Grand Hustle’s rapstress Iggy Azalea drops her EP “Glory.” The five-track Extended Play has features from B.o.B., T.I. & Mike Posner.
Download: Iggy Azalea-Glory
Ladies, start your engines! The drive to “Victory Lane” for the 2010-11 University of Tennessee Lady Volunteer basketball team has begun.
Over the years, Tennessee has seen the NCAA flagman wave the Orange & White checkered flag signifying a national championship…eight times in all. Sometimes the Lady Vols rolled in well ahead of the field…other times taking a nail-biting victory right at the end.
Since winning its last championship in 2008, an extremely young team has grown yearly after suffering through a wreck-filled 22-11 campaign in 2008-09, to a much-improved 32-3 record with nary a senior last season.
Collectively, this 13-player squad once again persevered and flourished during the grueling fine-tuning of the off-season and is eager to see how its new aerodynamics check out when it gets back on track…well, the basketball court.
They are led by arguably the best crew chief in the business, head coach Pat Summitt, who will be starting her 37th campaign at the starting line with a 1,037-196 (.842) career record.
“So many teams are going to be contenders this season, and a lot of teams are going to be running around with a target on their backs,” Summitt offered. “The challenge is out there, and we are ready to jump in and battle with the best of them.”
Summitt will have a key nucleus of four players – two return as seniors and two are redshirt juniors – who remember what it was like as wide-eyed rookies in 2008 watching NCAA title number eight unfold in front of their very freshmen eyes. Senior veteran guards Angie Bjorklund (13.9 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 3.0 apg) and Sydney Smallbone (2.3 ppg, 0.6 rpg) would like nothing more than to come full circle in concluding their Lady Vol careers with bookend NCAA titles.
Bjorklund, with 1,149 career points, is poised to smash a slew of Lady Vol three-point records in her final go-round. The 6’0″ sharpshooter needs just 35 more made treys and 51 three-point attempts to pass current Lady Vol record holder Shanna Zolman (2003-06). Only one of Zolman’s records might stay intact – career three-point field goal percentage at .425 – since Bjorklund’s average sits at .403.
“Angie is one of the best shooters ever to play in our program,” Summitt said. “She has worked hard at improving so many facets of her game, and she takes great pride in it. By her example, Angie gives our team so much confidence and takes pressure off of the other players.”
As great as Bjorklund has been on the court, she has distinguished herself in the classroom as well, having earned the coveted status as one of five CoSIDA/ESPN First Team Academic All-Americans in 2010.
While Bjorklund has been filling it up, her running mate, Smallbone, has diligently worked at her game and contributed to her team in any way possible. Her special type of attitude and her ability to put the team first are not categories that can be measured in a mere box score.
“Syd brings it every day. She is focused and a hard worker who understands her role with the team,” Summitt said.
When the 5’10” Smallbone’s number has been called she has risen to the task, as evidenced by her nine career starts and over 10 minutes per game contributions. The Granger, Ind., native also has a little extra motivation – getting to a Final Four in her home state. Conseco Fieldhouse, in Indianapolis, Ind., hosts women’s basketball’s final weekend on April 3 and 5.
“I expect both Angie and Syd, with help from Vicki Baugh and Kelley Cain, to really take collective leadership roles with this group,” Summitt said. “Better than anyone else on this team, they know I will not start their engines, but I will help them get to where they want to go.”
As the elder stateswomen of the seven-player junior class, 6’4″ post Vicki Baugh (6.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg and 1.5 bpg in 2008-09) and 6’6″ center Kelley Cain (10.5 ppg, 7.7 rpg and 3.4 bpg) are both seniors academically but juniors due to redshirt seasons. Baugh, felled by anterior cruciate ligament surgery in both 2008 and 2009, is ready to get back as a productive paint prowler. A tremendous multi-dimensional talent, she is a relentless rebounder and alters shots because of her length.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am for a healthy Vicki Baugh to be returning to the court,” Summitt exclaimed. “She looks great and has her confidence back! Vicki makes such a difference in the post game -offensively as a great scorer and defensively in the way she can alter and block shots.”
A healthy Baugh, teamed with Cain in the post, makes for a dynamic combo and puts UT in the position to play with anybody in the country in the post game. Cain had a breakout season as a sophomore and rewrote former Lady Vol Candace Parker’s single season rejection standard with 113 throwbacks in 2010. Cain’s deft touch around the rim accounted for 60.7 percent of her field goals finding the bucket. “Over the summer, Kelley worked on her game. She is stronger, more mobile and her touch has improved. We look for her to be a key consistent scorer in the coming season,” Summitt said.
