Kasi Kushkituah was wearing her love for Christmas perching atop her head Tuesday afternoon.
A set of plastic reindeer antlers was the accessory of choice for the Tennessee women's basketball player and several of her teammates. They were hosting patients from East Tennessee Children's Hospital for a holiday party."I love Santa Claus. I love baking cookies with my family," said Kushkituah, a 6-3 freshman center. "Every single holiday, we all go over to my grandparents' house. We open presents, hang out, play games."
The same sort of activities took place at Pratt Pavilion. Team manager Wyatt Hopper dressed up like Santa Claus and the children were escorted down an orange carpet to an upstairs lounge that was converted to suit the occasion.
The team usually visits the hospital. In this case, the Lady Vols decided to invite the patients to join them.
"Having them come here is so different," senior Kortney Dunbar said. "It's such a different experience."
Junior center Cheridene Green was enjoying interacting with her young guests.
"I like having conversations with them, too, especially the ones that are like really mature for their age," said Green, who is from London, England. "They don't ask me, 'Why do you talk like that?' or they don't say, 'Why do you sound funny?'
"They just say, 'You sound different.' Like yeah, different, thanks. Not funny, different."
Nared, UT honored
Tennessee's Jaime Nared received SEC Player of the Week honors on Tuesday.
The senior forward, who had 23 points and 13 rebounds in Sunday's 82-75 victory over Texas, averaged 25 points and 9.5 rebounds for the week, which included a 131-69 rout of Troy last Wednesday.
WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Tennessee back in Top 10 in latest AP poll
Nared has four double-doubles for points and rebounds so far this season.
Tennessee also was recognized by NCAA.com as its women's basketball team of the week.
This article is written by Dan Fleser from Knoxville News-Sentinel (Tenn.) and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.