With injuries to Cierra Burdick and Andraya Carter, the already short-handed Lady Vols' bench continues to shrink.
"We are very confident in the nine (players) we have right now, but in practice we have to be mindful of our time and what we do," assistant coach Dean Lockwood said. "We still practice at a high intensity rate, so we have to watch how long our practices are and make sure we don't grind too much with the numbers we have, but also get done what we need to get done."
With a shorter bench, the Tennessee (11-3, 2-0 SEC) coaching staff is watching how long the stretches of minutes are that the players are in.
"It is very, very important that we pay attention to who's going longer minutes and we get people sufficient rest and blows in the action," Lockwood said. "As hard as we are playing right now, and we think we can play even a little harder, it is important to get people rest because at some point they do just get tired."
Head coach Holly Warlick is also utilizing timeouts in a way she isn't accustomed to.
"Playing against an up-tempo team, we've used our timeouts to slow down the game and give our player a rest," Warlick said. "I am usually one to sit on my timeouts for late in the game but with a short bench it is important to give our girls a rest and time to breathe."
For the players they are focused on playing sound basketball, staying out of foul trouble and staying conditioned.
"I just think each player has to be more mindful of how many fouls they get in a game, especially me, and getting fouls early in the game," sophomore Isabelle Harrison said. "It really dictates us on the defensive end and I don't want (that) for our team."
"We feel in great shape," senior Taber Spani said. "Preseason and everything has really helped us get our conditioning up, and also the coaches are being really smart in understanding that we are down in numbers a little bit with Cierra (Burdick) out. So it is also about recovery, it's all about doing what you need to do to be out on the floor."
Moving forward, Warlick hopes that this extra time for young players and extended minutes for others will help the team coming down the stretch.
"With these late game minutes and the need for others to play more than usual, it is giving them good experience," Warlick said. "We said in preseason that these girls were going to need to play and they are getting some of those minutes now."