw up plays, Warlick and assistant coaches Mickie DeMoss and Dean Lockwood are have taken on a bigger load during games.
While Summitt continues to shout at players from the sideline, it’s Warlick who’s usually at the center of a huddle during timeouts with the clipboard.
Warlick has also been handling postgame press conferences, though Summitt speaks with reporters after the Lady Vols’ practices.
Published in The Messenger 12.16.11