Shekinna Stricklen, Glory Johnson lead Lady Vols, 68-57

Tennessee's Shekinna Stricklen celebrates after scoring against Vanderbilt in the 2012 SEC Women's Basketball Tournament at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN on Friday, March 2, 2012. Tennessee defeated Vanderbilt 68-57.  

(SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Saul Young, copyright © 2012

Tennessee's Shekinna Stricklen celebrates after scoring against Vanderbilt in the 2012 SEC Women's Basketball Tournament at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN on Friday, March 2, 2012. Tennessee defeated Vanderbilt 68-57. (SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

NASHVILLE — Tennessee’s Cierra Burdick made the best of a bad situation Friday afternoon.

After tumbling to the Bridgestone Arena court, the freshman forward’s first thought was summed up by a plea.

“I was like, ‘Please don’t call a travel. Please don’t call a travel,’ ’’ she said.

From a prone position, Burdick shoveled the ball to teammate Kamiko Williams. Her crosscourt pass found Shekinna Stricklen for a deep 3-pointer.

No matter how bad it looked, getting the ball to Stricklen was a good play for the Lady Vols in the second half of their 68-57 victory over Vanderbilt in the quarterfinals of the SEC women’s basketball tournament.

The senior forward scored all of her game-high 18 points after halftime. The aforementioned trey came from 25 feet and plunged into the basket like a dagger, extending UT’s lead to 64-55 with 3:05 left. The basket inspired a roar from the pro-Tennessee crowd of 8,594.

Other than Stricklen, fellow senior Glory Johnson was a good backup plan with 15 points. While her scoring wasn’t as dramatic, the points were no less important. She scored 11 in the second half.

Together, the two seniors scored the Lady Vols’ final 23 points and ushered them through a dicey final 10 minutes to a spot in the tournament semifinals.

Second-seed Tennessee (22-8) will play No. 6 seed South Carolina (23-8), a 59-55 quarterfinal winner over No. 3 Georgia, in the tournament semifinals today (TV: ESPNU, 6 p.m.).

Meighan Simmons added 11 points for the Lady Vols, who shot 50 percent from the floor (26-for-52) and outrebounded Vanderbilt, 39-31.

Christina Foggie scored 16 points to lead No. 7 seed Vanderbilt (22-9) but the sophomore guard shot just 4-for-16 from the floor.

UT senior Alicia Manning was happy to credit Johnson and Stricklen afterward. She was even happier to call them teammates.

“Having those two,’’ she said. “I’m just glad they’re on my team.”

Tennessee had a lot going for itself at the outset. Its 2-3 zone defense limited Vanderbilt to one field goal for nearly 10 minutes. With Simmons scoring all of her points before halftime, Tennessee surged to a 32-13 lead with 3:44 left in the first half.

“It’s big; it’s spread out,’’ Vanderbilt coach Melanie Balcomb said of UT’s zone. “We just didn’t attack it like we needed to. We didn’t get any second shots because when you don’t get penetration or you don’t get the ball inside, they’ve got everybody in position to rebound.”

Still, the Commodores closed the first half on a 14-3 scoring run.

Halftime seemingly came at a good time for Tennessee. The break was extended to 45 minutes by severe weather in the Nashville area.

“It’s kind of weird,’’ UT associate head coach Holly Warlick said, “because we’ve been in a game called at Ole Miss because of the rain, the lights when out in St. Thomas (U.S. Virgin Islands) so now we have a tornado watch.”

After the break, Vanderbilt pulled to within a point three times in the first 10 minutes.

While the Lady Vols were losing their lead, they also lost freshman point guard Ariel Massengale, who suffered a right thigh contusion. Jenny Moshak, the Lady Vols’ associate athletic director for sports medicine, said that Massengale should be fine for today’s game.

As long as Stricklen was shooting, the Lady Vols still had a shot to survive. And Burdick went to great lengths to help.

No, she didn’t travel after her untimely tumble. But she did suffer a leg contusion.

“I came out with a huge gash on my leg,’’ she said. “But that’s all right. I’ll take the wound.”

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 » 33

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

ESPN 3 dead here, probably knocked out due to the storm etc. But..........losing a 19 point lead down to 1 on numerous occasions, yet standing tall, bouncing back and prevailing.

