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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!!


Lady Vols defeat Ole Miss 75-63 to End Regular Season

KNOXVILLE — Tennessee coach Pat Summitt could tell a difference in her team in its first game since clinching the Southeastern Conference regular-season championship.
She was hardly happy about it.
Shekinna Stricklen scored 23 points to help the No. 4 Lady Volunteers fight off a second-half rally from Mississippi for a 75-63 victory Sunday night, but Summitt was in no mood to celebrate Tennessee’s 11th consecutive win to close out the regular season.
“Do I look like I’m happy? Do I sound like I’m happy?” Summitt said. “I’m disappointed in our team not bringing it all the time. If you are a team on a mission, you can see it. You can feel it, you know, and it’s just obvious. But no, in this game, we decided to pick and choose, and we had two players step up and play great.”
Alicia Manning recorded her first double-double with a career-high 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Lady Vols (27-2, 15-1 SEC), and Stricklen also had 10 rebounds.
“We won, and I know it’s not one of our best games,” Stricklen said. “But right now, we just have to let it go and just get ready for tournament time, and just go hard in every one of the games we play.”
The Rebels (16-13, 6-8) got 34 points from Bianca Thomas and erased a double-digit deficit in the second half only to lose for the eighth time in 10 games and the second time this season against Tennessee.
Elizabeth Robertson’s putback with 12:37 remaining completed Mississippi’s comeback to tie the score at 50, but Tennessee put away the game by scoring 17 of the next 21 points.
Thomas, the SEC’s leading scorer, hit 11 of 27 field goals and four of her 10 3-point attempts to post the second-highest point total of her senior season.
“I think she proved to everyone again tonight that she is one of the top players in the conference,” Rebels coach Renee Ladner said. “She’s still the leading scorer in the conference. I’ve said it all year. I think she’s been a little disrespected, and she continues to prove people wrong. She was just outstanding for our team.”
This one lacked some of the late drama of the last two meetings between the teams, both of which were won on last-second shots by Lady Vols guard Angie Bjorklund.
“It’s happened two years straight,” Thomas said. “Angie got a shot at the end in Oxford. It was very heartbreaking, not only to me but to the whole team.”
The two teams could meet again in just a few days. The loss dropped Mississippi to the No. 9 seed for this week’s SEC tournament in Duluth, Ga., where the Rebels will open Thursday against eighth-seeded South Carolina.
The winner will advance to play Tennessee for the third time this season on Friday.
“If we have to play Ole Miss again, that’s a big challenge,” Summitt said. “South Carolina is playing well.”
The Lady Vols scored the game’s first eight points in less than two minutes — including two 3s by Stricklen — and took a 40-32 advantage into halftime.
Stricklen finished with double-digit scoring for the sixth consecutive game for Tennessee, which shot 42.6 percent and scored 34 points in the paint.
“I think she’s been in the gym and getting up just shot after shot after shot,” Summitt said of Stricklen. “She’s just committed to being a player that’s going to have repetition offensively, and not just occasionally but often.”

Wow who would have ever thought that ALICIA MANNING was going to become the X-factor on this LadyVols team? I must admit, I didn’t at the beginning of the season, but every since she was inserted into the starting lineup, Alicia Manning has been playing like a woman possessed. Eating up rebounds on the offensive end, and laying the ball back up. Now if she get’s more confident to take the WIDE-OPEN jump shots, the opponents are done for. I am so happy to see her get an opportunity, but glad she doesn’t have to be the point guard, just able to be like a roamer on defense, and she takes it personally, and I love that. She get’s in there and mix it up with the best of them, and her toughness can not be denied. Alicia Manning I tip my hat to you, the Ladyvols are undefeated with you in the starting line-up, and now it’s tournament time.


