Lady Vols back to square No. 1 after loss to Stanford

Lack of effort against Stanford has Warlick 'in disbelief'

ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL
Lady Vols guard Kamiko Williams, right, drives the ball around Stanford guard Jasmine Camp during the first half at Thompson-Boling Arena on Saturday.

Photo by Adam Brimer

ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL Lady Vols guard Kamiko Williams, right, drives the ball around Stanford guard Jasmine Camp during the first half at Thompson-Boling Arena on Saturday.

Holly Warlick on the Lady Vols' loss to Stanford

Adam BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL
Tennessee's Ariel Massengale, left, is fouled by Stanford guard Amber Orrange as she tries to drive in the first half at Thompson-Boling Arena on Saturday.

Photo by Adam Brimer

Adam BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL Tennessee's Ariel Massengale, left, is fouled by Stanford guard Amber Orrange as she tries to drive in the first half at Thompson-Boling Arena on Saturday.

An obvious item on Tennessee's Christmas wish list is a victory.

In the wake of a 73-60 women's basketball loss to No. 1 Stanford, Holly Warlick was thinking more specifically about the essentials of winning. Tennessee's head coach wants effort — a lot more than she saw in Saturday's performance before a matinee crowd of 13,016 at Thompson-Boling Arena.

"Quite frankly, we were never in the game,'' she said. "… The whole game I was in disbelief. We didn't affect Stanford one bit. Credit to them. If you don't take them out of something, they're going to shoot 47 percent. You have to do something to take them out of their rhythm. We didn't."

The Lady Vols certainly didn't do much to deter Stanford's Chiney Ogwumike. The All-American forward led five double-figure scorers with 21 points. The 6-foot-3 junior set new career highs for rebounds (19) and assists (five).

Stanford (11-0) did shoot 47.5 percent from the floor (28 for 59). The double-figure roll call included Amber Orrange with 14, along with six assists. Toni Kokenis and Bonnie Samuelson each scored 11 points and Joslyn Tinkle had 10.

While her scoring didn't match the astounding 42 points her older sister, Nnemkadi, had against Tennessee last season, Ogwumike's play helped Stanford (11-0) win in Knoxville for the first time since Dec. 15, 1996.

Her sister will definitely hear about that.

"One thing Nneka didn't do was get a win here at Tennessee," she said. "So I wanted to one-up her."

The No. 10 Lady Vols (7-3), on the other hand, will be hearing about the importance of defense and rebounding when they return from the holiday break and begin preparations for a Dec. 28 game against Davidson.

Judging by Warlick's postgame comments, they likely got an earful before leaving. Sophomore forward Cierra Burdick, who scored 11 points, was all ears.

"We're playing extremely selfish basketball right now," she said. "Until we make defense a priority, we'll continue to get (losses) like this and continue to get embarrassed."

Freshman forward Bashaara Graves' double-double (15 points and 12 rebounds) and three other double-figure scorers didn't accurately sum up UT's play.

Another poor shooting start doomed the Lady Vols' chances. They made just 10 field goals in the first half and missed their first 12 3-point shots before finishing at 31.9 percent from the floor (22 for 69).

Not even 21 offensive rebounds helped their cause. At one point in the first half, they had 11 offensive boards but just four second-chance points.

Although Tennessee didn't face anything approaching the 17-point deficit to start Tuesday's loss at Baylor, it never led either. In fact, the only tie was 8-8 with 14:44 left in the first half.

After falling behind by as many as 19 points early in second half, UT closed to within 52-43 with 8:43 left, only to see Stanford score the next six points.

Warlick referred to Tennessee's last home game — a 102-57 rout of North Carolina on Dec. 2 — in saying, "If we can compete against North Carolina, why can't we compete against Stanford? It makes entirely no sense to me."

While the game was different than Tuesday's, Burdick detected an echo in her post mortem.

"We're letting our offense dictate our defense," she said. "I feel like I'm a broken record because that's the same exact thing as against Baylor. You would think that we would've went and fixed that. Apparently we haven't.

"That's what hurts so bad."

Dan Fleser covers Tennessee women's basketball. Follow him at http://twitter.com/FleserKNS and http;//blogs.knoxnews.com/fleser.

