Lady Vols beat Mississippi State, in first-place tie after Kentucky loses

Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press
Tennessee forward Glory Johnson, left, shoots in front of Mississippi State center Martha Alwal during the first half Thursday in Starkville, Miss.

Photo by Rogelio V. Solis, AP2012

Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press Tennessee forward Glory Johnson, left, shoots in front of Mississippi State center Martha Alwal during the first half Thursday in Starkville, Miss.

STARKVILLE, Miss. — Tennessee overcame two of its worst tendencies with two traditional staples.

Defense and rebounding trumped turnovers and spotty play as the Lady Vols scored a 57-41 SEC women's basketball victory over Mississippi State before a crowd of 1,845 on Thursday night at Humphrey Coliseum.

Shekinna Stricklen scored a game-high 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for No. 13 Tennessee (19-7, 10-3 SEC). Freshman Cierra Burdick added 10 points and seven rebounds.

The victory, combined with Kentucky's 77-75 loss at Alabama, pulled the Lady Vols into a first-place tie with the Wildcats in the conference standings.

"It wasn't the prettiest game," UT associate head coach Holly Warlick said. "It was a grind for us. We found a way to win."

The Lady Vols paved their way with a 59-37 rebounding advantage and by relying primarily on the same 2-3 zone alignment that was so effective in Monday's victory over Kentucky.

Although Kendra Grant scored a career-high 17 points, Mississippi State (14-12, 4-9) shot a season-low 23.2 percent from the floor.

Other than Stricklen, Tennessee's starters shot a combined 6-for-29 from the floor

After Meighan Simmons hit a pull-up jumper inside the first 30 seconds, the Lady Vols missed their next 13 shots. They compounded their wayward shooting with shoddy ball-handling, committing 13 of their 19 turnovers before halftime.

"Our defense played hard enough to win the game," Mississippi State coach Sharon Fanning-Otis said.

The Lady Bulldogs created the sort of scrappy environment that has brought out the worst in Tennessee this season.

"Earlier in the season, if our shots weren't falling, we'd collapse as a team," Burdick said. "In the long run, we knew our shots would start falling." Stricklen's teammates had to convince her to remain optimistic, and she heeded their advice. After shooting 1-for-7 in the first half, she bounced back with 7 for 11 shooting after halftime, hitting everything from rebound baskets to UT's lone 3-pointer.

She scored three straight baskets at one point, pushing UT's lead to 38-20.

"(My teammates) told me to keep working at it," Stricklen said. "I started having more composure."

Until Stricklen found the range, Tennessee relied on two reserves to get some scoring traction.

Kamiko Williams scored six of her eight points in the first half, connecting on three driving baskets.

Burdick, meanwhile, recorded two of her three assists, playing with uncommon poise amid all the offensive chaos that swirled around her.

"Just trying to say patient and composed," she said. "I really tried to focus on swinging the ball and when an open shot came to me, take it."

Thanks primarily to Williams and Burdick, UT emerged from the first 20 minutes with a 22-13 lead.

"I think that's the power of our bench," Warlick said. "Our starters didn't have a particularly good game in the first half."

The Lady Bulldogs never recovered from shooting 5 for 34 in the first half. To make matters worse, they lost center Catina Bett, who fainted in the second half and was taken to a local hospital. Fanning-Otis thought that Bett was suffering from dehydration.

Dan Fleser may be reached at 865-342-6288. Follow him at http://twitter.com/FleserKNS and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/fleser.

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Comments » 75

butch31 writes:

Thank You Crimson Tide!!! We're back in 1st place LOL...who would of thought or figured? Great game from Glory, Shekinna, Cierra, and Kamiko! Way to go ladies!

orangecountyvols writes:

Butch,

Right on. Actually tied with U K.

The loss to South Carolina is now the big blow
for the Lady Vols. Can they overcome that?

Well,no more losses can be experienced, for sure.

