KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — In Kellie Harper’s third season leading the Tennessee women’s basketball program, the Lady Vols are off to their best start since the 2007-08 season at 17-1. That season was the last time Tennessee advanced to the Final Four and won the national championship.

Harper is quick to give the credit to her players, but the players say it’s Harper who’s the key to their success.

“She’s very articulate with how she wants us to do specific stuff on specific days,” said senior guard Rae Burrell. “She watches so much film to see what we need to work on. She pushes us and we all trust her and listen to her.”

Harper knows a little something about winning, she played point guard during the program’s three consecutive NCAA women’s national championships from 1996 to 1998. In 1997 she was named to the Final Four all-tournament team.

Harper’s players enjoy playing for her and you can see the relationships she’s been able to build with every player.

“She knows each and every one of us,” said junior Jordan Horston. “She knows when to push us and when to pull back and encourage us. I really appreciate that part of her.”

With Harper, the message is always clear to her players and they trust her.

“It’s easy to follow her because she explains where we’re going,” said senior post Keyen Green. “It’s hard to follow somebody blindly, but she tells us exactly why we do things to get the result we want. It’s easy to just buy into it.”

It’s obvious Harper has the buy in from her players and the knowledge of what it take to win a title, which could be the ingredients to success for the Lady Vols this season.