Coming off a lopsided 90-37 win, the No. 16 Tennessee Lady Vols (4-1) basketball team is looking to continue their winning ways this week.
"I think from day one, our first game, we understood it's one game at a time. When you lose your first game to UTC, a solid team, and then from then on we've just really focused on one game at a time," said head coach Holly Warlick. "You look at our schedule; it is a bit crazy, but it is what it is. There's nothing we can do about it, it's a challenge, it's about competing, getting ready mentally and physically."
Since dropping the season opener against Chattanooga, the Lady Vols have dominated the competition by winning four straight games. They have beat two top 25 teams in Georgia Tech and Miami, while ultimately dismissing their two non-ranked opponents, racking up 191 points while only allowing 85 points to Rice and Alcorn State.
"We can't just wear 'Tennessee' across our chest and expect to win, we have to go out there and give it our all in order to win," said junior guard Meighan Simmons. "That's just one thing with us, with our upperclassmen, we're just trying to encourage the younger girls and remind them it's not going to get easier as the season goes on, it's just going to get more and more difficult. You're going to feel drained every once in a while, but you have to push through everything."
On offense they are relying heavily on Simmons, who is second on the team averaging 14.6 points a game; she is only second to freshman Bashaara Graves, who's averaging 16 points a game. Graves has stepped up after the Chattanooga loss to join fellow freshman Andraya Carter in a starting role. Carter currently leads the team in three-pointers averaging .429 beyond arc while making 6 of her 14 shots.
"Not really worried about me scoring, I'm just trying to get wins and be out here with my team," said Graves. "I just wanted to come in and do my best, do my part and just work hard. I didn't know how much I was going to contribute, but I just knew I wanted to play my best."
On the defensive front, Graves has played a big part in the rebounding game with 35, and sophomore Cierra Burdick added 33 of her own. However, it's sophomore Isabelle Harrison who is putting up the best numbers of the season so far with 41 rebounds and 11 blocks through the first five games.
Tennessee is set to host Middle Tennessee State (4-1) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. and No. 22 North Carolina (6-0) at 1 p.m. at Thompson-Boling Arena.