The outcome of the game was never really in question, it was an exhibition after all. Instead, we got a chance to see a brief glimpse of what this Lady Vol team will be. There will be some challenges, especially with a short bench, but head coach Holly Warlick is ready to embrace it.
"We did some good things, a lot of good opportunities for us to watch tape. I've got to understand too that we had eight kids tonight and I've probably got to be a little more mindful of using my time outs. I think overall, I was pleased with what we did."
There was definitely some rust that had to be shaken off. Redshirt junior and preseason All-SEC guard Diamond DeShields had an injury-plagued season last year, but she looked healthy and ready for the regular season against Carson-Newman. DeShields had 24 points in 25 minutes, all while grabbing 10 rebounds.
"Did I look better?" DeShields said as she laughed after the game. "I do feel better physically and emotionally and I do think that's going to transcend my game to another level and hopefully allow me to elevate my teammates' game as well."
One teammate who seems to have elevated her game already is junior Jaime Nared. Coaches have been raving about the effort and commitment Nared has showed during the summer. We are finally seeing the fruits of her labor. Nared dropped one of the most impressive stat lines on the night, with 17 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists. She did a little bit of everything for the Lady Vols. Warlick knows just how important she is to their continued success.
"I'm not surprised," Warlick said, "because she really truly has worked at it. She's a little bit of a missing link for us. She's got to be steady and bring it every night."
Warlick also commented on the 'P' the Lady Vols will wear on their jersey this season, honoring the incomparable Pat Summitt.
"It's just showing our respect for Coach Summitt and honoring her, and we thought the best way to do that was with the 'P' on our jersey to represent her and her foundation. She's still a part of our program. It's different, obviously, that she's not here, but I think that just represents our love for her and what she's done."
The Lady Vols will open their regular season on Friday on the road against James Madison. The game is at 7 p.m.