LadyVols Defeat Alabama 74-67 (Pat Summitt Not Happy)

At least it wasn’t a lost night.
The Lady Vols erased any lingering possibility of the unthinkable against the SEC’s last-place team with a scoring spurt inside the final 10 minutes. It provided sufficient breathing room for a 74-67 women’s a.inline_topic:hover { background-color: #EAEAEA; } basketball victory before a Pink Zone crowd of 3,900 at Coleman Coliseum.
The outcome didn’t provide much in the way of solace, however.
“It’s an opportunity for our basketball team to take a look at who we are,’’ UT coach a.inline_topic:hover { background-color: #EAEAEA; } Pat Summitt said. “… We disrespected the game of basketball tonight.”
Alyssia Brewer, who started in place of Kelley Cain, scored a team-high 20 points for No. 5 Tennessee (24-2, 12-1 SEC). She also grabbed 10 rebounds. Shekinna Stricklen scored 14 points and Angie Bjorklund had 13
Freshman guard Celiscia Farmer made her first career start and scored a career-high 21 for Alabama (10-16, 2-11).
The Crimson Tide committed 24 turnovers, which resulted in a corresponding 27-14 Tennessee advantage in points off turnovers. That helped cover for the Lady Vols being outrebounded 45-33 and shooting 11 for 24 from the free throw line.
The Crimson Tide became just the second team to outrebound Tennessee this season (the other was No. 2 Stanford) and shot 45.9 percent from the floor, a season best by a UT opponent.
“We had a chance, if we had made some shots, to pull off something big,’’ Alabama coach Wendell Hudson said.
Tennessee came to Tuscaloosa without Cain, who stayed in Knoxville to attend classes. Alabama, on the other hand, began without its usual starting five, sending reserves Alyson Butler, Carmen McCoy, Katie Hancock, Tamara Williams and Farmer out for the opening tip.
“We were going to play who will play hard,’’ Hudson said. “That’s the group that was playing hardest in practice.”
Alabama’s new lineup played UT to standstill until the usual starters checked in with 14:14 left in the first half, establishing the rebounding dominance and shooting accuracy.
Tennessee, meanwhile, wasn’t establishing much of anything.

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Posted by on February 19, 2010 in alabama, ladyvols, pat summitt, tennessee, UT


Kelly Cain Will Not Make The Trip To Alabama

Tennessee center Kelley Cain will not be making the trip for Thursday’s game at Alabama in order to attend classes on campus.

UT coach Pat Summitt said during her teleconference today that she offered to allow the 6-foot-6 center to stay in Knoxville and Cain’s response was “Coach that would be awesome.”

Cain, who is an honor-roll student majoring in marketing, has a heavy class load on Thursday and the Lady Vols have been on the road for three of the last four Thursday games, which has limited her attendance. Alyssia Brewer will start in Cain’s absence.


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Posted by on February 17, 2010 in alabama, kelly cain, ladyvols, pat summitt, tennessee, UT



Tennessee's Kamiko Williams  (4) drives for the basket as South Carolina's Samone Kennedy (4) and Ashley Bruner (21) look on during the first half of the game in Columbia, S.C.

Photo by Mary Ann Chastain
Tennessee’s Kamiko Williams (4) drives for the basket as South Carolina’s Samone Kennedy (4) and Ashley Bruner (21) look on during the first half of the game in Columbia, S.C.