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Comments » 41

wigmeister writes:

Another loss to a good team. I know we will probably improve as the season goes on, or at least I hope so. At best I think we will get to the big dance, but think we would be lucky to get to sweet sixteen or elite eight. Let's hope I am wrong, and we get to a final four. Depends on improvement and seeding.

retiredVolinGA writes:

I understand that Hollie is very disappointed, but I thought the girls showed tenacity toward the end and it took some special time-outs and extra coaching by Tara to keep Stanford from losing control. We didn't give up! We're very young team what with losing all 5 starters from last year. But, even with a young team, we're still playing the best teams in the Nation. This will pay off for us down the road. We'll be at the game on the 28th, hope all you will be as well, let's support these Lady VFLs.

pomp_and_circumstance writes:

The Lady Vols are in for a long season. Reliable outside shooting in medium to high percentage will win every time. Every team the LV faces will have at least two that night. The LV have none at all. Spani might be hot one game, and cold the next six. Same for Simmons. So nine of every ten possessions will be a drive to the basket, and one of those nines will score.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

Probably regroup and win the SEC, but the reality is the SEC isn't on par with the Big East, Big 12 or Pac 12 anymore..

jt45 writes:

South Carolina played Standford to within 4 points, I doubt and SEC championship for this group this year if they dont get back on track soon. They are not playing anywhere near the level they were earlier this year. Shooting percentage and defense are looking really bad right now. I expected them to be more aggressive on the boards or block out some but Standford's guards were even better under the basket.

Still holding out hope for a good season but some things need to be fixed soon or they wont do well against Georgia,S.C or UK this year.

tomkats3242 writes:

Don't count the Lady Vols out just yet. There is always hope and light at the end of the tunnel. There are a few girls on the team that still don't understand TEAM WORK and a few that are not willing to accept they are not the All Americans noted in the paper. We will win more than we lose but will not be in the final four THIS year. They are better than the football team was last year and will get better. GBO

jt45 writes:

Spani and Simmons are both choking badly at times, Graves is amazing for a freshman. Next year should be a top 4 four season.After that I expect the Lady Vols should be bring home another banner in a couple of years if Mercedes Russell does well here.

ladyvolsfan789 writes:

I was able to watch the game in person and it felt like the two were fairly evenly matched teams. The difference was that one team was hitting their shots and the other wasn't. Sometimes the shots just don't fall and against a top opponent that usually results in a loss. I hope we can meet Stanford again in the tournament and show them just how much this team is capable of.

chaos001 writes:

Such potential. If only they could settle down and execute.

movol53 writes:

Young and inexperienced must remember some of the Lady Vols are only 18 months out of high school. Not making excuses; just the facts. We have only two seniors so this is a very young team. They now know, after the last two games, what it takes to be great team. Question is did they learn anything and are they willing to put in the hours on their own to improve. My main concern is why the can't buy a bucket. Are they just so tight in trying to do everything right that they just can't shoot? They were getting looks in both games but could NOT make'em count. The other thing I'm concerned with is we can't seem to shut down the other teams best player or two in order to take them out of the game. 21 points and 19 rebounds by one opposing player is NOT acceptable!!!!

kazoo writes:

Terrible defense tonight was the big problem. But also: UT has been hurt by Harrison's injury. She didn't play at all at Baylor and was NO FACTOR tonight. She is crucial to this team, which has very little size/inside presence without her. The third problem is that Simmons' shooting has been poor the last two losses. She's played great this year--until last two games. Vols with Harrison at full strength and Simmons playing within herself are a good basketball team. They are two huge cogs in the wheel, and have to play well for us to compete with the big dogs.

Millisa writes:

Get Back To Work Lady Vols You Can Do It

Pullingguard writes:

Vols resembled a girls team before when the offense/defense were restricted to half court... were these UT players rated as high priority recruits for they certainly don't resemble such with their play..

movol53 writes:

in response to chaos001:

Such potential. If only they could settle down and execute.

I agree 100%!!!!!

GO LADY VOLS!!!

volfan2002 writes:

A well coached team can beat a more talented one most of the time. Stanford only had two top twenty recruited high school players on the floor and Tennessee had four and we were at home. Stanford came to play we were already on Christmas vacation.