The bulk of the Lady Vol team is found in the “true” five-member junior class of forwards Alyssia Brewer (10.2 ppg and 5.9 rpg), Glory Johnson (10.1 ppg and 7.7 rpg) and Alicia Manning (5.4 ppg and 5.1 rpg) and guards Briana Bass (1.2 ppg and 0.7 rpg) and Shekinna Stricklen (12.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg and 3.9 apg).
In 2010, the biggest surprise might have been the development of Brewer, a strong 6’3″ lefty, who found her way into the starting line-up 13 times. She saved some of her best hoops for the SEC Tournament, where she was honored as the Most Valuable Player after helping to lead the Lady Vols to the 2010 title. Brewer won’t be in action for the start of the 2010-11 season until she returns from Sept. 10 surgery which repaired a tear to her left Achilles tendon as a result of a non-athletically related mishap.
“We’re anxious to see how Lyssi does coming back from her freak injury,” Summitt said. “She is motivated to become a member of a three-post rotation, and we’d really like to have her in that line-up. Lyssi worked on her game this summer and returns as a more versatile player.”
In Brewer’s absence, Johnson and Manning are sure to make a continued impact. This could be a transformational season for the 6’3″ Johnson, who is the most athletically gifted player ever to don an Orange & White jersey. She led the team in rebounding 17 times last season and has already made her way to the charity stripe 352 times in two campaigns. Her potential is unlimited if she can personally disable the rev limiter or lift the restrictor plate off her game and just drop the hammer.
“Glory has been working a great deal on her high post game and playing more efficiently off the bounce. She is such a versatile player. Glory likes to battle inside and be charged with taking on tough defensive assignments,” Summitt explained. A classmate who already plays at full throttle is the 6’1″ Manning, who provided solid numbers in her 14 starts and was third on the team in assists with 82 last year. She loves to play defense and is a “get in your grill” type of defender. She was recognized for both her offensive performance and defensive tenacity as a member of the 2010 SEC All-Tournament Team.
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LadyVolnation stand up!!! I know I haven’t given you guys anything to read about our Ladyvols, but I was just waiting to get to this game, now here we are. I want to start by getting you guys to really look at the picture..you see the look on “The Enforcer’s” face? Glory Johnson is focused guys, and this bodes well for our LadyVols team.
Tonight’s opponent was the Texas Longhorns, who defeated our lady vols 73-59, and I just remember the looks on the longhorns faces…ARROGANCE…NO PITY…looking like beating them was nothing. Kat Nash in particular was quoted as saying “we knew we could win, if we played our hardest, we would win!” Well tonight that look from “The Enforcer” was pin pointed on Kat Nash..and the results were different. Kat Nash scored 5 points. The lock down defense played by Glory was just exceptional.
Angie Bjorklund has really begun to crank it up against the smaller defenders. Remember that has been my only “knock” against Angie’s game..she wouldn’t pull up against the smaller defenders and take her shot. Well in the past two games she has been doing just that, and the results are great for the team. She had 15pts tonight. And I don’t know what else to say about “double s” Shekinna Strickly Sickly..is going to be the first one to get a triple double in a Lady Vols uniform. She definitely has played to a first team caliber. I am most impressed with her double digit rebounding…now if we can get those assists up, she will be unstoppable, which makes our team a “nightmare” for the opponent.
All I’m saying is if we can keep our intensity up..the road to redemption will give us a date with the Uconn Huskies, and the nation what it’s been waiting for since 2006.
SAN ANTONIO — Returning to San Antonio likely won’t be this easy for Tennessee.
Taber Spani scored 18 points and Glory Johnson added 17 as the Lady Vols (No. 5 ESPN/USA Today, No. 6 AP) crushed Texas Tech 91-53 on Tuesday night in what Tennessee hopes will be the first of two trips to the Final Four city this season.
The road back is bound to be tougher: Tennessee opened the second half on a 32-4 run, held Texas Tech to 30 percent shooting and handed the game over to Spani and the rest of the Lady Vols bench early.
About the only thing giving the game a Final Four feel was defending national champion Connecticut watching nearby, waiting to play Texas (No. 13 ESPN/USA Today, No. 10 AP) in the second game of a doubleheader.
“It gives [the players] a taste of what it’s all about,” Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said about playing in the San Antonio showcase. “Clearly, we all want to be back. It kind of whets your whistle a little bit.”
