Lady Vols beat Rutgers a ninth-straight time, 66-47

Holly Warlick pleased that teaching stuck

Tennessee's Ariel Massengale tries to shoot over Rutgers' Syessence Davis at Thompson-Boling Arena on Sunday, December 30, 2012. Tennessee defeated Rutgers 66-47. 
  
 (Saul Young/News Sentinel)

Photo by Saul Young, 2012 Knoxville News Sentinel

Tennessee's Ariel Massengale tries to shoot over Rutgers' Syessence Davis at Thompson-Boling Arena on Sunday, December 30, 2012. Tennessee defeated Rutgers 66-47. (Saul Young/News Sentinel)

Warlick really happy with win over Rutgers

Tennessee's defense performed double duty Sunday afternoon.

The Lady Vols' primary objective was thwarting Rutgers and they struck quickly, holding the Scarlet Knights scoreless for nearly six minutes at the outset. UT's stingy play initiated a 66-47 women's basketball victory that featured no ties and no lead changes.

Before a crowd of 12,347 at Thompson-Boling Arena, the Lady Vols also had to cover for their spotty play. They committed 18 turnovers and were outscored in the second half (34-33) after leading by as many as 28 points.

Coach Holly Warlick was content with the tradeoff. Actually, she seemed buoyant that, no matter the varying circumstances, her players were more defensive-minded.

"I think you see the result of two days of pretty tough, hard practices and staying on them," she said. "As a coach, when you teach something and they respond, that's exciting. I think our players responded to the coaching staff."

They still were responding afterward. Isabelle Harrison led No. 13 Tennessee (9-3), tying her career high with 18 points. Yet the sophomore center was more excited by her personal-best six steals. She had tied her previous career high of four by halftime in helping UT open a 33-13 lead.

"Whatever I can do to help on defense," she said, "and I think it helps us so much on offense. I'm really proud I contributed on that."

Guard Meighan Simmons scored 15 points for Tennessee. With her mother, grandmother and great grandmother in attendance, freshman forward Bashaara Graves scored 11 and grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds. The double-double was Graves' sixth, tying her for the SEC lead.

Reserve guard Kahleah Copper led Rutgers (8-4) with 13 points. Despite a game second-half effort, the Scarlet Knights never recovered from the first 20 minutes, when they made only six field goals and shot 22.2 percent from the floor.

"I wish we had been able to start quicker, better," Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer said. "I apologize to everybody for your time that was wasted coming to see this, and hopefully we'll grow from this."

The Scarlet Knights' problems were compounded by the loss of center Monique Oliver, the team's leading scorer. She left with 7:04 remaining in the first half after suffering a sprained left ankle and never returned.

"Let's look at it like this: it gave us an opportunity for some other people to play," Stringer said. "This would not have been the time I would've wanted that to happen."

Warlick looked at her team in terms of its defensive effort. No matter what they gave in turnovers, the Lady Vols helped force 24 by Rutgers, gathering 16 steals. The points off turnovers were 24-8 in UT's favor.

Simmons, who had shot a combined 15-for-43 from the floor in her past three games, helped set the tone early with her ball pressure. On one possession, she stalked Rutgers guard Syessence Davis in a one-on-one dance that drew a rousing response from the crowd.

"The way Meighan started on defense kind of took her mind off her offensive game," Warlick said.

In the second half, with the outcome in hand, Taber Spani's attention to defensive detail resulted in one of the game's highlights. Her blind pass to Kamiko Williams after sprawling to the court set in motion a transition play that ended with a Simmons basket. The play started with Spani hustling back and deflecting the ball.

"I thought 'I have to get that; that's my drop in (defensive) rotation,' " Spani said. "... I just wanted to get a touch off that ball because otherwise it would have been a layup and we're stressing defense pretty hard right now."

Mission accomplished. She did her duty.

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Comments » 33

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

It's always great to beat those Don Imus scarlet letters.

wigmeister writes:

Continued progress. Consistency is the key. We are getting there. Now the real season begins - conference play! Play hard and consistent every game, all game, and we will go to the big dance!