SoddyVol writes:

Shortly after the game started I could see the Vols were lacking any confidence in themselves. Some shots were air-balls even when open. They didn't seem to really believe in themselves after being intimidated by BG & Baylor. In the second half, after Stanford sort of let up a little, the Vols rallied until Tara V. called a time out. For the rest of the game Stanford had their original effort and Tenn couldn't gain on them. Even with Tenn being down for the last few years, everyone still puts up their best effort against them. For some reason other teams get up as much or more when playing Tenn than when they play anyone else. It's a very interesting year for true Vol fans. I'm sure we all can hardly wait to see how they do against SEC teams.

oldster writes:

Sounds like Stanford Tinkle(d) all over the Orrange. Yuk, yuk.

manniesghost1903 writes:

This Lady Vols team is not a race horse which can take the lead in the overall NCAA women season from start to finish. I don't expect this team to win a National Championship this year anyway. However, UT Lady Vols did win a National Title with 10 losses. It will be difficult to beat Baylor with their big manchild and Stanford. Next year I expect the Lady Vols to be hard to handle.

tovolny writes:

This team actually has talent. This team actually has depth. This team actually does not use their talent. This team actually does not use their depth. This team looks bad shooting three pointers. This team looks bad shooting lay-ups. This team DOES NOT even shoot 10 to 15-foot jumpers. (I HAVE SEEN SOME TERRIBLE LOOKING UNDER_HANDED SHOTS I HAVE NEVER SEEN BEFORE.) This team never shoots or even attempts to shoot behind a screen. This team usually has at least three players standing in place (on offense)watching the other two. At Baylor, this team looked beat during the pre-game warm-ups. Other than that, they look like tall, good looking ladies, but definitely not basketball players.

This team needs to eat some biscuits and gravy with some greasy breakfast meat like country ham. Don't forget the grits. This team needs to hit the floor like lady Vols. This team needs to do and believe what Hollie and the other coaches tell them. They need to trust Hollie. When plants quit growing and begin to wilt, they can be revived by adding water and fertilizer. I never did raise a crop of young female basketballers, but if I did , and they begin to turn peaked, I think I would fit them all up with boxing gloves and let them go after each other...then the last 5 standing would be told to go suit up. If some of the fallen ones got up and wanted to box some more, I might let them tag along as subs. When Clark Kent sheds his business duds, he turns into Superman. Use to be that when the Tennessee coeds donned those orangie, whitesh uniforms with a few hints of blue, they too, morphed into players with supernatural powers. SO, COME ON LADIES...you are LADY VOLS not BABY VOLS...how about getting with the program...NOW...!!!

ps11824 writes:

[[ "We're letting our offense dictate our defense," she said. ]]

I'm not seeing confidence in the offensive sets. They looked to be scared to drive to the basket. The few times they did they looked timid. Honestly looked as if they close their eyes when the release the ball.

Holly will whip them into shape. Come on Lady Vols. Toughen up. Get your confidence on when the ball goes up, FINISH THAT SHOT. Fight for that board until you bleed.

I'm absolutely sure this team is tougher than they played the last 2 games. Time to get serious, ladies.

Lacey writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

Probably regroup and win the SEC, but the reality is the SEC isn't on par with the Big East, Big 12 or Pac 12 anymore..

Wishful thinking

Lacey writes:

in response to SoddyVol:

Shortly after the game started I could see the Vols were lacking any confidence in themselves. Some shots were air-balls even when open. They didn't seem to really believe in themselves after being intimidated by BG & Baylor. In the second half, after Stanford sort of let up a little, the Vols rallied until Tara V. called a time out. For the rest of the game Stanford had their original effort and Tenn couldn't gain on them. Even with Tenn being down for the last few years, everyone still puts up their best effort against them. For some reason other teams get up as much or more when playing Tenn than when they play anyone else. It's a very interesting year for true Vol fans. I'm sure we all can hardly wait to see how they do against SEC teams.