Shekinna Stricklen scored 16 points for the Tennessee and Angie Bjorklund sank four 3-pointers to finish with 14. The mostly burnt-orange crowd here for the Longhorns took in a dominating preview of Tennessee, which will face Texas at home Dec. 6.
Kierra Mallard scored 15 points and was the only player in double figures for Texas Tech. The Lady Raiders have never beaten the Lady Vols in six tries.
Tennessee flirted with holding Texas Tech to a single-game school record for poor field percentage before the Lady Raiders scored 21 of their points in the final 10 minutes. Before then, Texas Tech was shooting just under 24 percent from the floor.
Like the three other teams in the AT&T Center for the doubleheader, Texas Tech was once a Final Four contender before longtime coach Marsha Sharp retired after the 2005-06 season. Coach Kristy Curry has been trying to get Texas Tech back on track since.
“This does not define our season,” Curry said. “When you’re called for this opportunity, do you turn it down? No. You know this is the right step to take to get Tech back to where we want to be.”
The Lady Vols have now opened the year with two wins over Big 12 teams after beating Baylor (No. 9 ESPN/USA Today, No. 8 AP) on Sunday. They’ll play another pair of ranked teams starting Sunday at Virginia (No. 17 ESPN/USA Today, No. 12 AP) and then Nov. 25 at Middle Tennessee (No. 24 AP).
Stricklen just wants to be back in Texas come April.
“As a team that’s our main goal — to come back here,” Stricklen said. “Being here for the first time we really enjoyed it and we want to be back. We know what it takes to come back.”
Hello ladyvolnation! Well the two exhibition game are over and done with..defeating Carson Newman by 90, and then defeating Delta State by 33. We all watched how potent our offense can be, when Angie Bjorklund is hitting shots. She was 9-14 for 21pts, and the freshman phenom, Taber Spani…oooh the girl has a shot that is just beautiful, but what I love most is her “nose” for the ball. She has managed to grab 19 rebounds in her first two games as a Lady Vol, with 14 of those being offensive boards. With those two hitting on the perimeter, it opened up the inside game, and we watched Kelly Cain and Glory Johnson go to work against Carson Newman. However against Delta St. Glory was hampered by foul trouble, and at times what looked like fatigue. Without Vicki Baugh on the floor, Glory has to be a presence, no excuse me, Glory must be the ENFORCER. Don’t forget, she was ranked #2 in the country when she came in last season. She is very capable of wreaking havoc on the boards, and scoring in the post.
That brings me to the reason I spoke of “pride” of our LadyVols…last year this team manage to “fail” at almost everything possible. Yeah it was extremely hard for me to type that sentence, but unfortunately it’s true. Last season, teams really believed they could come into the Summit and beat them..and that happened way too much then, but this can be an embarrassment on a whole other level. The last dunks to come in womens basketball all belong to LadyVols, except for the one dunk Sylvia Fowles got in her last season at LSU. Michelle Snow, and Candace Parker have both dunked in games on other opponents floor, most notable Parker in Connecticut. No opponent has dunked on a LadyVol team…EVER! We know Brittney Griner is “itching” to be the first to ever do that…but Kelly Cain has a different thought towards that…NOT IN OUR HOUSE! Kelly is playing great, but most importantly, she looks healthy. She stands at 6’6 and with Griner at 6’8, that battle in the post is going to be something. No matter what, and at ALL cost..there will not be a dunk by Brittney Griner at the expense of the “Big Orange” cause even if we win the game…sportscenter will show that dunk over and over. So memo to all of our post players…you have 5 fouls, use them.
The lineup that worked well together: Cain,Stricklen,Bjorklund,Spani, and Manning. Johnson seemed to flourish coming off the bench. Yet, no matter what 5 players start on Sunday, we should have our way with Baylor. Hopefully our ladys will strap that Orange on…and seek REDEMPTION. As far Cain and Griner…Cain when asked about the game Sunday said; “I’m ready for EVERY GAME”…I’m ready! Brittney get your weight up…your height is superior, but you don’t weigh enough.
Nov. 5, 2009
Lady Vols Media Relations
Six players reached double figures and No. 8 Tennessee defeated Carson-Newman 124-34 in an exhibition game Thursday night in Thompson-Boling Arena.
Sophomore Glory Johnson led the way with a game-high 22 points and 10 rebounds, and junior Angie Bjorklund scored 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting before making her exit midway through the second half.