After Kamiko Williams’ strong supporting performance, the Tennessee freshman will be playing the lead role at point guard.
UT coach Pat Summitt said Monday that Williams will start Thursday when the Lady Vols face Arkansas in an SEC women’s basketball game at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Sophomore Shekinna Stricklen, who had been the starting point guard, will line up for the opening tip against the Razorbacks at a wing position while continuing to help at the point.
“I think she truly wants to help our team and she knows she can,’’ Summitt said of Williams. “I think she’s more serious now than at any point in time. Off the bounce, she’s the best we’ve got.”
Williams relieved Stricklen at South Carolina and responded with a season-high 17 points and a team-high four assists in a 60-55 comeback victory. Even after Stricklen returned in the second half, the 5-foot-11 Williams manned the point for some key possessions down the stretch.
South Carolina coach Dawn Staley described Williams as “a luxury” as a reserve and said that her size created a matchup problem for South Carolina’s players.
“We’ve always told her she has such potential,’’ UT teammate Angie Bjorklund said after Sunday’s game. “She just has to play with confidence.”
Williams’ role was upgraded after Stricklen suffered through a three-game stretch in January in which she committed 19 turnovers. Summitt and associate head coach Holly Warlick compiled a DVD of five set plays for Williams to study and she did her best to get a better handle on UT’s offense.
Williams, who played point and shooting guard at Northeast High in Clarksville, Tenn., ran the point while Stricklen was at the wing during portions of last Thursday’s 85-56 victory over Auburn.
Summitt thinks the lineup change ought to be a relief to Stricklen.
“I think her not feeling the burden of playing that position all the time will be good,’’ Summitt said. “I think she’ll be more comfortable when she knows she has help. I think she saw (Sunday) that she has some help.”
Stricklen scored all nine of her points against South Carolina in the second half.
The role of backup point guard Briana Bass, on the other hand, remains in flux. She played one minute Sunday. Summitt said the decision was based on UT going to its zone defense and utilizing the Lady Vols’ height.
“I think it all depends on situations in the game,’’ Summitt said.
In starting Williams, Summitt is mindful of filling a key role with a player who she has criticized this season for suspect work habits and a casual demeanor.
“It all depends on her,’’ Summitt said. “I can’t tell you she’s going to be doing this all the time. She’s young. We’ll take this one game at a time.”

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Posted by on February 2, 2010 in kamiko, ladyvols, tennessee, UT, williams



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Posted by on January 31, 2010 in ladyvolnation, ladyvols, Pat, Summitt, tennessee, UT


Lady Vols defeat LSU 55-43: Player of the Game Alyssi Brewer

LSU's LaShondra Barrett falls after being fouled by Tennessee's Kelley Cain during the first half Sunday. (AP Photo/Mark Saltz)
LSU’s LaShondra Barrett falls after being fouled by Tennessee’s Kelley Cain during the first half Sunday. (AP Photo/Mark Saltz)
Associated Press
BATON ROUGE, La. — No. 3 Tennessee’s offense struggled in its 55-43 victory over LSU (No. 19 ESPN/USA Today, No. 18 AP) on Sunday night, but coach Pat Summitt was still pleased — with a tough zone defense.
“I thought our coverage out of the zone was really good,” Summitt said. “We extended it. We were aggressive, we got after it. Obviously we wanted to make sure we were not just giving them good open looks or a lot of chances to get in the paint.”
The Lady Volunteers, who scored about 20 points below their average, held LSU to 26 percent shooting from the field.
Alyssia Brewer made the most of her third Southeastern Conference start, scoring 14 points and grabbing seven rebounds for Tennessee. Kelly Cain added 11 points and Angie Bjorklund had 10 for the Lady Vols (17-2, 5-1).
Allison Hightower led LSU (14-4, 3-3) with 17 points and LaSondra Barrett had 12. Jasmine Nelson had 10 rebounds for the Tigers.
LSU scored only 5 points in the first three minutes of the game.
“I think during those plays we had a lot of breakdowns,” said Hightower. “We fouled the shooter and put them on the line. They got a few easy looks in the post. I guess we had a lot of breakdowns at key moments in the game — blocking out and rebounding.”
Tennessee, playing its second straight road game, led by as much as seven in the first half and took a 24-22 lead at the break.
LSU took its only lead of the game with 12:18 remaining in the second half, going up 35-32 before the Vols answered with an 18-2 run to put the Lady Tigers away.
The much bigger Lady Vols gave LSU problems under the basket, holding the Tigers to only 12 points in the paint. Tennessee outrebounded LSU 39-32.
LSU retired former player Seimone Augustus’ jersey before the game. Augustus, a two-time national player of the year, led the Tigers to their first Final Four as a sophomore and ranks in LSU’s top 10 in every major category. Augustus is the first female athlete at LSU to have her jersey retired. It now hangs beside those of Pete Maravich, Shaquille O’Neal, and Bob Petit.
The rivalry game, normally a big draw, played second fiddle to the New Orleans Saints taking on the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship Game, which kicked off at the Superdome shortly after the tip in Baton Rouge.