It's called good coaching which we don't have.

burpee_von_rotweiler_IV writes:

The best hope this year for Tennessee women's basketball is UT Chattanooga.

richvol writes:

in response to jt45:

South Carolina played Standford to within 4 points, I doubt and SEC championship for this group this year if they dont get back on track soon. They are not playing anywhere near the level they were earlier this year. Shooting percentage and defense are looking really bad right now. I expected them to be more aggressive on the boards or block out some but Standford's guards were even better under the basket.

Still holding out hope for a good season but some things need to be fixed soon or they wont do well against Georgia,S.C or UK this year.

I admire the USCe coach. She was a very tenacious player and will do a great job. I wish we had considered some other coaches.

Spani has been a disappointment.

kazoo writes:

The program has lost some confidence in recent years, partly due to mediocre recruiting. That said, this team is talented and it is demonstrably better than last year's team--but it needs to run and it needs Harrison and Simmons and Massengale to play well. Massengale needs to LEAD this team--she's a good player, but she's got to show and she's got to lead, which means keeping the confidence level of her teammates high. Simmons is the key offensive player on this team, and she has shot poorly last two games and Harrison missed one game and was non-factor last night. Taking the ball to the basket is something Simmons and Massengale should do more: those players who can do that tend to be mentally tough, and winning big games is all about mental toughness.

madrigal writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

Probably regroup and win the SEC, but the reality is the SEC isn't on par with the Big East, Big 12 or Pac 12 anymore..

There basically isn't a Big East any more, or won't be. Big 12? I don't think so....Baylor and then the rest of them, and Baylor won't be so great after this year. Pac 12? Maybe, but so far it's Stanford and Cal. And the SEC is getting better, with the improvements in SC and UK and the addition of A&M. Some people are always looking for something to whine about.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to madrigal:

There basically isn't a Big East any more, or won't be. Big 12? I don't think so....Baylor and then the rest of them, and Baylor won't be so great after this year. Pac 12? Maybe, but so far it's Stanford and Cal. And the SEC is getting better, with the improvements in SC and UK and the addition of A&M. Some people are always looking for something to whine about.

It's not whining, it's called reality. UT is not a top four program winning wise. They are behind UCONN, Baylor (until the freak leaves), Stanford, and Notre Dame. Just the truth.

crappieking writes:

Fire Warlick!!!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

It's not whining, it's called reality. UT is not a top four program winning wise. They are behind UCONN, Baylor (until the freak leaves), Stanford, and Notre Dame. Just the truth.

No doubt that is the truth. The LVs are not a Final Four team right now, and likely won't be this year due to youth and inexperience. The other stuff some people have said--no coaching, no talent, no heart, etc.--is NOT the truth. They WILL get better, and the experience gained through these struggles WILL put them back on the road to national relevance next year. Some people seem to expect to harvest their crops the day after they plant them. Right now, many of these young ladies have just started to "germinate". "To everything, there is a season...."

I'm away for the holidays. See you again in the new year. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to the whole Vol Nation! GO LADY VOLS!!! And all the other Vols, too!

dwolfcreek#397971 writes:

in response to I_OWN_MANY:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Man , anything is possible .

dwolfcreek#397971 writes:

These girls are fun to watch , they are gonna get a lot better . They need more consistency out of point guard .

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to johnlg00:

No doubt that is the truth. The LVs are not a Final Four team right now, and likely won't be this year due to youth and inexperience. The other stuff some people have said--no coaching, no talent, no heart, etc.--is NOT the truth. They WILL get better, and the experience gained through these struggles WILL put them back on the road to national relevance next year. Some people seem to expect to harvest their crops the day after they plant them. Right now, many of these young ladies have just started to "germinate". "To everything, there is a season...."

I'm away for the holidays. See you again in the new year. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to the whole Vol Nation! GO LADY VOLS!!! And all the other Vols, too!

