Lady Vols set for border battle with Kentucky

Knoxville, Tenn. (WVLT)-- The 13th ranked Lady Vols (12-2, 1-1 SEC) and No.16 Kentucky
(14-2, 1-1 SEC) tip-off Thursday night at 7pm on the Summitt floor inside Thompson-Boling Arena.

The Lady Vols are looking to bounce back from a stunning defeat at the hands of Missouri last Sunday. The keys for this young Tennessee team will be to ramp up their effort on defense, and to rebound. The Lady Vols must get a better performance on the boards, especially on the offensive end in order to generate second chance shots.

The Wildcats are also coming off a loss, falling on the road at No.7 Mississippi State last Sunday, 86-71.

This will be the 67th meeting between these programs in a series that ranks behind only UT-Vanderbilt (80 games) and now ties with UT-Georgia (67 games) for most times played. The Lady Vols lead the series, 55-11.

Tennessee Lady Vols head coach Holly Warlick:

On their upcoming matchup against Kentucky:
"They're very much improved from last year. They press, they are a really strong defensive team. They spread the floor, shoot the three, and they are very athletic. They are playing really good right now."

On defending the Wildcats from deep range:
"We just have to continue to work on it and be mindful of what we are doing at the time. Our awareness, we have mental lapses at times. We are still young in spots and still learning. We just have to continue to work on it."

On Kentucky guard Rhyne Howard:
"I think Howard has added a really big dimension for them, but I think all their players have gotten better. Their freshmen have grown up, and they are getting good play from their inside game. Maci (Morris) is just really good and so is (Taylor) Murray. So, they complement each other really well."

On what she needs to see from the bench:
"We would love for them to contribute a lot more. We are giving them opportunities. We are playing hard, we just have to get a little smarter."

On Cheridene Green's recent performances:
"We are going to continue to challenge her. We have high expectations for her. We have talked about her getting back to being a workhorse inside, and that is what we expect of her."

On if the team guards the 3-point line better in man or zone:
"I don't know. We have done both. It depends on who we are playing. If it is a team who spreads the floor, it is probably man. If it has less 3-point shooters, then probably our zone. We just have to keep working on our defense and get better. We are solid at times, and then we have let downs, and those letdowns are being magnified."

On the team's improved focus on the road:
"Maybe it's less distractions? We control more of their time on the road. It has seemed to be that way so far this year. I think the schedule we played early has helped us get focused on the road a little bit more."

On who she expects to step up in coming weeks:
"I want Kasiyanah (Kushkituah) to step up more and demand the ball. I want Mimi Collins to stay in the game; it seems like she has been in foul trouble in three or four games. We need her to step up and use her physicality to rebound."

On Rae Burrell:
"The more practice we do, the better she is. Sometimes she plays a little out of control. (We're) just getting focused on the game and what is happening. I want to play Rae, but she has to get her defense a little better as well."

On who takes the last shot in games:
"It depends on what they are doing, if they are switching, and if they are playing man or zone. It is a variety of things and the flow of the game."

On what the team can learn from last game:
"The biggest thing is our awareness of where people are. We had a tendency of staring at the ball and people got loose behind us (against Missouri). Just court awareness, situation awareness, those kind of things we just have to get better at."

On how the team has bounced back this week:
"We had a great practice yesterday, big energy. Our energy level has been really good. They are kids, they bounce back. And they are focused on Kentucky, good for them. We watched the tape, we learned, and we came in here and had a good practice yesterday."