At one point after halftime, Bjorklund had scored more points than Carson-Newman.
Freshman guard Taber Spani started and scored 17 points in her first game as a Lady Vol. Alicia Manning added 18 points, and Kelley Cain had 16 points. Shekinna Stricklen chipped in 12 points, 10 of which came in the first half.
No other freshmen played until forward Kamiko Williams, who scored two points on 1-of-2 shooting, entered with about 6:21 remaining in the game. Faith Dupree did not play.
For the game, Tennessee hit 62 percent of its shots from the field, including a 45-percent clip from beyond the 3-point line. Bjorklund and Spani both hit a team-high three 3-pointers.
The Lady Vols opened the game on a 16-3 run and cruised to a 64-18 lead at halftime, thanks in large part to 18 first-half turnovers by Carson-Newman.
Tennessee scored 22 points off turnovers in the opening half and used their considerable size advantage inside to outscore the Lady Eagles 34-8 inside over the same span.
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The Lady Vols defeated Carson-Newman 135-55 in an exhibition game last year and have now scored more than 100 points in five of their last six exhibition games against the Division II school. Tennessee returns to the court Monday for its final exhibition game against Delta State at 7 p.m. in Thompson-Boling Arena.
The Lady Vols open the regular season at home against No. 7 Baylor on Nov. 15 as part of the State Farm Classic.
Visit UTTix.com to purchase tickets.
Pat Summitt sounds serious.
The warning issued by Tennessee’s women’s basketball coach to freshman Kamiko Williams last month evoked early winter, not late summer.
“We’re going to be a different team,” Summitt said. ” . . That’s why Kamiko better get in the picture real soon. I hate to see her get left out entirely.”
For Summitt, “different” means more attuned to defense and playing more like a typical Tennessee team.
“Just looking back, we were never committed to defense for 40 minutes a game,” she said. “It was more pick and choose when we’re going to play hard. We’re not going to be that team this year.”
If she’s really serious about that, it’ll take more than threatening a callow first-year player like Williams. With the Lady Vols beginning weekly full-team workouts on Thursday, it will take deploying sophomore Glory Johnson on the perimeter as Tennessee’s lead defender.
Johnson was used there some last season. The strategy was conceived as a way to utilize Johnson’s 6-foot-3 wingspan and her quickness.
The former Webb School star was the most athletic Lady Vol last season. Watching her dart around the court at Pratt Pavilion the past few weeks reinforces the distinction. Even Summitt conceded, “I have no doubt that she can guard anyone, anywhere on the court.”
Furthermore, Johnson’s physical talents have been enhanced by a season’s worth of experience. All of the sophomores are talking about an improved comfort level. Johnson described the difference in a defensive context.
“I don’t have to think about the way to play defense,” she said. “The way to close out, the way to deny – I don’t have to think about it anymore. It comes natural. It’s kind of comforting.”
What better time then to turn a strategic change-up into a staple. What better way to invigorate UT’s effort than casting Johnson in a role comparable to past stoppers Nikki McCray and Alexis Hornbuckle.
Summitt qualifies Johnson’s defensive potential with apprehension about discipline and Johnson’s tendency to foul.
“That’s the biggest hurdle we’ll have to get over with her,” Summitt said.
But that worry will follow Johnson all over the court, no matter whom she’s guarding or where she’s defending. Perhaps another concern should take priority – namely Johnson’s offensive game.
On the other end of the court, she remains a work in progress. She joked about the sleeve-like wrap she’s wearing to protect her left shoulder as it pertained to one of her more challenging shots.
“You have to find new ways to make a left-handed layup, which is rough for me already,” she said.
Johnson said that she spent the offseason working on her left-handed dribbling, her free throw shooting and her jump shot.
Listening to her brought to mind Hornbuckle and the offseasons she spent shooting countless jumpers. The best she could do in four years was become a streaky shooter.
Nobody will remember, however. Instead, Hornbuckle will be recalled as the Lady Vols’ all-time steals leader and a key contributor on back-to-back national championship teams.
Johnson could be afforded a similar opportunity. Even with forward Vicki Baugh still recovering from knee surgery and center Kelley Cain yet to complete a season because of knee and concussion problems, Tennessee remains plenty big with the addition of freshmen Faith Dupree and Taber Spani, who looks taller than her listed 6-1.
There appears to be enough height for Johnson to step out on the perimeter and create some serious havoc.
Dan Fleser covers the Lady Vols. He can be reached at 865-342-6288 or firstname.lastname@example.org