By: Sean Cartell
SEC Digital Network
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – She may stand at only 5-foot-2, but Briana Bass was a big reason why No. 3 Tennessee won its 2011-12 season opener, 89-57, against Pepperdine on Sunday.
With the Lady Vols seeking much-needed energy after a slow start from the field and 11 first-half turnovers, Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt turned to the fan-favorite guard to ignite her team, which led 36-21 at intermission.
“Something we talked about at halftime was having that constant high energy at all times and we just got committed to that,” Bass said. “We kind of flowed together, because we need to thrive off of our defense and that will carry over to our offense. That’s what happened at the beginning of the second half.”
Bass led the charge towards that commitment, scoring in double-figures for just the fifth time in her career with 10 points, connecting on a pair of three-pointers and going a perfect 4-for-4 from the free-throw line.
But, most importantly, it was in the things that didn’t show up in the stat sheet that Bass proved most valuable on Sunday.
“You have to love Bri’s style of play,” said senior forward Glory Johnson. “Defensively, she was a monster. You don’t expect something like that from someone her size. And when she comes out and plays defense like that and hits shots like that, what else could you ask for from someone like Bri? She’s so little, but she packs a punch.”