Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Summitt unhappy with Lady Vols’ play

KNOXVILLE — Pat Summitt stopped the tape and looked at her team.

The Lady Vols were watching the film from their 64-54 win over NC State on Sunday, and the Tennessee coach had the volume loud.

She wanted her players to hear when ESPN2 announcers Pam Ward and Ann Meyers commented on the ''inefficiency'' of Tennessee's halfcourt offense over the past two years.

''It's almost like a slap in the face to us that are trying to lead this team,'' junior guard Shanna Zolman said. The halfcourt offense has been less than impressive in the Lady Vols' first two games of the season, and No. 1 Tennessee (2-0) gets a brand new challenge tonight at 6 p.m. from a George Washington team that likes to provide different looks on defense.

The Colonials (2-0) allowed just 34 points and forced 32 turnovers in their win over East Carolina Sunday.

The Lady Vols, meanwhile, are averaging 66 points a game in their first two outings, and they have already committed a combined 36 turnovers. That doesn't count the times they had to force shots as the shot clock wound down because of a lack of movement on offense.

''If there was a standing award, it belonged to Tennessee,'' Summitt said. ''It's kind of your worst nightmare. You get there and you don't have great leadership, and people start standing.''

So yesterday at practice, Summitt cut the offense down by about 50 percent and begged for her guards to take ownership of the offense. Senior point guard Loree Moore said part of the problem against N.C. State was a lack of communication.

''[N.C. State was] getting after it, but they weren't doing that much to cause us to have that much confusion on the court,'' Moore said.

The Lady Vols play on ESPN2 again Thanksgiving night at No. 4 Texas. They're hoping there won't be any need for announcers to take jabs at their offense.

''It hurt, because we know from an outsider's point of view, people think that,'' Zolman said. ''They don't see us do it in practice, but that's not where it counts. You have to do it in the game.''

Easy as 1, 2, 3: The SEC took all of the top three spots in the latest edition of the AP poll. Tennessee remained at No. 1. LSU moved to No. 2, and Georgia jumped up to No. 3 after upsetting then second-ranked Texas Sunday. It's only the second time that one conference has held that distinction. The SEC also did it in 1989.

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