SummittsCourt writes:

I remember one year the Lady Vols trailed at halftime 33-13 to Rutgers and they came back and won the game. No return favor by the Scarlet Knights today. The Lady Vols played hard throughout. I like the double double-doubles by Graves and Harrisaon!

volfan2002 writes:

Playing under control and with intensity is all this team needs to do. Simmons was great today and played with great control. Her defense was the best I have seen her play. I hope this is the start of her move up to another level.

Volinflan writes:

I enjoyed the game and the end results. This is the first time that we have got to see R. Hollivay. She didn't show much today. Thanks I'll thake J. Jones, and of course, Graves and Hollivay are playing on different levels.

Now the real challenges begin. A tough start having to play South Carolina and then Georgia. Hopefully the prep games with Baylor and Stanford will have the Ladies ready. That defense from South Carolina is going to be fierce!!

ModelMaker writes:

I thought the Lady Vols came out with a lot of energy and I think that set the tone for the game. Graves, Harrison, and Simmons I thought played great. I have to agree with underthehill that this is a talented group. The defense was outstanding. It reminded me of the defense that Uconn threw at Stanford. I hope they continue to play this way as I think their strength is in their defense and rebounding when they want to do it. Holly I am sure will be there to make sure they do.

vettefool writes:

not one of Rutgers better teams, but a good win nevertheless. hopefully we can continue to improve with the tough games with sce and ga. coming up.

BxVol writes:

I want to give a shout out to Izzy Harrison who has made great strides in her sophmore year.Keep working hard to get even better Izzy because the improvement is evident
I remember watching Sidney Spencer play as a frosh and wondered what Pat saw in her,well she kept on getting better and better and was good enough to play for years in the WNBA!
Great job today Lady Vols!

vol98champ writes:

in response to BxVol:

I want to give a shout out to Izzy Harrison who has made great strides in her sophmore year.Keep working hard to get even better Izzy because the improvement is evident
I remember watching Sidney Spencer play as a frosh and wondered what Pat saw in her,well she kept on getting better and better and was good enough to play for years in the WNBA!
Great job today Lady Vols!

Is it possible that Izzy is our best Sophomore?

jt45 writes:

in response to vol98champ:

Is it possible that Izzy is our best Sophomore?

I think Burdick,Massengale and Harrison are all playing great right now but Izzy is definitely the most improved from last season. Phillips is a transfer so this is more like year one for her.

SoddyVol writes:

in response to jt45:

I think Burdick,Massengale and Harrison are all playing great right now but Izzy is definitely the most improved from last season. Phillips is a transfer so this is more like year one for her.

I hope the Vols can get something from Phillips coming to Knoxville. So far its time and money spent and nothing being contributed.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

Only shadows of what this game used to be.

mlynn1 writes:

in response to I_OWN_MANY:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Looked at your profile, you joined Dec. 20th and have posted 20 times, all negative. I'm glad to see that anything Tennessee is eating your lunch.
Go Big Orange!

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to mlynn1:

Looked at your profile, you joined Dec. 20th and have posted 20 times, all negative. I'm glad to see that anything Tennessee is eating your lunch.
Go Big Orange!

mlynn1 and other true Vols,

You said it. A recent induction into the trolls club on GVX. We can thus be on alert for anything this idiot posts........recognize the name ( own many troll names ) and hit remove or just ignore the troll.

ps11824 writes:

Pretty interesting that the Lady Vols would come out and jump on Rutgers the way they did. Certainly nice to see that our very competent and capable Coach Holly Warlick's admonitions carried over into the game to such a powerful outscoring, stingy defensive 1st half against an always challenging Vivian Stringer opponent.

Element, just admit that you are in here for one purpose and one selfish purpose ONLY; to aggravate and stink up a tight-knit Lady Vols fanbase. Yes, you are the outsider here. No matter what sorry nonsense you dribble along the way you have revealed yourself as a pitiful sort, not to be acknowledged as having respect for yourself or for us. So there.

madrigal writes:

May not have been one of Rutgers' better teams but still Rutgers and can always pull a surprise.