Merry Christmas to you and family..

coffy73 writes:

A mediocre team being led by a mediocre coach...that's the reality of this team. Sometimes you have to face reality when it comes to your favorite teams and Warlick is no head coach. Holly stated in the article "If we can compete against North Carolina, why can't we compete against Stanford? It makes entirely no sense to me."
That tells you she isn't a true leader; NC is a horrible team, I don't think they're even ranked. Why would a coach think Stanford would be as easy as NC? Ridiculous! She probably draws up the same plans for every opponent, not taking into account that hey, teams are different! Tenn. needs Nikki Caldwell.

coffy73 writes:

in response to manniesghost1903:

This Lady Vols team is not a race horse which can take the lead in the overall NCAA women season from start to finish. I don't expect this team to win a National Championship this year anyway. However, UT Lady Vols did win a National Title with 10 losses. It will be difficult to beat Baylor with their big manchild and Stanford. Next year I expect the Lady Vols to be hard to handle.

That National championship team was mentally tough as nails and had the ultimate motivator, Coach Summitt. The new LVs are not tough at all, they're very sloppy and are easily intimidated. I can see them possibly winning an SEC title and maybe a sweet sixteen berth, but there are so many teams now that can easily dispatch this LV team.

BxVol writes:

in response to tovolny:

This team actually has talent. This team actually has depth. This team actually does not use their talent. This team actually does not use their depth. This team looks bad shooting three pointers. This team looks bad shooting lay-ups. This team DOES NOT even shoot 10 to 15-foot jumpers. (I HAVE SEEN SOME TERRIBLE LOOKING UNDER_HANDED SHOTS I HAVE NEVER SEEN BEFORE.) This team never shoots or even attempts to shoot behind a screen. This team usually has at least three players standing in place (on offense)watching the other two. At Baylor, this team looked beat during the pre-game warm-ups. Other than that, they look like tall, good looking ladies, but definitely not basketball players.

This team needs to eat some biscuits and gravy with some greasy breakfast meat like country ham. Don't forget the grits. This team needs to hit the floor like lady Vols. This team needs to do and believe what Hollie and the other coaches tell them. They need to trust Hollie. When plants quit growing and begin to wilt, they can be revived by adding water and fertilizer. I never did raise a crop of young female basketballers, but if I did , and they begin to turn peaked, I think I would fit them all up with boxing gloves and let them go after each other...then the last 5 standing would be told to go suit up. If some of the fallen ones got up and wanted to box some more, I might let them tag along as subs. When Clark Kent sheds his business duds, he turns into Superman. Use to be that when the Tennessee coeds donned those orangie, whitesh uniforms with a few hints of blue, they too, morphed into players with supernatural powers. SO, COME ON LADIES...you are LADY VOLS not BABY VOLS...how about getting with the program...NOW...!!!

Some very good points made by tovolny.Very strong recruiting classes the last two years and next years freshmen class is ranked extremely high.
Against teams at the top like Baylor and Stanford our poor offense and defense exposes us.Just look at the assist totals to see how well we are playing together.All is not lost because I see glimpses of potential in stretches of the game like when we closed to 9 down . Still too many bad shots and unfortunately our Lady Vols were missing on even the good ones, even Holly said they were "just throwing them up".
This team is young in that several players were playing minor minutes last season and are now expected to carry a big load.They will get better, but only by working to get better as a team.Meighan is a WNBA talent but she will be drafted in the 3rd round right now or can go high in the first if she calms down and takes good shots.Ariel needs to dish the ball off on many fast breaks.I liked seeing Burdick aggressive on offense, and she needs to continue because she is a very good passer if the shot is not there.Graves is playing very well and she should only get better.Jones has looked good in spurts.Carter`s play will be missed because she was doing a great job before we lost her for the season I could go on but I will end in saying this team should and I believe will contend for the SEC title.

ModelMaker writes:

I thought Harrison got beat badly inside. Chiney Ogwumike is one of the top centers in the nation. I thought Stanford's defense was a lot better than ours. If we are going to stand a chance against these top teams we are going to have to play the best defense we can possibly play. I think this team needs to pay attention to the coaches. Elzy was a very good defensive player in her playing days. Maybe they need to pay more attention to what she says. One thing all the top teams in the nation have in common is they all play very good defense. Also they all play their starters a lot. Example: The most any player can play is 40 min. X that by 5 starters and you get 200 min. That said Stanfords starters played 170 out of a possible 200 min. TN. starters played 145 out of a possible 200 min. Check any of the top teams and you will find that they play their starters a lot. If you can put a player in and not miss a beat that is great. But can TN do that. They have good depth but not that good. It will help a lot when they get Russell next year but until then they better play outstanding defense if they want to go very far this year.