They just HAVE to get away from the turnovers.

gerryblack writes:

With the ladies tied for first place it just goes to show how miserable the SEC is this year.
They managed again to show how really bad the second team coaching staff is.

pomp_and_circumstance writes:

They won, but that was the ugliest game I have ever seen in women's BB. And so the absurdity continues. Demolish Ky. and the next week look like they have never played in a game before. Is it possible Holly is still looking for the right line up? Perhaps they are looking at 30 turn overs a game to see if they can still win it. No way will they make it to the sweet 16.

rlshepa#259432 writes:

in response to gerryblack:

With the ladies tied for first place it just goes to show how miserable the SEC is this year.
They managed again to show how really bad the second team coaching staff is.

What a miserable person you must be. You can't even enjoy a win.

lvols2448 writes:

I just don't understand some of the people who post on this site. One day your bashing the lady vols for not playing a whole game, then they blow out Kentucky and it's nothing but praise. Then one hard fought game and it's back to bashing them again. What do you expect for everybody to lay down and surrender because Tenn is on the court? Every game that was played in the SEC tonight with the exception of Tenn was won by less than 10 points. I for one think the girls played a great game tonight. At least they didn't quit like they have appeared to do earlier in the season when they were not making shots and turning the ball over. They kept up the defense. I agree that they still have some work to do before they can make it to a Final Four, but I still think that they are moving in the right direction.

vettefool writes:

in response to gerryblack:

With the ladies tied for first place it just goes to show how miserable the SEC is this year.
They managed again to show how really bad the second team coaching staff is.

you are correct about this. sec womans bb is only a shadow of its former glory. a bunch of average teams. i suppose the lady vols are the best of a poor lot.

hcjournals#206623 writes:

gerryblack

Please go away....

VAvolfanRON writes:

in response to gerryblack:

With the ladies tied for first place it just goes to show how miserable the SEC is this year.
They managed again to show how really bad the second team coaching staff is.

do you REALLY believe the stuff that comes out our mouth?(or typing)

too funny, SEC teams play the best schedule year in and year out. i think a lady by the name MRS. Summitt had something to do with that.

so, yea....the SEC is miserable...compared to ..um...er....uh..cant think of another conference

jt45 writes:

Kentucky hasn't recovered from the beatdown it seems. Wouldn't be surprised to see them lose again after the Lady vols broke their spirit.

Ugly game tonight, sort of expected that after coming off that great game at home. Nevertheless it was a good win. Good job by Strickland, especially in the second half.

jt45 writes:

Burdick is really turning into a sharpshooter, with her size and skillset she will be a top player in the future.

1volk-nowi-tall writes:

Yes, it was a very ugly game. The officiating was worse than youth league. Glory is beaten near death every night and no fouls are called. We took it inside numerous times without going to the foul line. Charge on Simmons was horrific. Defender just moved into Simmons to create a block, and ref just BLEW IT. Such poor officiating, I don not know how either team can keep any level of composure. Weak officials call alot of walks. A lot of walks were called tonight. Both teams should have been to the line several times in the first half. Several times players were fouled in the act of shooting and not given foul shots. Poor officiating leads to players sprawled on the floor, underneath the basket with no fouls called. It also leads to having to go to the monitor to see what happened on the floor when you have three officials watching 10 players. That ratio of officials to players should provide much better game conditions. I guess we now need four officials or maybe if we have five officials they could watch two players each and be able to get more calls correctly. Yes we shot terribly but much of what happened on shots around the goal was the result of fouls not being called. Constantly poor officiating really hurts the ladies game. Vandy got an extra 14 seconds in their game against Florida that allowed the Dores to tie the game and take it to overtime. No big deal I guess, just part of the game. You must play with the officials that are given you. Really a sad state of affairs. Oh. Block on Massengale in second half was such a bad call. Ariel actually had been standing there long enought to get a zip code. Underneath official wanted to call a charge but someone in a black and white striped shirt came from God knows where and had to make a block call.

JimmyJoe writes:

Ok... like....was the program director at CSS on crack tonite... ??? Hanging on to a 16 point game with less than a minute to play... Cutting to the lady vols with 8 minutes gone in the half....