Update: The New Orleans Saints beat the Minnesota Vikings 31-28 in overtime. Also the Lady Vols played great defense in this game. I like the way Kamiko Williams played as well in the first half, but what I didn’t like is the look of “pain” on Glory Johnson face after she would go up for a rebound. Glory was over on the bench getting her backed worked on by trainer Jenny Moshak. LadyVolsNation make sure you are praying for Glory, we can’t afford to lose another post player, specifically Glory “I eat rebounds” Johnson.

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Posted by on January 25, 2010 in ladyvols, lsu, Pat, Summitt, tennessee, tigers, UT



LadyVolNation…stand up!! Yea I know you may be a little “stunned” right now..but shake it off. This loss was bound to “come” based on the way our offense has played in the past 2 games versus Florida and Vanderbilt. Yet, even though no one wants to think about it…our defense was great, until they got the wide open lay-up to go ahead. Now I could go into how the refs allowed Robinson, and Phillips to come over the back on Glory Johnson ALL NIGHT long, but I won’t. Where I will go, is to our point guard position, where Shekinna Stricklen continues to “struggle” when she is not playing at home. I am not blaming all the poor play on Shekinna, but in the game of basketball, as your point guard play goes, so does the team. Remember the point guard “leads” the team, and is a pressure filled position. In the past 3 games here are Shekinna’s numbers combined: She shot 12-30fg, 30pts/12rbs/9asst/and are you ready for this..19 turn overs! I know you looking at those numbers and saying that’s not “bad”..(not the turn overs) but in almost 120 minutes of play those numbers are not going to get it. Watching Shekinna in the past 3 games has been “hard” on this fan. I don’t know if she is hurting or what? She looks a “step” slow, and at times just not into the game. The steals that Georgia, Vandy, and Florida got on her were just too easy. I’m not going to make excuses, all I know is the Shekinna that’s out there playing, is not the Shekinna who got the triple double a few games before these three. Can someone wake up the SEC player of the week please. The 2 man game between her and Bjorklund is keyed on by the opponents defense, so they must find another way to bring Angie off the screen. She has not done much better. Her numbers for the past 3 games 9-32fg, 25pts/3asst…uh not going to get it done. I bring these two up, because they are our leading scorers, and they both dominate the ball the majority of the time. During this game I watched them dump the ball to Glory Johnson 3 times in a row, and each time she scored, so please tell me why they went away from that?
Then Kelly just simply lost her cool. A combination of playing in her “hometown” and then the refs letting them “bang” on one end and not the other. Not to mention, why are the refs so sensitive? This was a big game, give the kids a little bit of lee way. Oh and by the way, that was NOT a foul, thank goodness for DVR. Yet I digress on that point, because as tight as the game was, and in spite of the Ladyvols only getting 7 foul shots, compared to ladybulldogs 23 attempts, they were still able to keep it close. It always trips me out when people say don’t blame the refs, but did you notice that Georgia was not scoring “inside” yet they got 23 foul shot attempts? And the ladyvols, who were working inside all night, only managed to get 7, and those came in the second half? Hey I’m just saying…don’t act like the refs don’t impact the game.
Now enter in off the bench, freshman guard Kamiko Williams, and I will honestly say, she is the X factor for this ladyvols team. As Shekinna stats has dwindled to obscurity, Kamiko has begin to show her poise on the floor. If you haven’t noticed, Kamiko is on the floor at the end of games now, which says that Pat trusts her on the floor at critical times. If you want to see Shekinna Stricklen “flourish” on the floor…put her out there with Williams on the floor. Kamiko reminds me of WNBA champion, and former UNC guard, Nikki Teasley. She is 5’11 with great court vision. Some of the passes she makes are Magic esque. She also has no problem getting the ball into the post, and can break down even the quickest of defenders.
I really don’t think it will be long before the LadyVols starting lineup looks like this: PG-Williams SG-Bjorklund SF-Stricklen PF-Johnson C-Cain…Stricklen can take ANY forward off the dribble, and she don’t have to worry about setting up the offense. Sometimes you can’t MAKE someone into something, and I know Pat want’s Shekinna to “embrace” it and flow consistently in it, but she is truly having trouble, let’s not make this hard. Put her where she can flow effortlessly in her game. And that bench has Spani, Brewer,Bass,Smallbone,Manning..which is sufficient. Every player is not designed to be the “franchise” player, for example Tony Romo (when the pressure is on, he continues to show inconsistency)…but then you have someone who is fearless, who wants the responsibilty of being the franchise player (go to) Glory Johnson. Angie Bjorklund can be…but she doesn’t have that “killer instinct”…one thing is for sure, someone has to step up, and become that go to player…uh Angie come get the ball!
FYI: I’M THE BIGGEST LADY VOLS FAN..AND KINNA IF YOU READ THIS, MAKE A LIAR OUT OF ME! I want another triple double, heck I’ll take a double double…just play your game. LadyVols 4 life. THE ROAD TO REDEMPTION CONTINUES

