Memphis update: Lindsay Werntz reports on the atmosphere of open practices
NCAA Sweet 16, Memphis Region
The Baylor womenâ€™s basketball team had a rather relaxed atmosphere this afternoon at their open practice. Coach Mulkey did not say a whole lot to her team . She ran a couple of half court drills along with some 5-0 transition stuff. The most excitement came off of a Britney Griner one-handed dunk. As I walked across the gym to get closer to the action I looked up and saw my first Griner 360Â° dunk. There was no YouTube this time. It was pretty impressive. The team ended with a circle formation and Melissa Jones slammed the ball downâ€¦the whole team fell to the floor. It was as a fun way to end a light and relaxed shoot around.
The Tennessee faithful are in Memphis in full form. A handful of them showed up to the open practice. I was surprised atthe lack of shirts that were tucked in and the amount of diamond earrings in the player’s ears as they walked onto the court. I quickly understood why those small details did not matter today. Tennessee is a No. 1 seed for a reason. Coach Summit does not have to coach effort with these girls. They got more shots up and shots with a purpose in a small amount of time than any team I have ever seen. Coach Summit only had to get on her kids one time for not talking in a drill and it never had to happen again. It was funny to see the comedy on the team. Poor Briana Bass gets picked on all of the time but it is all in fun. The â€œbigsâ€ had a good time shooting half court shotsâ€¦and making some! This is definitely not Tennesseeâ€™s first time here.
San Diego State University
San Diego State University came into the gym with a ton of energy. Their open practice was a practice. Everyone was involved. The assistant coaches jumped into the drills and matched the level of intensity of the players. Good thing Duke doesnâ€™t have to play against the assistants as well tomorrow! JenÃ© Morris tweaked something in what looked like a hamstring at one point. She left the court for a while, but when she came back still had a lot of energy for her team. Coach Beth Burns looked like she was just ready to throw the ball up and play the game. Everything was structured and the team seemed to know exactly what was coming next. It was fun to watch the â€œunderdogâ€ show the fight that got them this far!
Duke came out of the tunnel with a business approach. They gave the fans a little taste of a variety of drills. Didnâ€™t stay on anything for to long. Their kids looked a lot longer and more athletic in person which is scary. All of their coaches were working, but none ever had to be to loud. Again it looked like a business approach of–you know why you are here and you know what to do. I was excited to see what sweater Al Brown might have on, but he was in a polo and khakis.
Lindsay Werntz (@werntz4) is a personal trainer in Missouri who spent six seasons on the sidelines as an assistant for college teams. She played basketball at Indiana Universityâ€“Purdue University Fort Wayne.