JimmyJoe writes:

They schedule the game in the first place at nine o'clock and then don't have the common sense to say.... Uh goofy team a is winning by 16 over goofy team b... With uh minute to go.... Uh ya reckon we should go on and click over to that lady's game..uh one of those teams is ranked... Uhhhh... Uhhhhh

gerryblack writes:

in response to rlshepa#259432:

What a miserable person you must be. You can't even enjoy a win.

Only a sick puppy could enjoy this win. How are you feeling?

gerryblack writes:

in response to hcjournals#206623:

gerryblack

Please go away....

OK Holly but can I return later. PLEASE

huntined#565710 writes:

in response to JimmyJoe:

Ok... like....was the program director at CSS on crack tonite... ??? Hanging on to a 16 point game with less than a minute to play... Cutting to the lady vols with 8 minutes gone in the half....

Brighthouse clicked the game off here in FLA and we saw the whole game. it was ugly but it was a win the FLA-VANDY was a great game and went into overtime and VANDY won.

maxvolfan#217855 writes:

Burdick is developing into a silky smooth player. I love her Swag. Once she developes a nose for the ball and rebounding skills she is going to be awesome. Right now she is learning how to play defense. Something she didn't need much of in HS. I believe she will be our go to player next year along with Simmons and Williams. The future still looks bright folks don't be discouraged! I hear Graves and Jones or very strong post players coming in and we need a big center.
I like the idea of long outlet passes to a open player for a easy layup. They need to practice precision.
We need Kamiko in more frequently.
Spanis role should be to hangout around the perimeter only and shoot 3's when's she's in .
Baugh travels and coughs the ball up too much. Just turn n shoot.
Strick can score when she is comfortable. Take control . She frusetrates me the most because she can score at will but still easygoing. The Vols needs to finish the season with the foot on teams throats letting teams know we are not gonna lose and we still run this conference!! Kenutucky who??

gerryblack writes:

in response to VAvolfanRON:

do you REALLY believe the stuff that comes out our mouth?(or typing)

too funny, SEC teams play the best schedule year in and year out. i think a lady by the name MRS. Summitt had something to do with that.

so, yea....the SEC is miserable...compared to ..um...er....uh..cant think of another conference

Tennessee plays the toughest schedule in the nation most every year and Miss Summitt is solely responsible for that. We would be much better off if that wern't the case this year because the second string coaches aren't up to the task. I would say that the final four will tell us whose conference is the stronger as it does in both mens and womens every year.

gerryblack writes:

in response to jt45:

Burdick is really turning into a sharpshooter, with her size and skillset she will be a top player in the future.

Burdick has a lot of talent but so were many of the Lady Vols last year. I can't think of one single player that has improved over last year other than Johnson who plays her heart out every game. That's where coach Summitt use to be so good until her illness.

butch31 writes:

in response to orangecountyvols:

Butch,

Right on. Actually tied with U K.

The loss to South Carolina is now the big blow
for the Lady Vols. Can they overcome that?

Well,no more losses can be experienced, for sure.

They just HAVE to get away from the turnovers.

It appears are FUNK is over, and Kentucky caught it LOL! I hope we can pull it out and take the SEC tournament as well.
We just need to take care of business. I am estatic that Shekinna is playing better, and Cierra is getting confidence.
But would love to see Vicki & Glory get more touches in the paint.

maxvolfan#217855 writes:

I think we should start getting our guards to slash more to the basket to draw fouls. That will work well for us in the big dance against teams with big scorers down in the post :Griner, Dolson,Chiney,Williams at Duke. Foul trouble with these girls could doom a team. I like our depth. It's just how will we mesh ? I hope the coaches find the right personnel before tourney time. We still are looking after 4 years. I'm no coach but I like for players to play it out until they funk it up. All of this subbing is confusing to me. I like how we come off the bench and contribute which is a strength .
My starting lineup
Strick
Burdick
Glory
Kamiko
Bass

VAvolfanRON writes:

in response to gerryblack:

Tennessee plays the toughest schedule in the nation most every year and Miss Summitt is solely responsible for that. We would be much better off if that wern't the case this year because the second string coaches aren't up to the task. I would say that the final four will tell us whose conference is the stronger as it does in both mens and womens every year.

