Category Archives: pat summitt


Mercedes Russell has narrowed her choices of where she will play ball for the next 4 years down to the University of Tennessee & Louisville. The 6’5 Center is the #1 recruit for the class of 2013. Mercedes visited Tennessee last weekend, and spent this weekend visiting Louisville, and is expected to make the announcement during a pep rally at 5:30pm (est).

As a Lady Vols fan for over 25years, I am praying that she chooses Tennessee. With the announcement of legendary coach Pat Summitt retiring because of being diagnosed with early onset dementia, it seems that top recruits are just not sure what to expect from long time assistant Holly Warlick. Well I would say, more of the same. Holly has been an apprentice to Pat for over 25 years. Pat Summitt philosophies, and the foundation she built are engrained in Holly. Yet, coach will have her own way of implementing what she learned from Pat.

Mercedes is the labeled as the 2nd coming of Candace Parker, so I know she has to come and put on that orange/white/blue jersey. She will have one of the top guards in the country (Ariel Massengale) throwing her passes in the lane where she will be in position to score easily. And she will have at that time a senior shooting guard named Meighan Simmons who will keep the defense from doubling down on her.

I do believe that when this dominoe falls (Mercedes announces her school) we will see a slew of players making announcements. I mean who wouldn’t want to be on the court with her as their teammate? Like Pat once said about Parker: “All I knew was that I surely didn’t want to have to play against her for 4 years.” Heck you see the look on the Brazilian players face…yep sure fright! I want Mercedes Russell on my team in 2013!



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.




The University of Tennessee Women’s Athletic Department announced today that after careful consideration and consultation with medical experts, Lady Vol redshirt sophomore basketball student-athlete Amber Gray will not be cleared by the department’s medical staff to resume team-related athletic activities with respect to intercollegiate competition at UT.
“Amber is a courageous young woman, and we hope she will remain at UT as a student,” women’s athletic director Joan Cronan said. “If she decides she would like to pursue a playing opportunity at another university, we will support her decision to do so. We only want what is best for Amber.”

This is a “sad” blow to my lady vols nation. I was really hoping that Amber would be able to make a full recovery, in respect to playing the sport she loves again. Yet, at this point I’m just happy for her second chance at life. God Bless you Amber. And I hope she continues her education at UT.



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Posted by on August 4, 2010 in amber gray, pat summitt, tennessee






Since her summer calendar is open, Tennessee’s Kamiko Williams plans to fill it with school and basketball.
“I have nothing else to do,” said the 5-foot-11 freshman guard, who said that she will attend both summer school sessions. “Daddy’s leaving. Mamma’s working.”
Williams’ father, Vincent, is a Master Sergeant in the United States Army and begins a tour of duty in Iraq in August.
“I’m used to him leaving; my brother, on the other hand, I don’t think he is,” said Williams, referring to her younger sibling, Keynante. “Since I was in like the sixth grade, he’s always been gone and in high school he was gone for at least a year. So I’m used to it.
“I just wish I was closer to home kind of, so to help my mom out. She gets a lot of stress.”
Regarding her game, everything from improving her conditioning to becoming more proficient with her right hand (her off hand) are on Williams’ agenda. Assistant coach Dean Lockwood wants her to sharpen her offensive moves.
“Being able to do things off one or two explosive dribbles,” he said.
Williams is young enough to still be getting plenty of advice from her teammates. Yet she’s experienced enough to offer her own to next season’s freshmen.
“Get rid of your stubborn ways and buy into the program as soon as possible,” she said. “If not, your life is going to be crappy.”
Nothing’s Free: One of center Kelley Cain’s summer projects figures to be upgrading her 47.1 percent free-throwing shooting.
Lockwood believes it’s a matter of Cain doing countless repetition with a consistent routine.
“Good reps with a system she trusts,” he said. “Get her mind to relax.”
UT coach a.inline_topic:hover { background-color: #EAEAEA; } Pat Summitt also recommended that Cain avoid early foul trouble in games next season or risk losing her starting spot.
“We can’t do that next year,” Summitt said. “No. Not happening.”
Earn Your Minutes: With Vicki Baugh and Faith Dupree on schedule to return next season, there will be more post players vying for playing time. Fellow post Alyssia Brewer thinks those minutes will turn out to be time well spent.
“There were a couple of games this year when one of us really wasn’t doing anything, but we really couldn’t change that because we only had three posts,” she said. “So either you were going to get something or you weren’t.
“Next year, if somebody is not producing, you can put somebody else in and see if they’re going to produce. I think it’s going to be great, and I think it’s going to be a challenge for the posts.”
More On Brewer: Brewer intends to work on a mid-range shooting during the offseason. Summitt doesn’t want her to forget about conditioning.
“I think she’s got to get in better shape,” Summitt said. “I think being a little bit lighter on her feet would make a big difference.”


Pat Summitt new recruit for this next upcoming 2010-11 season, Meighan Simmons, seen here during her visit to Knoxville with Summitt and assistant coach Dean Lockwood. Pat has a very skilled pg right here…and the competition is going to be rugged. I look at Simmons as the opposite of Williams. Kamiko is deceptively athletic and quick…and to me has the better handle, but Meighan is just QUICK…she can’t hide it…the girl can surely score, as evidenced by her 21pts performance during the McDonald’s All America Game. Another thing I love is she is a very humble kid, and I don’t think Pat will have a problem coaching her at all. We all know that Pat “converted” Stricklen into a pg, but hopefully she will just put her trust into one of these kids she has recruited and roll with it. Honestly, I believe that with Simmons and Williams, the problem has been solved…when u ready to run, load up the posts, and the wings…and both of these players can find the open shooter, but more importantly they can both score off the dribble.
I know it’s been hard for us, LADYVOLNATION, but remember when Candace’s class came in, it took them two years to get to the Ship, and one took GOD…to get (Candace’s shoulder dislocating twice & a last second shot by Alexis Hornbuckle to beat LSU) yet they persevered and won it all. Get ready for the two best shows to date from LadyVols team…LET’S GO!


