Te’a Cooper didn’t know how to make an entrance Sunday afternoon. Or at least she didn’t know enough to feel totally comfortable.
Tennessee’s freshman guard said she wasn’t prepared for the elaborate introduction ceremony at Thompson-Boling Arena, which features players running through flashing lights and smoke onto the court.
“That was probably when I was the most nervous,” she said. “I wasn’t expecting all the smoke and stuff.”
It didn’t show then or ever against Central Arkansas. She looked well-rehearsed for her women’s basketball debut at UT with 22 points, six assists and four steals. She even managed 36 playing minutes without apparent difficulty, despite having what UT coach Holly Warlick has described as a “banged-up” right knee.
There was a lot to like about Tennessee’s performance in Sunday’s 102-47 victory. A freshman who didn’t play like a freshman was high on the list.
“She didn’t play like I thought she would come in and play,” Central Arkansas guard Brianna Mullins said. “She didn’t play timid. She was scoring and her defense was amazing.”