Anybody still remember the Lady Vols team that lost 10 and still won a national championship? Not likely for this year's team, but I think it's going to be a better and more interesting year than some predict.

SoddyVol writes:

The Rutgers game reminded me of some of the best teams Tenn has put on the floor. Especially the first 20 minutes were more enjoyable to watch than any since Parker left.

Playing the next game at SC will be a tough challenge, each with a very tough defense. These Lady Vols can certainly play them as well as Stanford did.

Stanford was up more to play Tenn than in any except when they played Baylor. Going back home after such an emotional trip, Stanford fell apart against UConn. That shows even very experienced teams can let emotional highs affect their next game.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

in response to madrigal:

May not have been one of Rutgers' better teams but still Rutgers and can always pull a surprise.

Anybody still remember the Lady Vols team that lost 10 and still won a national championship? Not likely for this year's team, but I think it's going to be a better and more interesting year than some predict.

That was the Meeks first season.

While I was never a Semeka fan, Chamique was great in college and Tamika, well, she's be super forever.

I honest-to-goodness need a refresher in spelling black American's names. Where I live, the unusual names are all bosnian, so phonetically much different.

SoddyVol writes:

My last post should have said those 1st 20 min reminds me of Tenn defense in 2008 when they beat Stanford for the national title. Stanford just couldn't do anything against the Vols Defense in the championship game.

volboy81 writes:

I love watching Harrison and Graves under the basket. They both remind me of Glory Johnson. Id hate to be under there fighting for a rebound vs. them!! Keep it up girls. Love it when Tennessee gals play for UT!!

ps11824 writes:

[[ madrigal writes:
May not have been one of Rutgers' better teams but still Rutgers and can always pull a surprise.

Anybody still remember the Lady Vols team that lost 10 and still won a national championship? Not likely for this year's team, but I think it's going to be a better and more interesting year than some predict. ]]

madrigal, you are spot on, baby. Stranger things have happened. Wouldn't you like to stick a sock in the doubters? "better and more interesting" is a most positive way to look at it. Thank you, madrigal. You are a dedicated fan.

UCon, Stanford and Baylor will definitely be the teams every other team will be gunning for, but, it's only Dec., momentarily. When conference play begins we will see way different competition. Battling night in and night out is what we have to look forward to. It's a whole new challenge for all of the aforementioned teams.

For us, KY, SC, Vandy, gators, Andy Landers, Gary Blair, LSU Nicky, (not in any order) shucks, we won't catch a break. the freshmen and sophomores will fresh slice of Holly's angst if they don't perform on any given night. And she (Holly) has my 100% support. There's no reason why the talent we have cannot take it to the court against any of our competitors.

I, for one, was a doubter against that '96 team, but they were not lacking talent. I had to 'watch/listen' to many games with my eyes covered and sound down.

They were slackers, no doubt. It just took a very hard December and a very determined Coach Pat to kick their lazy, "self-pitying" selves as hard as she could bear to do. She grieved over having to coach effort. Holly grieves too. Neither allowed their grieving to cause them to let up on the players. After all, that's what quality coaches do. Play thru the pain. The Lady Vols were fortunate to have a buffer, Coach Al Brown & Holly. I still miss Al. Holly cannot afford the luxury of being 'a friend and confident' any more. She is what she is. Tough, learned and 100% dedicated.

If one could ask Kellie, Chamiqua, Niya, Kyra, key players in the 10/11 ranked team that entered the NCAA Tourney with a 23-10 record if they had any doubt about winning the National title. They would all give an emphatic 'WE'RE GOING FOR BACK2BACK, NO DOUBT' reply. If you inquired if they regretted the constant beating they took from their coaching staff, they would probably laugh as if to say, "duh, isn't that what good coaches do?"

In case you doubt what I say, watch the tape. Read the book. Stop acting like you know better than Holly how to coach. Be a supporter or find another team to condemn.

I turned this post into a syllogistical tirade. Excuse me. It is New Year's Eve. Some things need to be said. Does the heart good. Happy New Year, fans.

