Lady Vol Report: On The Road Again

Jan. 15, 2012

Here are a few of the most important quotes of the day from Coach Warlick and selected players:


"I think the closest we have [came to playing to our complete potential] was the game against North Carolina here. I think we can get better offensively and we can definitely get better defensively and from the rebound side of it. We've played some pretty good 20 or 30-minute games, but we seem to have a little lapse and that's for the coaches to make sure we try our best to help them play a 40-minute game."


"At that point in time we were trying to focus more on our defense. We knew that if we weren't scoring then we couldn't allow them to score either. Coach Warlick told us to keep attacking the basket. If you attack they will call fouls then you will get to the free throw line and get some easy baskets."

"Meighan has come a long way. Her shot selection has become better. I think she knows now that we need her to put the ball in the basket. She is finding ways to do that in an easier fashion. In Florida she was running and I was giving it to her in transition. She was shooting lay-ups. When you have a player who wants to run then you have to give her the ball and those are easy points for her. She is probably the fastest I have seen and one of the best in the open court. If Meighan is out and open court by herself, I have no problem giving her the ball because I know that she will make a play."


"Ariel [Messengale] and Meighan [Simmons] were in our heads the whole time. Before I actually shot those free throws, Meighan came up to me and she said 'You got this, you got this. You're gonna knock down these two free-throws.' She believed in me, so I believed in myself."

"I think the composure we had. When they tied the game and when they went on a little run and came back and tied it again, I think our composure was great. We just need to take that to the other games, especially when it's another close game. And any SEC game is going to be a hard win."

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The Lady Vols fought hard for 45 minutes last Sunday as they downed Florida 78-75 in the squad's second overtime game this year. It was the first overtime on the road since UT defeated the Gators, 91-82, in extra time on Feb. 3, 2005, in Gainesville.

"Every time we play someone on the road in the SEC it is going to be a tough game and challenge for us," sophomore point guard Ariel Massengale said. "Coaches told us afterwards that every time you can get a win on the road in the SEC, it is a huge win."

"We learned that we can play in situations like that. It was a tight game. We had to get stops at certain key points in the game and we did that. When things got tight we were down late in the game and we stayed together, didn't get rattled, lose focus or anything."

Although the Lady Vols left with the victory, Florida outrebounded UT, 48-41.

"I am excited for the win and I am pleased they fought back," head coach Holly Warlick said. "They were in a tough situation and they won that situation and the game and that is huge. I am proud of their effort there, but as a coach, I have to get them to where they don't get to that point. We play hard all the time and we understand what's important. I'm extremely proud of how we finished the game and held on and how we played in overtime and won the game. Florida was a tough team - very athletic and very well-coached. We'll always take a win, anytime."


Freshman Bashaara Graves picked up her fourth SEC Freshman of the Week honor after averaging 16.5 points and 10.0 rebounds in UT's two SEC victories last week over Missouri and Florida. Graves recorded her seventh double-double against the Gators, registering 17 points and 12 rebounds.

With eight seconds remaining in overtime, the Clarksville, Tenn., native was sent to the free throw line, where she didn't buckle under pressure, swishing both baskets.

"I didn't look at it as being pressure," Graves said. "I just went to the free-throw line like I've been going to the free-throw line every other game, so I didn't feel like it was that much pressure on me."

"I think her role was huge," Warlick said. "I think anybody stepping up on that line and controlling the destination of the game is huge. Bashaara got up there and she was upset that she missed the layup, but I have so much confidence in her stepping up to the line and hitting big free throws. She's been big for us. I think at the beginning of the year it may have been difficult for her, but she has fallen into that role and understands the importance of that the success of our team relies on how Bashaara plays."

The 6-foot-2 forward knows her contributions to the team are key in every game.

"I knew that I had to come in and step up," Graves said. "I've been happy with the minutes I've been getting. The conditioning has helped me out. Last year I think I played 38 minutes so it's helped me with energy and to keep going." Graves has scored in double figures in 14 of 16 games this season.


Tennessee hits the road again as the team travels to Auburn, Ala., to take on the Lady Tigers. Auburn is 2-2 in SEC play, and 9-0 at home this year.

"Auburn is going to press us and play a lot of zone," Warlick said. "They're very athletic and physical. They have a great three-point shooter. It's going to be a typical game for us away. We'll probably see more zone than we have in the past, but she may change her game plan up. She's going to press us for about 30 to 35 minutes of the game, so we're going to work on that at practice today. We want to press as well, so our bench will have to be key, we might have to go a little deeper into our bench. We need to make sure we're physically and mentally ready to see where and when we're going to attack."

The Lady Vols will focus on amping up its defensive skills to take on Auburn.

"We need to keep our defense up," Graves said. "In the Florida game, our defense was lacking a little. We just need to keep our defense up and get back to the Tennessee defense we're used to playing."

"They are another SEC team who have guards who can shoot and post players who are big and work hard," Massengale said. "It is going to be another challenge for us. At the end of the day we are going to go out there and play Tennessee basketball and do what we are capable of doing."





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