Gerry, i think i see your poinr,,,
thanks for a rational post

richvol writes:

This team is so frustrating...nineteen turnovers again and 22 points in the first half. They are gonna get slammed in the tourney. Never saw a LadyVol team that was this bad fundamentally.

SummittsCourt writes:

Sitting atop the standings once again! UK still has 2 tough games left on their schedule. UT's schedule should provide 3 wins. So, we'll see who wants it more.

wigmeister writes:

I have said it before. One game at a time. Can't have a major winning streak without winning the next game. Have to have that killer philosophy, all game long. You want to win by 40 all the time. You have that mindset and everything else will fall into place. That goes for every player on the team.

All wins are good!

tnvol4ever writes:

Ahh--Things are getting back to normal. Lady Vols taking the SEC back from Ky. At least a 4 touchdown beating by the Vols when the kitties come to Knoxville in November. And, in only a couple months everyone will again be trying to figure out why Cal can't win the big one with so much talent.

BigHornBuckShot writes:

I am getting bored with the SEC women's games. Might be the weakest this league has ever been. Bring on the NCAA tournament. And I doubt if I will watch the first rounds. Once you get past the top 7 or 8 teams there isn't any good teams anyway. And whoever had Kentucky in the top ten or twenty needs to have their heads examined.

jt45 writes:

I think they must be selling referee licenses at wal-mart this year, Ive never seen so many poorly called games in one season or else they rewrote the rulebook. Whats up with all the charges being called when the defender is moving and in some cases running. Ive always thought the defender had to have their feet set. Last nights game was a prime example of just how bad its getting.

underthehill writes:

Lady Vols are the best SEC team when they give effort like against KY..they come back to the pack when they play like last night..Bass definitely should play more now that the coaching staff understands this team cannot play man defense and Bass is quicker guarding the point full court..Burdick has the highest basketball IQ on the team and is easily among the top 3 players..with consistent effort this team could win the SEC touney and do well in the NCAA..at least in the top 8...

underthehill writes:

in response to jt45:

I think they must be selling referee licenses at wal-mart this year, Ive never seen so many poorly called games in one season or else they rewrote the rulebook. Whats up with all the charges being called when the defender is moving and in some cases running. Ive always thought the defender had to have their feet set. Last nights game was a prime example of just how bad its getting.

The charging call on Simmons was beyond bad..the replay on the Massengale block call showed she had her feet set and it was a charge..

ps11824 writes:

[[[ After Meighan Simmons hit a pull-up jumper inside the first 30 seconds, the Lady Vols missed their next 13 shots. They compounded their wayward shooting with shoddy ball-handling, committing 13 of their 19 turnovers before halftime. ]]]

Can you say UGLY??? Gosh, how inconsistent can we be? We come out liike a ball of fire against the better opponent, then play sloppy, and can't throw the ball in the ocean against the Bulldogs.

I'll take the win and be happy about the W. Seems Miss St. is always an ugly grind. I hate to keep harping on the TOs & terrible shooting. Let me just wish the Lady Vols lots of improvement over the next opponents.

Go Lady Vols.

bigfan865 writes:

Gerry,
You are a piece of work. I am so glad I am not your child or spouse. They must never please you! This second team coaching staff are the same ones who just had them totally ready to play KY. That performance, followed by this one, should show all of us that it's the players who don't always bring it. Do you really think that our coaches just tell them totally different stuff from week to week. No! It's just that some nights the girls take the game plan seriously and some they don't. And some nights shots fall and some they don't.
In addition, it's tough to go from the emotion of playing the #1 team in your conference, at home, with a loud full house, to on the road against a team you know you are superior to, with a pitifully small crowd. These girls aren't robots and emotion and atmosphere plays into games. So does knowing the team has NEVER beaten you. Hard to come out with your toughest mindset.

