McMahan, Bobbitt pairing could prove electric

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By Stefan Cooper
Sports Editor
Blount Today

Knoxville — After going 0-for-5 from 3-point range in her first college game, Tennessee freshman Cait McMahan sought out her teammates for help.

The advice varied, the former Heritage High School star said.

"(Senior) Dominique (Redding) helped me in just feeling the groove on the ball," McMahan said. "The best advice I got is just don’t think about it."

Taking the just-shoot approach clicked for the Lady Vol guard in an 83-60 Tennessee trouncing of UCLA only days later.

Connecting on her first two attempts from the arc, McMahan finished the evening 2-for-3 from long range. For the first time since a knee injury prematurely ended her senior season at Heritage, she was enjoying herself on the court again.

The awe from playing for one of the nation’s premier women’s programs was lessening as well.

"I respect the jersey I have on," McMahan said, "but you’ve still got to have fun."

McMahan entered with 12 minutes to play in the half against the Bruins. She would be quick to have an impact, finding All-American Candice Parker with an over-the-shoulder toss on a fast break as Tennessee increased the tempo.

Midway through the closing 20 minutes, McMahan fired true on back-to-back 3s, her second boosting Tennessee’s advantage to 65-41.

Part of what made Thursday enjoyable was junior and fellow point guard Shannon Bobbitt also having a solid night, McMahan said. Bobbitt, 5-foot-2, and McMahan, 5-4, have struck up a friendship as two of only three Lady Vols less than 6-feet tall. Senior Elizabeth Curry, 5-6, is the other.

Bobbitt helped Tennessee run by the Bruins with nine points and four assists, adding three steals. During one second-half stretch, Tennessee coach Pat Summitt deployed the two speedsters in tandem.

"It’s fun playing together (with Bobbitt)," McMahan said. "We’re both the crazies on the team."

Bobbitt said she’s grown closer to McMahan through the latter’s mother, Teresa, who is battling cancer.

"I love her mother," Bobbitt said.

McMahan and she on the court at the same time give Tennessee "another quick guard" to keep teams on their heels, Bobbitt said. It’s remains uncertain, however, whether the Lady Vols will see the pairing at its best this season.

McMahan is still undergoing therapy on her knee after arthroscopic surgery to relieve swelling last month. The Tennessee rookie is on a curtailed shooting regime until the knee is stronger. The decision to red shirt this season will be made at a later date.

In Tennessee’s 83-74 win at Arizona State last weekend, McMahan finished 1-for-5 from the field, adding an assist and a steal while collecting five fouls in 13 minutes played.

The Lady Vols (2-0) next host Stanford (1-1) on Friday at 7 p.m.

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