underthehill writes:

Young talent is coming along much better than I thought they would..there was no lack of effort on the part of the players..Stanford is an experienced and well coached team..what I had hoped to hear Holly say..How can we as coaches help this team get better?? I didn't hear that ..Stanford had set plays that worked when they needed points..UT did not..Stanford players did not throw up shots that missed everything..Stanford was by far the best coached team..Holly has to get better before her team can get better..and I think she will..and I think this team will..

TATER68 writes:

AFTER WATCHING THE BAYLOR AND STANFORD GAMES, I WAS LIKE OH WELL..REALLY WE WERE SUPOSED TO LOSE TO THEM. THIS TEAM IS YOUNG, BUT THAT IS NO EXCUSE FOR EFFORT..THE CHOACHES CANT PLAY THE GAME FOR THEM,IT IS UP TO THE LADIES..I WOULD LIKE TO C THEM GET BACK TO THE WAY THEY PLAED NORTH CAROLINA...THEY NEED TO SETTLE DOWN, DON'T RUSH SHOTS, AND DEFEND..MOVE THE BALL AROUND LIKE THEY DID AT TEXAS...THAT WAS A GREAT TEAM EFFORT...I AM GOING OUT ON LIMB HERE AS SAY THEY WILL GO 25-5 THIS SEASON, AND CONTEND FOR THE SEC CHAMPHIONSHIP.WE HAVE 2 FIRST ROUND GAMES AT HOME IN THE BIG DANCE, AND RELATED TO SEEDING THEY SHOULD BE FINE. I THINK THEY WILL MAKE THE ELITE EIGHT, BUT AGAIN THAT DEPENDS ON SEEDING? THIS IS A TEAM IN THE MAKEING, THE PIECES WILL BE IN PLACE NEXT YEAR,SO JUST BE PATIENT. I KNOW HOLLY IS IN DISBELIEF AT HOW THEY PLAY...TIME TO CRACK THE WHIP, AND PULL OUT SOME OF PAT'S OLD TEACHING HABITIS....IF U DON'T PLAY WELL U RIDE THE PINE....NO MORE NICE GUY HOLLY, GET TOUGH ON EM....YELL AT EM, GET IN THERI FACE, AND LET THEM KNOW HOW IT IS GOING TO BE..SHE CAN COACH, THAT'S PROVEN..THESE LADIES JSUT NEED TO STEP UP OR SHUT UP..DON'T RUCH SHOTS, PLAY WITH IN YOURSELFS AND EACH OTHER, PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS..PRESSURE D...AND SMART SHOTS..D WINS GAMES..BUT ALL IN ALL I THINK IT HAS BEEN MORE THATN I EXPECTED SO FAR..CNA'T WIAT FOR THE VANDY GAME I'LL BE THERE IN FULL GARB, CHEARING FOR MY TEAM...LET'S NOT SAY A LOT OF BAD THINGS, LETS' JUST TRY TO FOCOUS ON THE GOOD, AND WHAT THEY CAN INPROVE IN, AND THE HELL WITH WHAT THE NATION THINKS OF THE LADY VOLS...THEY WILL BE FINE, THESE TOUGH GAMES WILL ONLY PREPARE THEM FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON. SO DON'T COUNT THEM OUT JUST YET, WAIT AND C...LADY VOLS FAN IN MADISON, TN....GO LADY VOLS.....

SoddyVol writes:

FOR TATER68: ,,,,,,,,,,,,I read only your first two lines----having to read all CAPS is just too hard.

RLL59 writes:

As long as the coaching philosophy is to overguard quicker players who have not picked up their dribble, not setting screens for 3 point shooters, and shuffling starting lineups and substitution patterns, the Lady Vols will not beat tams that have equal or better talent. How long has it been since we've seen a Lady Vol player or team make steady improvement as the season progresses?

62vol writes:

A return to square one? This is the writer's opinion. Maybe an overstatement. We played the number one team in the nation and learned from it.

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