BxVol writes:

The good was Burdick`s shooting and passing, Kamiko getting closer to her old self offensively,Johnson`s board play and great production from Strickland in the 2nd half.The bad was 19 turnovers, Simmons reverting back to forcing shots, Glory going one on four on a fast break,Spani driving into traffic and getting nothing, and Vicki taking too many dribbles once again close to the basket.I`m not going to say anything was ugly because our Lady Vols got the win, but what frustrates me as I know it does so many other fans is the same mistakes game after game.There were some glimpses of really good team play and for our team to go far it has to increase.If you play as a team you can succeed,that is the only way!

volboy81 writes:

I can count on one hand the number of times I've rooted for Alabama in ANYTHING...but I did last night! Kentucky still has to play Vandy and South Carolina...2 tough wins for them. If the Lady Vols take care of business with Ole Myth, the Piggys and Amanda's Gators, we should win the SEC outright...as it should be! Sloppy game last night, but that happens. When you play bad and still win by 16, you're doing something right!
GO LADY VOLS!!

cdtnladyvols931#663910 writes:

in response to lvols2448:

I just don't understand some of the people who post on this site. One day your bashing the lady vols for not playing a whole game, then they blow out Kentucky and it's nothing but praise. Then one hard fought game and it's back to bashing them again. What do you expect for everybody to lay down and surrender because Tenn is on the court? Every game that was played in the SEC tonight with the exception of Tenn was won by less than 10 points. I for one think the girls played a great game tonight. At least they didn't quit like they have appeared to do earlier in the season when they were not making shots and turning the ball over. They kept up the defense. I agree that they still have some work to do before they can make it to a Final Four, but I still think that they are moving in the right direction.

You tell them! Thats probably all they do is bash somebody! They don't even know when you struggle on offense! You rebound & defense! Every team always gives their best against TN no matter what their record is! The Bashers! probably don't even know the first thing abou B-Ball!!! Go Lady Vols!!!

volfan#207874 writes:

in response to 1volk-nowi-tall:

Yes, it was a very ugly game. The officiating was worse than youth league. Glory is beaten near death every night and no fouls are called. We took it inside numerous times without going to the foul line. Charge on Simmons was horrific. Defender just moved into Simmons to create a block, and ref just BLEW IT. Such poor officiating, I don not know how either team can keep any level of composure. Weak officials call alot of walks. A lot of walks were called tonight. Both teams should have been to the line several times in the first half. Several times players were fouled in the act of shooting and not given foul shots. Poor officiating leads to players sprawled on the floor, underneath the basket with no fouls called. It also leads to having to go to the monitor to see what happened on the floor when you have three officials watching 10 players. That ratio of officials to players should provide much better game conditions. I guess we now need four officials or maybe if we have five officials they could watch two players each and be able to get more calls correctly. Yes we shot terribly but much of what happened on shots around the goal was the result of fouls not being called. Constantly poor officiating really hurts the ladies game. Vandy got an extra 14 seconds in their game against Florida that allowed the Dores to tie the game and take it to overtime. No big deal I guess, just part of the game. You must play with the officials that are given you. Really a sad state of affairs. Oh. Block on Massengale in second half was such a bad call. Ariel actually had been standing there long enought to get a zip code. Underneath official wanted to call a charge but someone in a black and white striped shirt came from God knows where and had to make a block call.

I agree wholeheartedly that this was elementary school officiating. I think that it is time for the SEC to come down on some of these officials and give them a "time out" and sit them down for a few weeks or so, or else conduct an officiating school and be sure that they know the rules. Going to the monitor to decide what happened is absurd! With six eyes witnessing (supposedly watching)what is happening while ten girls are playing a game should be more than enough to call fouls when they are committed and get the right call.
The level of the competition and the officiating created at atmosphere that resulted in a lackluster win for the Lady Vols. I am proud of them and would love to see them go all the way without another loss. Go Ladies, "you da man!"

walt23tn writes:

in response to gerryblack:

Tennessee plays the toughest schedule in the nation most every year and Miss Summitt is solely responsible for that. We would be much better off if that wern't the case this year because the second string coaches aren't up to the task. I would say that the final four will tell us whose conference is the stronger as it does in both mens and womens every year.