1/2 of the Vols / Vandy matchups so far.

Now, let's have the guys do the same thing !

Congrats Lady Vols ! Keep on keeping on.

ModelMaker writes:

I was not impressed at all. Lucky Shekinna was hitting or we might not have won. During the delay I watched the tail end of the North Carolina State and Duke game. I was very impressed with that game. Kelly Jolly I thought did a great job at the end of the game. I really liked that last in bounds pass that left one player wide open to end the game. When they interviewed Kelly at the end of the game I couldn't get over how much she sounded like Pat Summitt. I thought she coached like her to.

tombo7 writes:

I still don't think Warlick is the coach we need. Call Nikki Caldwell.

ModelMaker writes:

in response to tombo7:

I still don't think Warlick is the coach we need. Call Nikki Caldwell.

I think Nikki Caldwell is an excellent coach and recruiter.

Volinflan writes:

in response to ModelMaker:

I was not impressed at all. Lucky Shekinna was hitting or we might not have won. During the delay I watched the tail end of the North Carolina State and Duke game. I was very impressed with that game. Kelly Jolly I thought did a great job at the end of the game. I really liked that last in bounds pass that left one player wide open to end the game. When they interviewed Kelly at the end of the game I couldn't get over how much she sounded like Pat Summitt. I thought she coached like her to.

Get used to it. She's going to be our next coach.

tombo7 writes:

Anybody know why the team and individual records have not been updated since 2008 at the official Lady Vols basketball website below? Shanna Zolman is still listed as the career 3-point recordholder. Below is the University website for the Lady Vols. If I were recruiting against us, I would be sure and show recruits that the school apparently forgets players after they leave school. This is embarassing.

http://www.utladyvols.com/sports/w-ba...

airship writes:

in response to ModelMaker:

I think Nikki Caldwell is an excellent coach and recruiter.

AMAN.

oldvoltimer62 writes:

Keep pounding away Lady Vols great win today.GBO!

johnlg00 writes:

Well, it wasn't pretty, but it was a win. The LVs looked awesome for the first 15 minutes, then not AT ALL awesome until about the last five minutes. Great second half by Shekinna after doing NOTHING in the first. Usual strong showing by Glory despite the usual lousy officiating directed against her. Simmons gave a big lift in pushing that big lead but then not much after that. All in all, some bursts of good play by several players but very uneven overall. I'm sure the game delay didn't help their smoothness and even their intensity before they got at least their energy back. It may be that this is the kind of game to expect from them as long as they last in the post-season. That is, they just are NOT going to be dominant from start to finish against decent opponents but they just MIGHT have just enough grit and toughness when they need it to win nevertheless. In other words, they will probably look more like the men's team than a vintage championship LV team. Works for me, as long as it gets them the wins.

RashaadSalabeb writes:

Good job Ladies! Stay hungry and fight your butts off! We want a SEC Tournament Championship.

How bout dem Lady Vols!?

abnerPeabody writes:

in response to ModelMaker:

I was not impressed at all. Lucky Shekinna was hitting or we might not have won. During the delay I watched the tail end of the North Carolina State and Duke game. I was very impressed with that game. Kelly Jolly I thought did a great job at the end of the game. I really liked that last in bounds pass that left one player wide open to end the game. When they interviewed Kelly at the end of the game I couldn't get over how much she sounded like Pat Summitt. I thought she coached like her to.

If you were not impressed with the Lady Vols,continue to watch Kelly Jolly.She is much better to look at than anyone we have.
I prefere to watch the Lady Vols regardless of how they play.
What most people don't understand is there is much more parity now than there was 10 years ago. There are Schools all over the country that are pushing the Ladies games now from kindergarden all the way into the pros.