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — No one was more surprised than Meighan Simmons that she ended up as the player of the game.

The Tennessee signee scored 21 points in 14 minutes and Texas A&M-bound Karla Gilbert added 15 points to lead the West past the East 84-75 Wednesday night in the McDonald’s All-American game at Ohio State’s Value City Arena.

“To be honest with you, I wanted to come here and have fun,” said Simmons, from Steele High School in Cibolo, Texas. “I wasn’t expecting anything at all. It’s just a blessing to be in a game like this.”

Chiney Ogwumike, headed for Stanford, had 14 points and Duke’s Richa Jackson added 12 points for the West, which built a big early lead and then hung on as the East mounted a furious comeback.

Natasha Howard, who will play at Florida State this fall, was the East MVP with 20 points, while future Connecticut teammates Bria Hartley and Stefanie Dolson had 17 and 12, respectively.

Howard, Ohio’s Ms. Basketball out of Waite High School in Toledo, was supported by several dozen relatives and fans who drove down for the game.

“That was my high school team, my mom and some friends,” she said. “They were the loudest people in the crowd.”

With the game tied at 16, the West scored 21 of the next 27 points to take control. Jackson, a Duke signee, had six points and Ogwumike and Simmons each had four in the surge.

The East, down by as many as 22 points, drew as close as six points with less than a minute left on a 3-pointer by Penn State’s Maggie Lucas. But Simmons hit two foul shots and Madison Williams, headed for Michigan State, hit a follow for some breathing room for the West.

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Posted by on April 1, 2010 in MEIGHAN SIMMONS, pat summitt


Lady Vols Road To Redemption Continues with SEC Tournament Win over Kentucky

DULUTH, Ga. — Shekinna Stricklen scored 20 points and No. 4 Tennessee beat Kentucky (No. 18 ESPN/USA Today, No. 19 AP) 70-62 on Sunday to win the SEC tournament and possibly wrap up a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Coach Pat Summitt was so pleased she brought down the house with a postgame song.
Tennessee completed its first sweep of the Southeastern Conference’s regular-season and tournament championships in 10 years. In each case, the decisive win came against Kentucky, which improved from a .500 finish a year ago to play in its first tournament final in 28 years.
Tennessee (30-2) earned its 14th straight win to give Summitt her 19th 30-win season.
Kentucky (25-7) played tough in its first championship game appearance since winning its only title in 1982. The Wildcats, led by Victoria Dunlap’s 21 points, played even with the Lady Vols until midway through the second half.
Tennessee players celebrated at midcourt before starting to cut down the nets. Summitt then stole the microphone — and the show — when she started singing “Rocky Top.”
“You are the best fans! We love you!” Summitt said after her song.
Tennessee fans dominated the Gwinnett Arena crowd of 5,854. The orange-clad fans were especially loud when the Lady Vols took control with an 11-3 run for a 61-53 lead following a 50-50 tie.
Tennessee set a school record with 15 blocks when it clinched the SEC regular-season title with its 81-65 win over Kentucky on Feb. 25. The Wildcats showed no sign of intimidation in the rematch, even after Tennessee took an early 19-9 lead.
Kentucky answered to take its first lead with 5 minutes remaining in the half.
A layup by A’dia Mathies cut the Tennessee lead to 23-22. Amber Smith then stole the ball, drove toward the basket and made a behind-the-back pass to Dunlap, who was fouled as she scored. Dunlap’s free throw gave Kentucky a 25-23 lead.
Freshman Kamiko Williams, who didn’t score in Tennessee’s first two tournament games, answered Dunlap’s three-point play with four straight baskets, helping the Lady Vols lead 35-29 at halftime.
Tennessee center Kelley Cain picked up two quick fouls and played only three minutes in the first half. The Lady Vols’ depth showed as they held a 31-14 advantage in rebounds even playing most of the half without the 6-foot-6 Cain.
Cain had 11 points, all in the second half.
Kentucky opened the second half with an 13-3 run for a 42-38 lead. Stricklen’s three-point play and 3-point shot helped Tennessee pull even at 46-46.
Following the last tie at 50-all, Tennessee took the lead for good with an 11-3 run, which included another 3-pointer from Stricklen.
Tennessee’s Alyssia Brewer, who had eight points, was named tournament MVP.

Great job by my LadyVols! The road 2 redemption continues…Pat Summitt once again is genius for adding Alicia Manning to this starting line up, and I give much props to Alicia for understanding her role on this team, and doing it beyond anything, we could have imagined. And for her relentlessness on the offensive boards..she get’s the fans MVP. And understand I noticed the games Alyssia Brewer has been having, but Manning just doing it through hustle plays, and on both ends of the floor.

Game ball goes to the freshman Kamiko Williams…when she entered the game, the momentum was turned around back into the Lady Vols favor. Kamiko played solid on both ends of the floor, and proved that when she is focused, Shekinna Stricklen is free to be that go to player we need. Her game just becomes so much easier.

Now it will be interesting to see, if the committee will give us our WELL-EARNED #1 seed in the NCAA tournament?…San Antonio the road to redemption leads to you. Go LadyVols!!

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