Does that mean the Horizon conference is the best in men's basketball? I mean Butler played in back to back title games. By your reasoning, the Horizon league must be one of the toughest in the country.

Allenfan writes:

in response to volfan#207874:

I agree wholeheartedly that this was elementary school officiating. I think that it is time for the SEC to come down on some of these officials and give them a "time out" and sit them down for a few weeks or so, or else conduct an officiating school and be sure that they know the rules. Going to the monitor to decide what happened is absurd! With six eyes witnessing (supposedly watching)what is happening while ten girls are playing a game should be more than enough to call fouls when they are committed and get the right call.
The level of the competition and the officiating created at atmosphere that resulted in a lackluster win for the Lady Vols. I am proud of them and would love to see them go all the way without another loss. Go Ladies, "you da man!"

Sometimes ugly is the only way to play when we continue to have the officils that seem to follow us around. Vanderbilt was some of the worst that I have ever seen, I was there, and some of the calls or should I say the no calls were so obvious. The same thing last night in Nashville, Florida trying to run out the clock and it stopped running along with the shot clock for almost 14 seconds as the girls continued to play with time standing still. It was never addressed by the refs. On the other hand let Glory get a rebound as she did last week, and they are quick to go to the monitor to try and get her out of the game. Vanderbilt hit a shot with no time remaing for the tie and eventual win in OT. My question is at what point do the officials have to take responsibility for their inability to call a basketball game.

rlshepa#259432 writes:

in response to gerryblack:

Only a sick puppy could enjoy this win. How are you feeling?

I am great. Why do you even watch the games? You shouls just sit in your sad sack chair and sulk.

jt45 writes:

I hope they continue to work on their zone defense, it seems to be working out for them much better than the Man to man D wich they get beat off the dribble on so much.
I wish Baugh had some of Glory's toughness under the basket she would be unstoppable.

WelovePat writes:

in response to jt45:

Burdick is really turning into a sharpshooter, with her size and skillset she will be a top player in the future.

I hate to admit it but I think you are right or close to being right.....the first few games she played were were saying....OMG these freshmen are terrible and she was one that was a ball hog and shot all over the place ...but crazy off balance shots....she may have been just trying to prove herself early? She is not settling down and getting into a grove. She made some really nice passes last night too:)

RLL59 writes:

I didn't get a chance to see the game last night. From the comments so far, it appears they mainly played a zone defense, and from the video highlights, it appeared that MS 3 pointers were from well beyond the 3 point line. Did the Lady Vols open up the paint on offense or did they clog the middle, dribble around the perimeter, and try to force the ball into the posts? What caused most of the turnovers?

madrigal writes:

Ugly doesn't matter. W does. All you haters and armchair coaches need to take a seat and shut up. So the Lady Vols are not as good this year as they may have been in the past...it happens. Get over being spoiled babies and recognize that there is parity in the women's basketball world now. Where I am currently living I get to see games from a lot of other conferences besides the SEC and there are a lot more good teams out there than there used to be. Any ranked team can beat any other ranked team on any given day, and the unranked teams will surprise you most days. So UT is not on top of the world and may never be again....or it may. Same for all the other places.

RLL59 writes:

in response to WelovePat:

I hate to admit it but I think you are right or close to being right.....the first few games she played were were saying....OMG these freshmen are terrible and she was one that was a ball hog and shot all over the place ...but crazy off balance shots....she may have been just trying to prove herself early? She is not settling down and getting into a grove. She made some really nice passes last night too:)

She was rated the #1 prospect in the country at her position coming out of high school. While that's not a guarantee, it's as close to it as one can get out of a recruit. She'll be fine.

