Inexperience hurt Lady Vols against Baylor

Baylor's Brittney Griner (42) shoots against Tennessee's Bashaara Graves (12) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Photo by LM Otero

Baylor's Brittney Griner (42) shoots against Tennessee's Bashaara Graves (12) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Tennessee's Ariel Massengale (5) loses the ball to Baylor's Odyssey Sims (0) for a turnover during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012, in Waco, Texas. Baylor won 76-53. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

AP

Tennessee's Ariel Massengale (5) loses the ball to Baylor's Odyssey Sims (0) for a turnover during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012, in Waco, Texas. Baylor won 76-53. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

WACO, Texas — Although Tennessee has shot up the national rankings to No. 10, the youthful Lady Vols didn't suddenly grow up.

Their inexperience Tuesday night stood in stark contrast to the performance of defending national champion Baylor. With four senior starters, the third-ranked Lady Bears flashed finished-product form in a 76-53 women's basketball victory at the Ferrell Center.

The Lady Bears' effort didn't require All-Americans Brittney Griner and Odyssey Sims to reprise their usual roles against UT.

Griner has had as many as 10 blocks in a game against UT. Many have been thunderous in nature. On Tuesday, she had two. Neither one was memorable. She also went more than 14 minutes between baskets at one point.

Sims, meanwhile, has scored as many as 27 points against UT. On this occasion, she took five shots and scored eight, dishing out eight assists instead.

Baylor's supporting cast has shown more life since a 71-69 loss to Stanford on Nov. 16. In that game, Sims played four minutes because of a hamstring injury.

"The pieces are there," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. "Probably more depth than last year's team. But we're not there yet."

Could've fooled the Lady Vols.

"Now we see as a team what we need to go against and what it's like to be a top three team in the country,'' UT sophomore forward Cierra Burdick said.

Burdick sounded as if she had taken a mental snapshot of the one-sided evening for future reference.

The most stark image

was Tennessee's offense, heretofore one of the nation's best, being throttled by Baylor's defense. The Lady Vols continued the pattern of their previous four losses to the Lady Bears, getting a high volume of shots (75) but connecting on just 29.3 percent of their attempts. They shot 21.7 percent on 3-pointers (5-for-23).

Playing against Griner, freshman forward Bashaara Graves failed to score in double figures for the first time this season, scoring six points. Burdick and Taber Spani, who combined to shoot 12 for 20 from the floor against Texas on Sunday and score 29 points, were a collective 2 for 18 against Baylor, good for just five points.

The lone Lady Vol who looked comfortable against the Lady Bears was senior guard Kamiko Williams. She came off the bench to score 15 points on a team-high seven field goals. She also grabbed 10 rebounds and recorded six assists while not committing a turnover.

Knowing that her team will be young next year, Mulkey empathized with Tennessee head coach Holly Warlick.

"I know what position she's in," Mulkey said. "I'm going to be in that position next year. You have to keep it simple for young players but you want to play to their strengths. She's just trying to grow those young players and help them compete at a young age."

Warlick said she was hopeful about having one of those young players — sophomore center Isabelle Harrison — back for Saturday's home game against No. 1 Stanford. She sat out Tuesday's game after suffering a sprained ankle against Texas.

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Comments » 19

movol53 writes:

There is a lesson in every game for the team and each individual. Learn from every game win or lose!!!

oldster writes:

Inexperience? Really? The most experienced player on the team, Tabi Spani, was 1 for 12. Sounds to me as if the problem is more FEAR than inexperience.

movol53 writes:

in response to oldster:

Inexperience? Really? The most experienced player on the team, Tabi Spani, was 1 for 12. Sounds to me as if the problem is more FEAR than inexperience.

At the Texas game they pretty much shot at will and had success. Having watched film on Baylor all of the Lady Vols saw how quickly BG and others on the Baylor can block shots; so they rushed their shots. Call it what you will but the result is poor shooting. And Spani is streak shooter; seems as though if she hits two or three she's good to go but if she misses - - may as well sit her down.