Being a Vol fan only when you want to be is not being a Vol fan at all.

underthehill writes:

Stricken ..play the whole game like you played the 2nd half and the Lady Vols win this tournament..

movol53 writes:

Would someone please tell me why Stricklen does wake up until the second half? Oh, sorry no one knows that answer. If she would play like that in the first half this team could break the "will" (spirit) of some teams and have them "put away" by the half or early in the second half. Go Lady Vols!!!! If we could just everyone playing together at the same time; instead of one or two seemingly carrying the load this team could be something special.

geraldodell#1377039 writes:

We are not going to far with our point guard situation once again sticking out like a sore thumb. If Masengill doesnt stop dribbling the ball directly into a double team half the time and turning it over, we aint gonna get very far. Bass is too small and too short as she turns it over too much as well. I'd go with Williams at the point and tell the other two, to sit, watch, and learn. Masengill with 3 to's in 13 minutes of playing time would equate to greater than 9 to's in the game if she had played more. She's not a good shooter and not solid at the ft stripe either. With her at the point, we arent going far.

ModelMaker writes:

in response to abnerPeabody:

If you were not impressed with the Lady Vols,continue to watch Kelly Jolly.She is much better to look at than anyone we have.
I prefere to watch the Lady Vols regardless of how they play.
What most people don't understand is there is much more parity now than there was 10 years ago. There are Schools all over the country that are pushing the Ladies games now from kindergarden all the way into the pros.

Being a Vol fan only when you want to be is not being a Vol fan at all.

Just because I was not impressed with how the game went does not mean I am not a Lady Vol fan. I am a season ticket holder and I give to the Tennessee Booster Club every year. I was very impressed with the first 15 min. and I think Vicky Baugh was the one making it go. Baugh did not get the playing time in the second half nor the last five minutes of the first half and thats why Vandy got back in the game in my opinion. I can have an opinion can't I?

underthehill writes:

in response to ModelMaker:

Just because I was not impressed with how the game went does not mean I am not a Lady Vol fan. I am a season ticket holder and I give to the Tennessee Booster Club every year. I was very impressed with the first 15 min. and I think Vicky Baugh was the one making it go. Baugh did not get the playing time in the second half nor the last five minutes of the first half and thats why Vandy got back in the game in my opinion. I can have an opinion can't I?

I respect fans who have opinions as do many other Vol fans..and I certainly respect the right to agree or disagree with what you see..I saw the same as you for the first 15 min. Vandy got the momentum the last five minutes of the first half and Stricken played a fantastic 2nd half to win the game..My opinion of the game coaching and substitutions is a strong indication Holly Warlick is not head coaching material..and I respect the right of anyone to disagree.

wigmeister writes:

A win. Need to keep winning. 2nd place or worse is not an enviable option.

jt45 writes:

Looks like the Lady Vols get a chance for some revenge
as South Carolina just beat Georgia. I hope to see them
do just that. Lady Vols by 15 over the gamechicks tomorrow.

1volk-nowi-tall writes:

Vandy closed the margin at the end of the first half but the reason they cut it completely at the beginning of the second half is that we had 4 turnovers in the first 3 minutes of the second half, two by Manning and two by Bass. We simply turn the ball over way too much. I hope we can quit doing that. Also continuing to allow the ball handler to drive from one side of the court across the top of the key and on to the basket on the opposite side from where she started. There is one other dramatic weakness that continues to haunt us and that is allowing both of the players at the top of the zone to be screened mostly by one opponent and not being able to get back near the shooter who too often has a wide open three point shot. Our coaches have to be aware of this and I just hope that they can convey to our players a real need to make adjustments in those three areas. What a great joy it is to watch the Lady Vols play a game like the one against KY in Knoxville a few weeks ago. GOOOOOO LV's

kazoo writes:

in response to movol53:

Would someone please tell me why Stricklen does wake up until the second half? Oh, sorry no one knows that answer. If she would play like that in the first half this team could break the "will" (spirit) of some teams and have them "put away" by the half or early in the second half. Go Lady Vols!!!! If we could just everyone playing together at the same time; instead of one or two seemingly carrying the load this team could be something special.

There is something a bit off about Stricklen--she almost seems to enjoy doing nothing in the first half and then coming on in the second. She was asked about her tendency to disappear in the first half of games in the post-game press conference, and she said the problem was "low energy"! You know, you can admit to having low energy in one game, but you can't have low energy in the first half of most games.