Fluffydog writes:

I was hoping that either Vanderbilt, South Carolina, or best of all, both, would upset Kentucky. I never dreamed that Alabama could do it. I still hope one or both can do it, and give Tennessee sole possession. The Kentucky-Alabama games proves that you can't take anybody for granted, especially this time of year. Stay focused Lady Vols.

Theo writes:

in response to richvol:

This team is so frustrating...nineteen turnovers again and 22 points in the first half. They are gonna get slammed in the tourney. Never saw a LadyVol team that was this bad fundamentally.

Good grief, what are you doing posting at 3:40 am?
Next, the inconsistence can get frustrating but remember MSU is, I believe, the best defensive team in the conference. Now, we should not have had that many turnovers but we were definitely going to have more than against some of the ol'e
defenses we have seen. Great experience for Ariel.
Love Burdick, she is obviously a freshman and will undoubtedly have a stinky game down the stretch but I love her game and attitude.
Great game for Kamiko - she is another one that can be really good or really bad. I always feel, however, that the coaching staff pulls her too quickly when she starts off with a couple of mistakes. Of course probably need to remember, as Bruce Pearl used to say, "between Pat and myself we have 8 national championships"

Orange_Juiced writes:

in response to lvols2448:

I just don't understand some of the people who post on this site. One day your bashing the lady vols for not playing a whole game, then they blow out Kentucky and it's nothing but praise. Then one hard fought game and it's back to bashing them again. What do you expect for everybody to lay down and surrender because Tenn is on the court? Every game that was played in the SEC tonight with the exception of Tenn was won by less than 10 points. I for one think the girls played a great game tonight. At least they didn't quit like they have appeared to do earlier in the season when they were not making shots and turning the ball over. They kept up the defense. I agree that they still have some work to do before they can make it to a Final Four, but I still think that they are moving in the right direction.

How true...

I have an idea...maybe once science gets that genome thingy figured out...we can conscript some lab out there to build us the perfect LV BB team. That way...in about 18-20 years we won't lose another game since our girls will be perfect...riiight...

In other words...give em a break. They won. They pounded KY on Mon. But they are human and they are going through a tough time with Pat...who I might add wrote the book on WCBB...which means that now Geno and whoever the heck coaches at Stan, ND, and Baylor have read it and are finally catching up. It's becoming more and more competitive now with other teams on the rise. We are still as dominant as anyone...but unlike the superhuman team above might be...we are not perfect.

I say a 59 to whatever win over Ms St is alright. Good job ladies and stay focused. GBO

Theo writes:

in response to RLL59:

I didn't get a chance to see the game last night. From the comments so far, it appears they mainly played a zone defense, and from the video highlights, it appeared that MS 3 pointers were from well beyond the 3 point line. Did the Lady Vols open up the paint on offense or did they clog the middle, dribble around the perimeter, and try to force the ball into the posts? What caused most of the turnovers?

Better basketball brains than mine will answer this but it seemed to me that we had a lot of dribble drive penetration that ended up in turnovers. Spani got in too deep a couple of times and Baugh put the ball on the floor under the basket a couple of times (evidently she is never going to understand that she is the tallest player on the floor most of the time and should just go up). A couple of bad calls on a charge by Simmons, the defender was running beside her? A block by Ariel that really looked like a charge by the MSU gal. A couple of greasy cross court passes - would be picked off by quicker opponent hope we stop that.
A couple of rebounds that we got and then fumbled them out of bounds.
Excellent rebounding night however.

The zone defense worked great. The girls were really communicating and the switching was very good. Not many wide open shots for MSU. Would like to see how this defense works on quicker teams.
Just remember-
Offense is a fleeting tease
Defense is forever

Orange_Juiced writes:

in response to vettefool:

you are correct about this. sec womans bb is only a shadow of its former glory. a bunch of average teams. i suppose the lady vols are the best of a poor lot.

Ever thought about the fact that competition levels are on the rise...and maybe your level of expectation is also greater. Good grief...you can't compare 2012 and the talent pool of today to the 80s and 90s without pitting them team for team and player against player. It's like comparing a granny smith to a florida navel...c'mon man!

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