Alumni Angle: Nikki McCray on Tennessee

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In four years at the University of Tennessee, Nikki McCray helped lead the Lady Vols to four SEC Championships and four trips to the NCAA Tournament, winning SEC Player of the Year honors in 1994 and 1995. Now, Nikki Mccray looks back at her NCAA memories and gives her scouting report of this year's team.

Tennessee lost to Connecticut in the NCAA Championship Game April 8, 2003.

What are your memories of playing in the NCAA Tournament?

Nikki McCray of the Indiana Fever
Barry Gossage/WNBAE/Getty Images


TENNESSEE PLAYERS IN THE WNBA
Player
Year
WNBA Team
Carla McGhee ‘90 Connecticut
Tonya Edwards ‘90 Charlotte
Lisa Harrison ‘93 Phoenix
Nikki McCray ‘95 Indiana
Michelle Marciniak ‘96 Seattle
Tiffani Johnson ‘98 Houston
Chamique Holdsclaw ‘99 Washington
Tamika Catchings ‘01Indiana
Semeka Randall ‘01 Seattle
Michelle Snow ‘02 Houston
The fact that we played in the national championship game. That was really huge. It can’t get any better than that. And even though we didn’t win – we lost to Connecticut my senior year – but I thought that was just really a great time for women’s basketball.

How do you think this year's Tennessee team looks?
I think they’re doing better. They’re in a new offense, and it takes time to gel with a new offense. But I think this year they started out great, and that’s a good sign.

What is the style of the new offense?
It’s a motion offense that they’re running now. Before it was very structured and didn’t allow much movement and you kind of get in a situation where you’re standing and watching. And now there’s a lot of movement that has to be done – you have to figure out where your spots are and where you can kind of score.

Why do you think they made the change?
I think change is always good. We haven’t won a championship in three years, so you have to try to reevaluate things and try to figure out what your personnel is. And I think this offense fits them.

What does Tennessee need to do to get back to championship level?
I don’t really know. I think they have all the tools there – they have the best coaching staff and they have great players. I don’t really know. I think at that moment it’s just getting to the point where they’ll have the experience, it’s just a matter of getting it done.

Has Coach Summitt changed her coaching style since you were playing there?
Well, I think she’s changed a little bit, but I think the bottom line is she’s still the same. You have to adjust with different generations, and that’s definitely a different generation for her. So, I think she does what she needs to do to relate to the players.

How was your generation different than this generation?
I think that at the end of the day, we really focus on the respect theme. When you’re talking to a coach, you look them in the eye, you’re not chewing gum or you’re not talking back with them. At the end of the day, you don’t leave upset. I don’t really know what goes on now, but I’m sure that this generation, they’re more independent, less aware of the respectability of things.

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