Time: 7 PM
Video: UT Sports
In just a few minutes, the first exhibition game for either basketball team begins as the Lady Vols host Carson-Newman at Thompson-Boling Arena. First, let us look at the Tennessee roster:
|Starters?||Ariel Massengale||PG||Fr||5-6||Bolingbrook, IL|
|Meighan Simmons||G||So||5-9||Cibolo, TX|
|Glory Johnson||F||Sr||6-3||Knoxville, TN|
|Shekinna Stricklen||G-F||Sr||6-2||Morrilton, AR|
|Vicki Baugh||F||RS-Sr||6-4||Sacramento, CA|
|The Rest||Alicia Manning||F||Sr||6-1||Woodstock, GA|
|Taber Spani||G||Jr||6-1||Lee's Summit, MO|
|Briana Bass||PG||Sr||5-2||Indianapolis, IN|
|Kamiko Williams||G||Jr||5-11||Clarksville, TN|
|Isabelle Harrison||C||Fr||6-3||Nashville, TN|
|Cierra Burdick||F||Fr||6-2||Matthews, NC|
Ouside of the starters, the rest are in no particular order. As of the writing of this post, Ariel Massengale was considered a "maybe" for the game, much less starting, so her position on the roster reflects the start of the regular season more than this particular game. But all in all, this is a team that's much leaner and faster than the Cain-Brewer days. The height is still pretty much there and will be evident through much of the season.
What to focus on
Preseason games are the devil's workshop. If you're hosting them, you're winning them and you're looking good in the process. Nothing raises expectations faster than an exhibition route when you haven't watched basketball for months. So what exactly can we learn from this game?
- If Ariel plays, her comfort level is key. The schedule starts fast this year, with Miami, Virginia, Baylor, Texas, Rutgers, UCLA, and Stanford all happening before Christmas. If Ariel plays and she looks like she's running the offense well, it's a good sign - even if Carson-Newman is overmatched. The key here is to realize that the rest of the team could make her look good even if she's making mistakes. Watch her decisiveness and how fast she makes her passes.
Run, Baugh, Run. The report is that Baugh is fully healthy and ready to go for the first time since her freshman injury. If she looks like it on the floor, we're good. She and Glory will make a terrific post rotation while Isabelle Harrison acclimates. If Baugh needs frequent breaks early, it might be a sign of some rust.
- Brianna Bass. Ariel won't be a 30 minute point guard for a while. Brianna will get time and needs to make it count.
- Defensive intensity. The only criticism the coaches have had is some laziness on defense. That's natural, and every team has that in the preseason. The problem is that a lazy effort will be enough against Carson-Newman; it won't work against half the real schedule in the next month. If the Ladies play defense like they mean it tonight, they'll be on their way. If they're lazy ... /backsslowlyawayfromSummitt.
- Assists. They weren't a very good assist team last year. This is a huge opportunity for improvement (paging Ariel on the courtesy line...).
- Free throws. Nothing needs to be said here.