The Norman Transcript

Sports

January 28, 2013

Bryant’s near triple-double performance lifts L.A. to second straight win

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Lady Vols have shown expectations of their demise in the post-Pat Summitt era were unfounded.

They’ve overcome preseason forecasts that they would finish fifth in the Southeastern Conference, the transition to new coach Holly Warlick and their season-opening loss to Chattanooga that dropped is them to No. 24 in the Top 25 — the program’s lowest ranking since 1985.

The Lady Vols (16-3) have climbed to ninth, are riding a nine-game winning streak and sit alone atop the SEC standings heading into Monday’s showdown against No. 2 Notre Dame.

“Every year this team should be motivated to get to a Final Four,” said guard/forward Taber Spani, one of only two seniors on the roster. “I think this team especially is because we understand really that outside this circle and our families, nobody else in the country really believes in us. That’s fine with us. We don’t mind that. But I think it provides a little extra motivation.”

The fast start has shown that the Lady Vols should be OK without Summitt on the sideline during games. She has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type, and stepped down last April after winning eight national titles in 38 seasons. She still routinely attends practices and sits in the stands during home games in her role as head coach emeritus.

What Tennessee hasn’t been able to do is prove it belongs among the nation’s elite.

The Lady Vols lost 76-53 at Baylor, now the top-ranked team in the nation. They also fell 73-60 at home to Stanford, which was No. 1 when they played on Dec. 22. Monday’s matchup against Notre Dame gives them another chance to show they’re a legitimate Final Four contender.

“The second half with Baylor, I thought we competed,” said Warlick, who played for Summitt and worked as her assistant for 27 seasons. “I thought the first half, we were just totally scared. For Stanford for some reason, we didn’t compete at all. ... Now we have a chance with another team out of the top three coming to our place. We’ve got to compete.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • 498415327SB20543_Sky_Shock Paris didn’t give up when instant success eluded her

    TULSA — It looked like it came easily to Courtney Paris. The minute she stepped foot on the campus at the University of Oklahoma in 2005, it seemed she was already an All-American and destroying the competition in the Big 12 and across the ...

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sooners will have to do the right thing eventually

    Don’t read anything into the non-suspension suspension Oklahoma leveled at true freshman running back Joe Mixon Wednesday....

    July 31, 2014

  • In this case, Sooner fans can rest easy

    OKLAHOMA CITY — The Sooner Caravan ended its summer run at the Jim Thorpe Museum and Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame Wednesday night. OU coach Bob Stoops did not take questions, but one of the major topics was the $370 million renovation to ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Three Tigers competing for quarterback

    While some teams have had questions surrounding the quarterback position in recent years, Norman High has seen relative stability. Thanks to a three-year run by Zach Long followed up by Jakcob Dean’s ascendance last season, the Tigers ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Indians trade Justin Masterson to Cardinals

    CLEVELAND — The Indians had little choice but to give up Justin Masterson. The trade doesn’t mean they’re going to surrender the season....

    July 31, 2014

  • Cowboys sign tackle Smith to 8-year extension

    OXNARD, Calif. — Tyron Smith has a new contract that will probably make him the most important blocker for the next Dallas quarterback after Tony Romo....

    July 31, 2014

  • Quarterback questions abound with big stars gone from SEC offenses

    MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Quarterback battles and signal-caller questions abound in the Southeastern Conference going into preseason camps around the league. Big names, not so much....

    July 31, 2014

  • Jones says Brent out of rehab, NFL question next

    OXNARD, Calif. — Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says former defensive tackle Josh Brent is out of rehabilitation and could have his future with the NFL resolved before the team leaves training camp in California in two weeks....

    July 31, 2014

  • Ives to crew chief for Dale Jr. in 2015

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — There was no shortage of candidates to replace Steve Letarte as Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s crew chief The list of applicants was long, but Hendrick Motorsports has always liked to groom its own talent. So the organization ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Gustafson wants Gordon’s team focused on Chase

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Jeff Gordon viewed his Brickyard 400 win as a turning point for his race team. Confidence had been building with every strong run, but his victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway pushed his crew to another level. It was ...

    July 31, 2014

Facebook