October 17, 2023 

Locked On Women’s Basketball: Kellie Harper has Rickea Jackson and Tennessee ready to take on the SEC

The Lady Vols are charting their return to the Rocky Top

On Tuesday’s episode of Locked On Women’s Basketball, Tennessee head coach Kellie Harper joins Howard Megdal to discuss the team’s offseason progress as they prepare for the upcoming SEC season. After back-to-back Sweet Sixteen appearances, Harper and the Lady Vols are looking to take the next step. First, they discussed the legacy of the Tennessee program, and how it has evolved in the modern era:

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“I think it’s important that we are always cognizant of what came before,” Harper said. “I think it’s relevant because it’s the expectation of our program … I also understand, in the big scheme of things, where our program wants to be and where we feel that we need to be, that we’re still working to get there.”

Megdal and Harper also spoke about how former head coach Pat Summitt’s impact pushed the SEC, and women’s basketball more broadly, to evolve and improve: “When I played in the 90s, if you turned on the television to watch women’s basketball, there was probably a 75% chance you’re gonna watch Tennessee,” Harper said. “Now, you can watch everybody, anybody and everybody is at your fingertips. So I do think that’s been a change as well, again, for the good of our game.”

Next, Medgal turned the conversation to Tennessee’s returning star, Rickea Jackson, to discuss her offensive efficiency and what she’s working on for the 2023–24 season.

“We’ve worked really hard on ball handling skills, to tighten those up a little bit, not just for this year, but for her future as well, I thought that was an area of growth for her,” Harper explained. “I think for us, continuing to find ways to move her around to take advantage of mismatch opportunities. Really, really puts her in a position to be herself and to post up to hit the mid range to step out behind the three.”

Megdal and Harper also discussed Tamari Key’s return to basketball, how they’re planning to replace the impact of Jordan Horston, the lasting effects of the transfer portal and much more.

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