Theo writes:

in response to madrigal:

May not have been one of Rutgers' better teams but still Rutgers and can always pull a surprise.

Anybody still remember the Lady Vols team that lost 10 and still won a national championship? Not likely for this year's team, but I think it's going to be a better and more interesting year than some predict.

Rutgers started four high school all americans - same as the Lady Vols. They are not chopped liver.

Theo writes:

in response to Element_Days_Are_Over:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

troll - how many names do you have on here?
The whole sheep thing, however, reminds me of a poster on the men's football thread whose entire existence was trying to get Coach Dooley fired. No such luck here. NC in 2014 or 2015.

Theo writes:

Agree on Izzy. I love Burdick's leadership and she has made big strides. If, however, I had to pick a most improved it would be Izzy or Kamicko.
Love this team, loved that the commentators agreed that this could be our most athletic team ever.
The future is so bright we need shades!
Go Lady Vols!

tonyvick#213307 writes:

Funny I think Burdick is being an apprehensive leader. I think she knows she is to lead but afraid of the scrutiny. She can be the best player on the floor when she believes it. Burdick please don't hide behind others we clearly see you can be the best when you want to.

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to Element_Days_Are_Over:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I don't agree with the lifestyle but your homophobia is unbelievable

r2d2 writes:

in response to Element_Days_Are_Over:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I agree with Theo. I believe this team is capable of posting a 22-7 or 23-6 record. The record next year should be 27-2 or 28-1 with the addition of Mercedes Russell and the other 2 players. I believe strongly the LVs will compete for a NC next year.

ps11824 writes:

I don't know what's worse, liberal, loudmouth aggravator, instigator, one who enjoys dissension, one who mettles into other folks' lives, one who cannot get the hint their ignorance is neither wanted nor warranted??? Shucks, they're the same.

This Element poster must be the ringleader of all Lady Vols haters. At least there's that. Wonder what the reward will be...

RLL59 writes:

This stream is a good example of the illogical assertions that occur when both sides represent intolerance.

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to Element_Days_Are_Over:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

what does this drivel have to do with Lady Vols hoops

SoddyVol writes:

in response to Theo:

Rutgers started four high school all americans - same as the Lady Vols. They are not chopped liver.

You're right, Theo. That fact confirms Holly's ability to coach compared to others with more head coaching experience. We've got a good one replacing Pat who will continue "the winning ways" given just a little time. I'm glad Holly is a lifetime Vol.

madrigal writes:

in response to emailnodata:

That was the Meeks first season.

While I was never a Semeka fan, Chamique was great in college and Tamika, well, she's be super forever.

I honest-to-goodness need a refresher in spelling black American's names. Where I live, the unusual names are all bosnian, so phonetically much different.

Wrong. It was Chamique's first season, and the other two hadn't arrived yet. It was Michelle Marcianiak's and Abby Conklin's bunch, and it was the first of the threepeats.

ps11824 writes:

[[[ Element_Days_Are_Over writes:
in response to 98reax:

I don't know what's worse, liberal, loudmouth aggravator, instigator, one who enjoys dissension, one who mettles into other folks' lives, one who cannot get the hint their ignorance is neither wanted nor warranted??? Shucks, they're the same.

This Element poster must be the ringleader of all Lady Vols haters. At least there's that. Wonder what the reward will be...

Troll, hater, loudmouth. Typical Liberal response when the group they worship are exposed for who they are.]]]

The more you post the less sense you make. Do you know what a liberal is? 98 is the farthest thing from liberal you could ever imagine.

See, I don't know you, and you don't know me. All we have to go on is what we post here on the Lady Vols Basketball site. I figure you come here for 1 reason only - to show who you are. I believe you must be what you profess to be. Therefore, I forgive you.

If you have self respect you wouldn't be proud to show yourself in a site where you have nothing but hate to share. See, no one other than yourself and others who buy into your game wants to see your comments. I don't understand why the webmaster allows such on this site.

There are plenty of sites for you, so I hear. I don't visit those.

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