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Lady Vol Report: On The Road

Nov. 7, 2012

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

HEAD COACH HOLLY WARLICK

"We're young, we're majority freshmen and sophomores and we're going to play whoever I need to play to help us win the game. Whether it's a sophomore or a freshman, whoever. I'm very pleased with our freshmen. They've come along. I think they've worked hard. They're trying to understand the system. I'm sure it's complicated to them, but every day they get better."

"I think all of it is a learning process for them. They've been away from home for the first time. They're going on the road. They're going to have to juggle practice with academics. I think everything is new to them. As we go along and we fine tune our practices a little more and they get a little more comfortable with academics, I think they'll be fine. This is going to be a great new experience for them."

"It is the ultimate goal. The rankings don't concern me, it's the results we have after each game. I've watched us in practice getting better. It's all about us continuing to improve and moving these freshmen along. Put them in a position that we want them to be competitive. That's our goal. We continue to obviously want to win SEC championships, regular season and tournament, and get to the Final Four. That's just how it's always been. We're young, but we've done it with a young team. And we've not gotten there with an experienced team. It depends on this team's gelling and how hard they're going to work and where they're going to take us."

SENIOR TABER SPANI

"I think the biggest thing is I'll watch and see how our freshmen react. The overall negative, positive feel that I feel about our team. Just the communication. Just hone in on those things. Not necessarily the play on the floor, but the mental side. How are they looking, how are they feeling, how confident are they. Especially if we can get our freshmen confident early, as they start getting a good feel for of the game, then we want to feed them. I'll be really mindful of just watching and seeing how everyone responds and what the attitude is of the whole team."

"Team trips and road trips are some of the highlights of the basketball season for us. Being together for 24/7, literally, is going to be good for us. I think it's crucial that we get to know each other on and off the floor as much as possible. Those bus rides and plane rides, all of those things are going to matter because the closer you are as a team, the better the chemistry is the better you're going to play on the floor."

"It motivates us in practice and in games. I also think that we just want to be the best that we can be. We're not going to focus on trying to beat Kentucky now, or Georgia or Vandy or whoever is ahead of us in the SEC preseason poll. We've really just want to get better and become the best team we can be. I think the motivation factor is more internal than external. I think it's more how we can get better today and if we get in a tough game because we know we're going to play some good teams coming up here in the next few weeks, we're going to have to come together. I think the motivation is more going to be to win the game and find a way to win and not necessarily try to prove ourselves to basketball nation."

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- With two exhibition games under the team's belt, UT is ready to open the Holly Warlick era Friday night. The Lady Vols travel to Chattanooga to take on the Lady Mocs at 7 p.m. in McKenzie Arena, before continuing the trip down I-75 to Atlanta to go against Georgia Tech on Sunday at 2 p.m.

"I think any time you go on the road, communication becomes even more of a key," senior Taber Spani said. "We stress that every day in practice. We have to talk, we have to be on the same page going down there into a probably hostile environment. They're going to be loud and excited and that's going to be huge."

"Now they count. The intensity level, all of that gets amped up even more. I think these first two games were great preparation, especially for our freshmen to kind of get their feet wet and understand to be in their first college games. Kind of get the nerves calmed down a little bit. We're excited, Chattanooga is a great team, so we're going to have to go out and play well."

Freshman Andraya Carter started both exhibition games, grabbing a team-high eight steals combined in the two contests.

"I benefited because I knew they were just exhibition games," Carter said. "I knew I was going to make mistakes, but there wasn't that much pressure on me because they were just exhibition games. My teammates and my coaches were really supportive, and I just went out and tried to have fun."

Head coach Holly Warlick took some positives away from the first two games, emphasizing the team's great energy and effort.

"I like our energy," Warlick said. "We're not quite there defensively, but we're there in spurts. I think that's a good stepping stone for us. We have run the ball well and have had great offensive rebounding and I like that. Two things that I'd like to do are pushing the ball and making sure we rebound. We just have to fine tune on the defensive end."

Opening the regular season on the road will provide a good test for the young squad that lost all five starters from last year.

"They've said it's hard," Carter said. "You have to be able to focus on your schoolwork; you have to balance things. It's a true test of maturity and how focused you are. They've said that it's nothing that I can't handle. I think it will go well."

"It's about us," Warlick said. "We talk about being focused and making sure we understand our game plan and what we want to do. It's difficult to open on the road. We have to make sure that we're together and have great communication and make sure we play as a team. I don't care who we play, we have Tennessee across our chest and it's going to be a difficult game. UTC is very well coached. They play very well especially at home. I think we're in for a battle and I'm not going to shy away from that. I'm going to tell them you have to bring your best, have to bring your A-game and it's going to be a difficult place to play."


 

 

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