Summitt: We looked below average vs. LSU
Tennessee's fall in the Associated Press' weekly top 25 women's basketball poll didn't turn out to be a full-scale tumble.
The Lady Vols (23-2) dropped from the top spot to No. 3 after suffering a 78-62 loss to LSU last Thursday. UT coach Pat Summitt didn't offer much comment regarding last Monday's controversial 59-58 victory over Rutgers and its impact on the voting by a national media panel. The Scarlets Knights received eight first-place votes but also were ranked as low as eighth by voters.
"I don't know,'' she said, regarding the game's effect on UT. "I don't know that it really matters."
LSU received a first-place vote and moved up to No. 6. Summitt thought the one-sided outcome Thursday might cost Tennessee three places in the poll.
"I think the way we played in the LSU game, we looked below average for a Tennessee team,'' Summitt said. "We exposed ourselves to everybody."
The Lady Vols' fall corresponded with the Tennessee men's team rising to No. 2 in its poll. It marked the first time the Vols were ranked ahead of the Lady Vols since late December of 1982. Summitt was quick to credit the Vols. She told her players as much in their meeting last Friday afternoon, the day after the LSU debacle.
"I talked to them in the meeting about how hard they play,'' Summitt said of the Vols. "I talked to them about the effort our guys are playing with, the intensity, the togetherness."
Summitt saw more of what she expects from her team in Sunday's 81-68 SEC victory at Vanderbilt. She's hoping the Lady Vols build on their performance when they play at Alabama on Thursday.
"It's more about us right now and how we play,'' Summitt said. "Are we playing the scoreboard? Are we getting bored? What are we doing? We have to have accountability.
"I liked what I saw in Nashville for the most part and we had a good workout today (Monday), but we've yet to demonstrate we're going to be a 40-minute team every game."
On The Other Hand: UT senior guard Alexis Hornbuckle framed the importance of Sunday's victory with the stark contrast of the alternative.
"I know if we would've lost, it would've been very discouraging,'' she said. "We might have been second-guessing our abilities as a team and where we're headed and our goals, whether they're achievable."
It's About Defense: Sydney Smallbone has played one minute in the last three games. Summitt said the freshman guard's playing time is being curtailed by a "lack of awareness on the defensive end."
"Sid is going to get all of this down eventually,'' Summitt said. "It's unfortunate she didn't come in with a depth of knowledge on the defensive aspects."
Notebook: UT's championship rings from last season finally have arrived, to which Summitt jokingly replied: "I don't want them (the players) to think we got one. We need two." ... Senior center Nicky Anosike, who has a shiner after being hit in the nose during the LSU game, is one point shy of her 1,000th career point. ... Summitt said the team will travel to Alabama on game day, allowing several players to attend classes Thursday morning.