Sept. 24, 2012
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee women's basketball team convened for its first full group workout session of the fall on Monday afternoon. The energetic atmosphere in Pratt Pavilion and the calendar both serve as evidence that it won't be long until the 2012-13 season is underway.
With the first exhibition game against Carson-Newman set for Nov. 1, and the regular-season opener at Chattanooga scheduled for Nov. 9, the Lady Vols are working hard on conditioning as they prepare to employ a more up-tempo style on both ends of the floor. Thus far, first-year head coach Holly Warlick has been pleased with the effort she has seen from her players.
"Today was the first day to see them all together," Warlick said. "First of all to have 11 healthy players in there is one thing. To have the speed we have as a team is a lot of fun to coach.
"We're very athletic. We did a lot of offensive stuff today, trying to introduce them to some drills and some language. But for the most part, I was very pleased."
One thing Warlick is emphasizing early in the practice season is making sure the newcomers understand the terminology and process of drills.
"I think our language that we're using and our different techniques and things we're using, we really need to make sure the freshmen understand," Warlick said. "I think at times in the last couple of years we went too fast. We didn't start off teaching. We didn't get maybe two things in today, but we wanted to make sure that they got the name of the drill and the right way we're supposed to do it. So we took our time teaching today. They catch on, and we just want to make sure that the freshmen are understanding our language, our terminology, where we want them to go and what we want them to do."
The five newcomers are adjusting to the speed and pace of college basketball as well as to the grind of practices under Warlick and company.
"Some caught on a little bit better than others, but as a whole that group is so quick," Warlick said. "For the most part, I was really, really pleased on how we got up and down the floor."
"I understand fully," Moore said. "I've been talking with Izzy (Harrison) along with my fellow freshmen posts and we're ready to fill the missing positions."
The Chicago native originally committed to Illinois to play with then-head coach Jolette Law, but once Law made the move to Tennessee, so did Moore.
"Just the legacy. I've been hearing it (the Lady Vol program) for a while, ever since I was 11," Moore said. "Without a doubt, that wasn't a bad decision to make for me. I knew in the back of my head that it was the right thing to do."
Moore played volleyball for one season during her freshman year of high school, which she attributes to her defensive skills.
"That may have something to do with it," Moore said. "I just love blocking. That was my number one aspect--blocking shots."
"I think Nia is going to be a great defender for us," Warlick said. "She is a quick learner, she picks up on things. I love her energy. She gets up and down the floor for her size."
Along with Moore, Bashaara Graves will be looked to as a post option. Warlick compared Graves to former Lady Vol Glory Johnson, with her body type and rebounding skills. Andraya Carter and Jasmine Jones will be counted on for their quickness and ball handling, while Warlick praised Jasmine Phillips' athleticism and defensive attributes.
"We have a lot of options on where we want to get people and what we want to do," Warlick said.