Warlick wants Lady Vols to have more consistent work ethic
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Tennessee coach Holly Warlick wants the Lady Volunteers to develop a more consistent work ethic after a turbulent 2015-16 season.
The Lady Volunteers went 22-14 and set a school record for losses before rebounding late in the year to reach a regional final. Warlick wants to make sure the Lady Vols build on their postseason momentum
''When you look at Tennessee, I want you to see two things right off the bat - we're going to outwork you and we're going to compete,'' Warlick said Friday at a news conference introducing new assistant Sharrona Reaves. ''I think at times last year we didn't consistently do those two things. And when we did outwork someone, when we did compete, we got great results.''
She also wants the Lady Vols to maintain the team chemistry they established late last season. Warlick acknowledged that it took time for Tennessee to develop that chemistry because injuries kept the team from practicing together early in the year.
Warlick said she would work with her staff to find ways to make sure the team improves in these areas.
''I'm going to take their input because I think I've got quality people on this staff,'' Warlick said. ''It's going to be up to us as a whole to get these kids to be more consistent and buy into what we want. I think down the stretch (this past season), they did just that.''
That staff will have a different look, with Reaves coming over from West Virginia to replace Kyra Elzy. Warlick announced April 6 that she and Elzy had ''mutually agreed to part ways.'' Elzy has since joined Kentucky's staff.
Reaves' responsibilities at Tennessee include serving as recruiting coordinator, a role she previously held at West Virginia, Mississippi State and Troy. Reaves said this assignment is different because she can sell recruits on Tennessee's championship tradition.
The upcoming recruiting season is critical for Tennessee, as shot-blocking specialist Kamera Harris is the only high school prospect from the 2016 class to sign with the Lady Vols.
''My strategy is to go out and sell coach Holly, who I think is a great person, I think is a great coach, I think has done a great job,'' Harris said. ''Sell that (they can) help to get us to the next step - to the Final Fours and the national championships.''
Reaves's childhood address while growing up in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, suggests this could be an ideal match.
''I can't even make this up - she grew up on Rocky Top Road,'' Warlick said. ''I said as long as it's not on a dead end, we're good.''