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The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

SEC Tipoff Blog: Lady Vols have unfinished business

344 days ago
Kevin Scarbinsky
Photo: Jimmie Mitchell/SEC

Welcome to the SEC Basketball Media Days Blog, your online home for the big news, behind-the-scenes notes and quotes and special moments that make this annual event, held this year in Birmingham, Ala., the unofficial start of college basketball season. Check back for updates each day throughout the week.

Kellie Harper admits it.

"There were a few moments last year I let myself daydream about what might have been."

What if the Lady Vols, who started 18-1, had not lost three key players to injury? Could they have finished higher than third in the SEC? Would they have advanced farther than the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16?

Senior center Tamari Key has had those moments, too.

"Sometimes you can't help but wonder, but I was so proud of my team," she said. "We grew closer. We didn't win the natty so there's always a sense of unfinished business."

That's the standard set by the legend, Pat Summitt. Harper played for her and has no intention of lowering the bar. It's a big part of the reason Key chose the Lady Vols, where she now holds the school record for blocked shots in a single season and a career.

Harper's fourth UT team may have a chance to finish what her third team started. Tennessee was picked second in the SEC preseason poll, with three first-team selections in Key, Jordan Horston and Mississippi State transfer Rickea Jackson. The AP preseason poll starts the Lady Vols at No. 5 in the nation.

Horston, whose season ended in February thanks to an injury, said they "came out a lot stronger" after last season's adversity. What's possible with this season's loaded roster? "The sky's the limit."