SoddyVol writes:

in response to movol53:

At the Texas game they pretty much shot at will and had success. Having watched film on Baylor all of the Lady Vols saw how quickly BG and others on the Baylor can block shots; so they rushed their shots. Call it what you will but the result is poor shooting. And Spani is streak shooter; seems as though if she hits two or three she's good to go but if she misses - - may as well sit her down.

Pretty much agree. Last year the Vols recruiting greatly improved after being down for a while starting with the last championship year. Those left over are mostly either too slow, inconsistent or seem to be just a little unteachable (Simmons).

oldster writes:

in response to movol53:

At the Texas game they pretty much shot at will and had success. Having watched film on Baylor all of the Lady Vols saw how quickly BG and others on the Baylor can block shots; so they rushed their shots. Call it what you will but the result is poor shooting. And Spani is streak shooter; seems as though if she hits two or three she's good to go but if she misses - - may as well sit her down.

Much of shooting (anything) is in one's head and, since Griner is in the Lady Vols' heads, they have no room for the confidence that is necessary to make a shot. I maintain that they are flat scared of her - not her shot blocking, but her, period. I doubt that all five of them could beat her and a ball girl.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to oldster:

Much of shooting (anything) is in one's head and, since Griner is in the Lady Vols' heads, they have no room for the confidence that is necessary to make a shot. I maintain that they are flat scared of her - not her shot blocking, but her, period. I doubt that all five of them could beat her and a ball girl.

Well at least he's a senior, so next year Baylor will just be like any other decent team.

BTW, it's a good thing you didn't leave out that comma before "period." haha

volaholic45 writes:

Well, now the young players have the benefit of knowing what it's like to get stomped by Baylor, a rite of passage lately for not a few teams.

vol98champ writes:

in response to oldster:

Inexperience? Really? The most experienced player on the team, Tabi Spani, was 1 for 12. Sounds to me as if the problem is more FEAR than inexperience.

Don't remember the exact stats, but the last three years our guards are shooting about 10% against BG. Many of those guards have been seniors. Inexperience has nothing to do with it.

ps11824 writes:

I used to think Lady Vols fans were the most loyal fans to be found, anywhere. Can't explain the negativity that has infected the message boards these days. I suppose it is what pitiful people do to get their holiday cookies. I'm thinking they could go elsewhere to spew venom and receive satisfaction.

john, if you are reading you are thinking, "98, don't give them the satisfaction by responding to their idiotic insults." and you would be so spot on. But john, it is getting out of control, and tainting this site that we, true grown up fans like so much.

How can we implore the the powers that be to keep it real in regards to banning abusive posting? Seriously, we should be able to enjoy this site sans hateful interruption.

Peace and love to all my decent Lady Vols fan posters.

underthehill writes:

in response to ps11824:

I used to think Lady Vols fans were the most loyal fans to be found, anywhere. Can't explain the negativity that has infected the message boards these days. I suppose it is what pitiful people do to get their holiday cookies. I'm thinking they could go elsewhere to spew venom and receive satisfaction.

john, if you are reading you are thinking, "98, don't give them the satisfaction by responding to their idiotic insults." and you would be so spot on. But john, it is getting out of control, and tainting this site that we, true grown up fans like so much.

How can we implore the the powers that be to keep it real in regards to banning abusive posting? Seriously, we should be able to enjoy this site sans hateful interruption.

Peace and love to all my decent Lady Vols fan posters.

Very good message..Peace and love..I still think the Lady Vols fans are the most loyal anywhere and all the posts on this board (including mine) are just a bunch of nonsense and should be seen as such..the fans who should matter to the Lady Vols are the ones who pay to see them play..and those fans do it about as well as any in the country..I do think all who post on this site should comply with the rules set forth by KNS and KNS should post those rules when they are violated..