I want to say that she's got to bring it for the entire game--but she's heard this from the coaches for a couple of years! I don't think she's going to change. Problem is, it's hard to beat notre dame, stanford and ct. when your best player is in a high-energy mode for just a half.

g-man writes:

in response to underthehill:

I respect fans who have opinions as do many other Vol fans..and I certainly respect the right to agree or disagree with what you see..I saw the same as you for the first 15 min. Vandy got the momentum the last five minutes of the first half and Stricken played a fantastic 2nd half to win the game..My opinion of the game coaching and substitutions is a strong indication Holly Warlick is not head coaching material..and I respect the right of anyone to disagree.

spani came in at bout the 6 min left in 1st half mark, lead went from 13 to 19 thanks to simmons then lead was gone by half, 2nd half spani didnt get a minute, everytime spani is on the floor the team lose momentum, coach finally realized 2nd half, bass is a reach too, coaches still dont know who to play - UNBELIEVABLE

wigmeister writes:

Strick says problems in the first half come from low energy. Answer - drink a bottle of 5 hour energy 1/2 hour prior to the game! If needed, have another at the half. Whole season almost over, and I agree that coaches don't have a clue as to a great lineup. I have said it before, turnovers are going to kill us!

plainspeaker1 writes:

I have a bet I would like to place with all you armchair coaches. When(faith in these kids and their COACHES) our lady Vols win this whole thing(SEC Championship), you hypocrites will be back singing their praises. Until then, would you kindly keep your negative comments to yourself. The girls could and possibly do read this so called commentary. As for Shekinna, you have no idea what a respnsibiity that young woman has on her game after game. If any of you think you can do better, I am sure the coaches can find a place for you on the team! I was part of the fanbase in Bridgestone yesterday, and it was very clear our fans cheering our team on made a world of difference. If all you ever hear is how bad you are, you begin to believe it. If you "fans" cannot or will not help, kindly let these players the h##l alone!!! They don't need you poking at them at this time of year.

vettefool writes:

in response to Volinflan:

Get used to it. She's going to be our next coach.

You are probably correct in stating Holly will be our next head coach. This will be just like the North Carolina situation after Dean Smith retired after his successful career. Carolina then hired his longtime assistant Bill Guthridge as head coach. his qualifications were he was a longtime assistant and Dean Smith wanted him to be coach.
Look how that worked out for them. will be same for the lady vols I'm afraid.

crossvoll writes:

It was a fantastic game, they kept Vandy to 27% shooting in the first half, it would have been worse for Vandy than that, had Glory and Shekinna not been on the bench quite a bit of the first half with 2 fouls each. With those two on the bench, that's when Vandy gained their momentum and kept it into the second half. I thought everybody did great, Glory was her usual fantastic self and Shekinna's 3-bombs were absolutely devastating! Meighan was deadly in the first half too! Excellent game, just keep it going, we have a statement to make to South Carolina this afternoon, make sure they hear you!

ModelMaker writes:

in response to g-man:

spani came in at bout the 6 min left in 1st half mark, lead went from 13 to 19 thanks to simmons then lead was gone by half, 2nd half spani didnt get a minute, everytime spani is on the floor the team lose momentum, coach finally realized 2nd half, bass is a reach too, coaches still dont know who to play - UNBELIEVABLE

Yes I think it is Unbelievable. We had a 19 point lead and instead of putting the hammer down the coaches deicided to put the second team in and let Vandy right back in the ballgame at about the 3 and a half minute mark of the first half.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to ModelMaker:

Yes I think it is Unbelievable. We had a 19 point lead and instead of putting the hammer down the coaches deicided to put the second team in and let Vandy right back in the ballgame at about the 3 and a half minute mark of the first half.

They do have a tournament to win, not just one game. The main advantage the LVs have over most of the rest of the conference is superior depth. What possible advantage would the LVs gain by keeping the starters in to blow out Vandy if in doing so they get so tired or injured they don't have enough energy left to win the OTHER two games they have to have to win the championship? Yeah, it almost backfired, but it didn't. Win and advance--that's all that counts at this point and UT should have enough fresh legs to do what has to be done the rest of the way. Work that logic you claim for yourself a little harder.

g-man writes:

in response to plainspeaker1:

I have a bet I would like to place with all you armchair coaches. When(faith in these kids and their COACHES) our lady Vols win this whole thing(SEC Championship), you hypocrites will be back singing their praises. Until then, would you kindly keep your negative comments to yourself. The girls could and possibly do read this so called commentary. As for Shekinna, you have no idea what a respnsibiity that young woman has on her game after game. If any of you think you can do better, I am sure the coaches can find a place for you on the team! I was part of the fanbase in Bridgestone yesterday, and it was very clear our fans cheering our team on made a world of difference. If all you ever hear is how bad you are, you begin to believe it. If you "fans" cannot or will not help, kindly let these players the h##l alone!!! They don't need you poking at them at this time of year.

im sure 99% of the people on this site want the lady vols to do good, but sugarcoating the situation is not going to miraculously make the situation better, a lot of people including myself are just expressing their honest opinion (which i believe everyone should have here in the US) that dont make a person a hypocrite, Pat Summitt is not coaching this team full time, this is obvious, and the assistants are sub-par this is a fact, and lady vol fans are not use to sub-par coaching, i appreciate you and all the other fans that can afford to support the lady vols thru this recession, but it takes more than a lot of cheering to win a national championship, and which i truly believe than can do with the right coaching

g-man writes:

in response to johnlg00:

They do have a tournament to win, not just one game. The main advantage the LVs have over most of the rest of the conference is superior depth. What possible advantage would the LVs gain by keeping the starters in to blow out Vandy if in doing so they get so tired or injured they don't have enough energy left to win the OTHER two games they have to have to win the championship? Yeah, it almost backfired, but it didn't. Win and advance--that's all that counts at this point and UT should have enough fresh legs to do what has to be done the rest of the way. Work that logic you claim for yourself a little harder.

you obviously dont understand anything we are talking about, in the tournament you HAVE to win, there is no tomorrow, you save your legs doing the reg.season

SoddyVol writes:

Playing tough games 3 days in a row requires more depth. I like what the seniors have done so far. It unusual for Bass to turn the ball over much and she is quick. She can really harass many opponents point guards and has shown she can score some. Bass has the greatest attitude, always cheering from the bench when not playing. She is living her dream of playing for Pat. Baugh gives good minutes even while looking a slight bit awkward at times. Manning has her moments but has been somewhat disappointing this year, I expected great play from her. Can't understand what Stricklen's problem hiding at times is with all her talent. Glory isn't perfect, missing some free throws etc. but she sure is a joy to watch play.

charlyand#601962 writes:

in response to ModelMaker:

I think Nikki Caldwell is an excellent coach and recruiter.

Nikki Caldwell is a great recruiter, but Kelly Jolly Harper is the better coach.

charlyand#601962 writes:

in response to plainspeaker1:

I have a bet I would like to place with all you armchair coaches. When(faith in these kids and their COACHES) our lady Vols win this whole thing(SEC Championship), you hypocrites will be back singing their praises. Until then, would you kindly keep your negative comments to yourself. The girls could and possibly do read this so called commentary. As for Shekinna, you have no idea what a respnsibiity that young woman has on her game after game. If any of you think you can do better, I am sure the coaches can find a place for you on the team! I was part of the fanbase in Bridgestone yesterday, and it was very clear our fans cheering our team on made a world of difference. If all you ever hear is how bad you are, you begin to believe it. If you "fans" cannot or will not help, kindly let these players the h##l alone!!! They don't need you poking at them at this time of year.

Good for you!! Go Lady Vols!!!!!

ModelMaker writes:

in response to johnlg00:

They do have a tournament to win, not just one game. The main advantage the LVs have over most of the rest of the conference is superior depth. What possible advantage would the LVs gain by keeping the starters in to blow out Vandy if in doing so they get so tired or injured they don't have enough energy left to win the OTHER two games they have to have to win the championship? Yeah, it almost backfired, but it didn't. Win and advance--that's all that counts at this point and UT should have enough fresh legs to do what has to be done the rest of the way. Work that logic you claim for yourself a little harder.

If they do that again today they are going to lose. If the second team can hold their own against the other teams first team fine. You can run them off the flour; but that second bunch could not do that and it almost got them beat. Also if they do that against the top teams in the nation it will be katie-bar-the-door. You will never beat Baylor playing 11 players.

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