After a 102-57 win over North Carolina last Sunday, the Lady Vols take a two-week break from competition before traveling to the Lone Star State.
“I like this kind of break just because we can get down to some fundamentals that we’re not good at,” head coach Holly Warlick said. “I’m sure the players think that this is way too long, two weeks, and all they can think about is practice. But we’re trying to keep it as short and intense as we can to make sure we don’t wear them out, but we have to make sure they stay in shape.”
“It’s good to have a break at some point in time,” junior Meighan Simmons said. “We as individuals and as a team, have to stick together and remind ourselves that we still have a plan and still have games that we have to focus on. We have to get in the gym and run a little extra. Make sure we’re eating and staying off our feet and relaxing as much as we can. We still have to stay focused and we can’t lose focus at all with this two-week break.”
After the 14-day break, Tennessee will endure a three-game stretch of facing top-15 teams in No. 12 Texas, No. 2 Baylor and No. 1 Stanford.
“For me personally, I think it’s a good way to end the year and for some reason, it’s just in me to think of things like that and this is really going to test you to see where your mind is going to be,” Simmons said.
“So when the new year comes, there is going to be a lot of other teams that are going try to come and beat you, but what are you going to do? Have you learned from the preachings that you played before the end of the year? And how are you going to play the rest of the year?”
The Big Orange has already beaten three top-25 ranked teams this season, as they downed No. 22 Georgia Tech and No. 23 Miami on the road before trouncing the No. 22 Tar Heels at home. With the win over North Carolina at Rocky Top, the Lady Vols have won 15 of their last 16 games against ranked opponents at home, dating back to 2009.
“I think beating three of the top-25 teams has somewhat given us a head start proving our point,” Simmons said. “As Tennessee, we always have a point to prove because we are Tennessee, and there’s a lot of expectations for us. I think playing Texas, Baylor and Stanford, that’s going to be the pedestal that we’re going to have to overcome, and see who we are as far as when adversity hits what are we going to do. I think this is really going to be a test for us.”