Lady Vol Randall questionable
Posted: Sunday March 14, 1999 06:29 PM
KNOXVILLE (AP) -- If winning a fourth straight national championship isn't enough motivation for Tennessee, the Lady Vols now have the ailing emotional leader of the team to rally behind.
Guard Semeka Randall, the team's third-leading scorer behind Chamique Holdsclaw and Tamika Catchings, has a badly sprained left ankle.
Kristen Clement is penciled in to start in her place for Monday night's second-round game with Boston College in the East Regional.
Randall -- one-third of the Tennessee's "Three Meeks" with Holdsclaw and Catchings -- can't be replaced, said senior point guard Kellie Jolly.
"She brings a lot of emotion, a lot of energy," Jolly said.
Randall tore two of the three ligaments on the outside of her left ankle Saturday night five minutes into the second half of Tennessee's 113-54 victory over Appalachian State. She spent the night at Thompson-Boling Arena being treated by trainer Jenny Moshak and will be X-rayed Monday to check for further damage.
Randall showed good improvement over the first 15 hours, Moshak said. But her focus is to have the sophomore ready for the remainder of the tournament, not Monday night.
Randall, who stayed up most of the night talking to friends and family on the telephone, said in a statement that she is trying to stay positive.
"My goal, of course, is to find any way to get back onto the floor. ... I will sleep in the locker room, hold my ankle up for hours or do any treatment to get back quicker," she said.
Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said Randall's injury is a challenge for the Lady Vols (29-2), who need their guards ready for a Boston College team that upset then-No. 2 Connecticut in January.
"We're going to have to come out and apply pressure to the guards, or they'll have a field day on the interior. That's got to be a priority for us," Summitt said.
Boston College (22-7), which won its first-ever tournament game Saturday night against Ohio State, can break through defenses with its speedy backcourt of junior Alissa Murphy and freshman Brianne Stepherson. Summitt said they are textbook in getting the ball inside to the post.
Eagles coach Cathy Inglese has had her own problems with injuries, losing co-captain Cal Bouchard to a torn ACL in February. Freshman forward Becky Gottstein had been out with a sprained ankle before coming off the bench Saturday night and scoring a career-high 23 points.
Inglese hasn't decided yet whether to return Gottstein to the starting lineup or bring her off the bench again. But she said her Eagles aren't intimidated by Tennessee.
"Our team is ready to come out and showcase their talents," she said.
The two teams have never met, but Tennessee definitely has tournament experience on its side. The Lady Vols are 23-0 at home in first- and second-round NCAA tourney games.
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