The Lady Vols have seemingly found themselves.
The month of January saw Tennessee seesawing, never able to get any momentum going.
That is, until they met up with the Florida Gators on Jan. 23.
The Lady Vols chalked up an 89-69 victory against UF, followed by a 76-55 win over Texas A&M on Sunday. This marked only the second time UT had won consecutive games this month.
Shockingly, the Lady Vols have been able to figure it out without their floor general, Ariel Massengale, who left the Florida game in the first half after suffering a facial injury.
Her replacement, Andraya Carter, has been sound at the point for the Lady Vols in their last two contests, posting a 14:5 assist to turnover ratio while playing the quality defense she is known for.
"I think I've gotten a lot more comfortable with it, especially with those practices after the Florida game and just relying on my coaches and teammates who have given me a ton of confidence," Carter said. "I know they have faith in me, so it's hard to not have faith in myself."
The redshirt freshman guard also has a new-found confidence in her offensive game.
Carter averaged 4.3 shots per game as the reserve point guard, but as the main ball handler, she has averaged seven a contest and is shooting six percent better from the floor.
"I feel pretty good," Carter said. "A good friend of mine actually told me 'confidence is repetition,' and I've really been sticking with that. Just being in the gym extra has given me more confidence and then talking with my teammates and coaches, knowing my role, knowing the game plan, I think all of that helps with confidence so I just got to keep it going."
Even though Massengale remains injured, Carter names the Bolingbrook, Ill., native as the main reason for her success since stepping into the new role.
"Ariel has been so much help these last games, but really for the whole season," Carter said. "Like I said after the Texas A&M game, I wouldn't have had near as much confidence if it weren't for Ariel. I was playing because she was out, but the reason I was playing well was because of her, as well.
"She has helped me so much... We compete when we are on the court in practice together but she has my back and I know that."
Second-year head coach Holly Warlick has also seen the teachings of Massengale pop up in the young point guard's play.
"Andraya is a team player, and I think she learned a lot from Ariel and she's taken what Ariel has taught her and what she has seen and put it to work," Warlick said. "She's a smart player. She played 40 minutes the other night and we needed her to, so I think the last two games have given her a tremendous amount of confidence. When she's confident and she plays and works her way out of some things, her mental frame is really good."
As for the junior point guard, the team doctors are being cautious with the situation, and she is listed as day-to-day.
Warlick stated she would like to see Massengale at practice before taking her to the court for game action, but didn't rule her out for Thursday's game against the Arkansas Razorbacks.
"I'd like too, but I'm not going to push it," Warlick said. "I'd love to have her on the floor but I'm going to let them make that decision, and we'll just need to plug away and do what we do."