The Lady Vols remain undefeated this season at Thompson-Boling Arena, but they have yet to face the test of time.
At this point in the season, there's just no telling where the young team will go next. The Lady Vols (5-1, 3-0 at home) have their fourth home game on Sunday at 1:00 p.m., but their opponent may put up more of a fight than they're ready for.
The North Carolina Tar Heels are 9-0 as they head to Knoxville. Head coach Holly Warlick said she hopes the team's recent 88-81 overtime win over MTSU will help the team as they prepare for some of their toughest competition so far.
"We will go back and watch the tape. Anytime your back is up against the wall you have to battle, you'll find kids who will want to fight. I love it," Warlick said. "Regardless of our shots falling or not falling, I keep saying this, but we have high energy, and we compete. When we do those things great things happen for this basketball team. That is what we need to continue to do. We have great athletes but we have to put it all together and we have to make sure we compete on every possession."
Warlick said one recent key to the Lady Vols' success has been senior guard Kamiko Williams. She said Williams has been a more consistent defender during practice and, therefore, in games.
"I think you are seeing a result of how hard she is working in practice. Having her take practice seriously, getting in better shape, she is now in better condition I think," Warlick said. "Last year towards the end of the stretch I do not think she would have hung in there and played the defense she would have gotten tired, but now she is getting in better shape and understanding that we do need her as a vital and important part of this basketball team."
She said finding a balance with Williams has been the difference.
"Jolette (Law) and Kyra (Elzy) have done a great job with her as far as mentoring her and getting her on track and focused through practice. I think she has done just that," Warlick said.
Williams said she has seen the impact of Law and Elzy's example on her performance, but also her teammate's drive. She said she feels their motivation and they keep her energized.
"When my teammates tell me they need me, I'm just going to go out and do it for them," Williams said.
Junior guard Meighan Simmons said she has more confidence in Williams than Williams has in herself. She said Williams' "Energizer Bunny" energy on the court spurs on the rest of her team.
"We all know what Kamiko can do, sometimes I thinks Kamiko forgets what kind of player she is," Simmons said. "Some of these things she can do, offensively or defensively, she is an amazing team player."
With Williams playing her best, the team hopes their chemistry and drive will be enough to bring home the "W" on Sunday. Sophomore point guard Ariel Massengale said Warlick challenged the team not to back down.
"No team is just going to give us a 'W.' We have to go out there and take it," Massengale said. "Through our practices, everything we do is for this moment right here. It's just a matter of going out and making the preseason and work worth it."