Last shot at Final 4 for senior Lady Vols
Posted: Friday, March 16, 2012 7:00 pm
By BETH RUCKER
AP Sports Writer
KNOXVILLE (AP) — Pat Summitt said while she may or may not coach after this year, she’ll worry about her future at another time.
Her only goal now is to win a ninth national championship.
The Tennessee women’s basketball coach has spent this season adjusting to life with early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type.
“I love this game. … I may or may not coach. It is what it is,” Summitt said Wednesday. “I just want to try to get another championship for this group.”
It’s the first time in recent weeks Summitt has addressed her future. Not that her team needs any extra motivation — the Lady Vols seniors realize this is their final shot.
The once-heralded recruiting class hasn’t yet played in a Final Four, something every four-year player at Tennessee before them has done. Glory Johnson, Shekinna Stricklen, Alicia Manning and Briana Bass aren’t planning on becoming the first group to miss out.
“If there’s something I can do a little bit harder, I will,” Johnson said. “I’m trying to leave everything out there, whether it’s rebounding as hard as I can or playing as best as I can. You never know when the last time you’re going to play a game for the University of Tennessee is.”
Summitt is putting it all on their shoulders, too.
The coach started the four of them along with fifth-year senior center Vicki Baugh — the only player left from Tennessee’s 2008 national championship squad — in a senior-night win against Florida on Feb. 26. Summitt liked what she saw from them in the 75-59 win so much that she kept them as the starters all the way through the SEC tournament.
Published in The WCP 3.15.12