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Posted by on January 22, 2010 in georgia, ladybulldogs, ladyvols, tennessee, UT


Road To Redemption: LadyVolsNation Stand Up

LadyvolsNation stand up…our beloved team is sitting at 10-1, after playing 6 ranked teams in those 11 games. I am very happy about how we have started off this season. The teams chemistry on the court is very evident this year…although I’m still not sure about a couple of players, who seems to not be able to play off each other. I’m hoping to see Johnson and Stricklen really get there act together on the court. Everytime I watch them on the floor together, there seems to be no “interaction” between the two. But nonetheless, our once “babyvols” are maturing into champions. When we got the #1 recruiting class in 2004, I know we all believed that winning would come right then, yet it took that group 2 years to get it together. I believe we are seeing the same thing with this group, only the final four is definitely in this groups future (if you remember we lost in the elite 8 with that Candace Parker group).

So what will it take to become champions this season? When it looks as if Uconn is invincible. Our “test” against Stanford, we failed miserably…and I know Pat said Stanford just played great defense, and though they defense wasn’t “bad”, but what I seen was more of us not hitting open shots. I watch Shekinna and others miss chippies around the rim, open jumpers, and it went on and on. And yet after that loss I didn’t have that feeling from last year…you know the one that made you doubt the “commitment” level of this team. Instead I was more like, come March we are going to be incredible! I am convinced that our #3 ranking is very legit…and by the time we meet up with Stanford again, perhaps in the final four, the outcome will be different.

Everyone has their own opinions about how this will happen, but mine is spoken in two words: KAMIKO WILLIAMS. Back when I did my Intro to Kamiko Williams, I was saying then that Kamiko is going to be a beast for the LadyVols. She has all the tools that we have been missing for a long time. She don’s a 5-11 inch frame, the fact that she is left-handed is a bonus, she rebounds and blocks shots, and I love her energy on the floor. Even though when I’m watching her with the ball in her hands it looks like she is moving in slow Pat gave her the opportunity to display her skills against USF, and she had 14pts/8rbs/4stls/3ast/2blks. LadyvolsNation we have a player right here, and she will allow Shekinna to play in her “natural” position. Honestly I need a great 6th woman…and don’t hate me right, but when Williams is truly ready…PG Williams,SG Bjorklund SF Stricklen PF Johnson C Cain…ok let me explain. Taking Taber out of this starting lineup allows her to be more aggressive with the second unit. It also gives Kamiko the experience she will need for March.

The Road To Redemption is in full effect…next stop Old Dominion!

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