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to DEMS_KEEP_ME_IN_CHAINS:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Chill out! Lay off Simmons and find something else to do in life.

SummittsCourt writes:

Lessons learned, time to move on and get better because an upset opportunity awaits this Saturday. SC gave Stanford all they could handle and UT is better than SC.

madrigal writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

Chill out! Lay off Simmons and find something else to do in life.

Really. The Simmons bashers on this board are beyond annoying. Did any of you happen to notice that Simmons had 16 points against Baylor? Team high. Just can't see that, can you? It's like this....if you shoot a lot, you score a lot, but you also miss a lot too. However, you can't score without shooting. Now get on your little hobbyhorse and ride off into the sunset.

voloffaith writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

Lessons learned, time to move on and get better because an upset opportunity awaits this Saturday. SC gave Stanford all they could handle and UT is better than SC.

Not so sure about the being better......Coach Dawn(I'm too good for you) Staley has them playing tough defense and her system is intact. Stanford probably wins by ten+ Sunday. Again, prove me wrong lady Vols......if Izzy ain't in the paint then Stanford with 6 players over 6' 2" will rule the paint if boxing out doesn't occur...

maxvolfan#217855 writes:

Moving off of Baylor misery. UT should beat Stanford after watching them play against USC . They could not handle SC defensive pressure and committed 18 turnovers. They barely escaped by the skin of their teeth. Our coaches should be salivating right now watch film . Outside of Chiney they had nothing. A packed TBA should rattle this team as they don't do well in hostile environments.
I wanna wait until after we play UGA but I have a feeling we will move up about 2 spots to #8 . I only hope Baylor takes the #1 spot and keep Uconn 2. Good games ahead. One game at a time.

KennyGVolsFan writes:

There were a number of issues in this game. My first concern was at the point position. Massengale did not control the ball or make good passes. We were getting some really good shots in the first half but wasn't hitting them. You could tell our team was out of sorts when they first stepped on the floor.

I have to say that Williams could be a difference maker for this team. Every time she has come in off the bench she has made things happen.

I like Simmons, I think sometimes she tries to be the star. She needs to slow down and take open shots instead of trying to make her own shot one on one. This is a team sport. If they move the ball around like they have, they will find their open shot!

It really hurt us with Izzy being out, not that it would have made that much difference. However, her experience from last year would have been more beneficial than playing Moore who has seen limited minutes, even in high school.

I think these ladies are something special and the year has just started. These ladies have a lot of fight left in them!!

Go LADY VOLS!!!

Vol1968 writes:

IF they want to succeed, they will have to be determined to win. Not show up intimidated and scared.

gtphitman#652888 writes:

in response to KennyGVolsFan:

There were a number of issues in this game. My first concern was at the point position. Massengale did not control the ball or make good passes. We were getting some really good shots in the first half but wasn't hitting them. You could tell our team was out of sorts when they first stepped on the floor.

I have to say that Williams could be a difference maker for this team. Every time she has come in off the bench she has made things happen.

I like Simmons, I think sometimes she tries to be the star. She needs to slow down and take open shots instead of trying to make her own shot one on one. This is a team sport. If they move the ball around like they have, they will find their open shot!

It really hurt us with Izzy being out, not that it would have made that much difference. However, her experience from last year would have been more beneficial than playing Moore who has seen limited minutes, even in high school.

I think these ladies are something special and the year has just started. These ladies have a lot of fight left in them!!

Go LADY VOLS!!!

I agree KennyG, the lack of experience on the floor was the major issue, for all those who says it being scare or intimadated,that what being enexperience does to you in basketball, with time I to think their something really special with this team,keep your headup and fight harder LadyVols your time is coming

rickangstadt#239402 writes:

So Stanford had their worst game of the year and Tennessee had their 2nd worst game of the year. Therefore it stands to reason that Stanford is next in line for their 2nd worst game - a loss to the Lady Vols . Go Vols!! :-)

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