Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Lady Vols get unique view from Summitt

Tennessee took in an unusual women's basketball view and listened to a different viewpoint Monday afternoon.

Before the team's practice, the Lady Vols marched up to the back row of section 322 at Thompson-Boling Arena - the very top of the facility - to experience a fan's perspective.

The team climb was associate head coach Holly Warlick's idea. It was inspired by the team's uninspired 72-36 victory over Mississippi State on Sunday before a crowd of 20,249. The largest turnout of the season filled the far reaches of the arena, including the back row of section 322.

"I'm always touched by that when we have great crowds,'' UT coach Pat Summitt said. "I never want to take it for granted."

The fans' collective stamina also impressed Summitt.

"(They) stayed late, stayed late,'' she said. "I don't know. They must've been serving good hot dogs up there because we didn't give them much to cheer about, especially in the first half."

From their vantage point Monday, the players were asked to jot down some personal observations about the team. They turned in their notes in the locker room.

They then watched a replay of the FSN game broadcast, during which analyst Teresa Edwards was critical of Tennessee's effort.

These tactics were the latest attempt to motivate a team that, despite its 25-2 record and No. 3 national ranking, continues to meander through the season.

The home portion of the regular season concludes with Florida at 7 p.m. Thursday.

"I think every time you play the game, you should play the game with great passion if you're competitive, if you love the game,'' Summitt said. "You don't disrespect the game. If you don't play hard, what are you bringing, what are you saying?"

Baugh Honored: Lady Vols freshman Vicki Baugh was named SEC freshman of week, the first such honor for the 6-foot-4 forward. In games against Alabama and Mississippi State, she made all seven of her field-goal attempts and was 6-for-6 from the free-throw line.

Baugh averaged 10 points and 3.5 rebounds for the two games. She scored a season-high 12 points against Alabama.

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