Nov. 14, 2012
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Coming off a 71-54 win at Georgia Tech Sunday, the Lady Vols return to Rocky Top for the first home opener in the Holly Warlick era.
"I'm excited to play in front of a big crowd and for everyone to see our team and how we're shaping up," head coach Holly Warlick said. "It's good to be home."
"I can't wait to be in front of this crowd, to be in Thompson Boling Arena, and just play with my teammates here," freshman Bashaara Graves said.
After getting out some first-game jitters at Chattanooga, the squad showed fire in the turnaround in Atlanta.
"It was a different mindset," sophomore point guard Ariel Massengale said. "All credit to Chattanooga; they came out ready to play. We weren't so ready. It showed us that we can't just show up on a court and expect to win because we have Tennessee on our jerseys. Now we know that we have to come out every game ready to play."
"We played like a team," Graves said. "We played together. We came together as a team and played Tennessee basketball."
Graves posted her first career double-double at Georgia Tech, tallying a team-best 18 points and 12 rebounds. The Clarksville, Tenn., native also collected SEC Freshman of the Week honors after averaging 16 points and 10 rebounds through two contests.
"We have all the confidence in the world (in Bashaara)," Massengale said. "If she misses a layup or something, I just go to her and tell her, `Bashaara, you came here an All-American. You just go out and play your game. I don't care if you miss or what not, just keep playing. I'm still going to look for you.' She's athletic; she's strong; she's fast. She just plays hard. I think she's one who's guaranteed to give us a good double-double every night."
The team takes on the Rice Owls Thursday at 7 p.m. in Thompson-Boling Arena.