Lady Vols bounce back, beat Georgia Tech 71-54

Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics
Tennessee's Taber Spani, left, and Andraya Carter, back, fight for a loose ball against Georgia Tech's Jasmine Blain during Sunday's game in Atlanta.

Photo by Danny Karnik, Danny Karnik

Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics Tennessee's Taber Spani, left, and Andraya Carter, back, fight for a loose ball against Georgia Tech's Jasmine Blain during Sunday's game in Atlanta.

Lady Vols players talk about beating Ga. Tech

ATLANTA — Some time between a misspent Friday night and Sunday afternoon, Tennessee hit the reset button on its play.

Judging by their 71-54 women’s basketball victory over Georgia Tech, the Lady Vols really punched it.

“Like night and day,” forward Cierra Burdick said.

No. 20 Tennessee (1-1) played with more vigor than it showed during a 80-71 loss at Chattanooga two days earlier, building a 15-point halftime lead and leading by as many as 24 points down the stretch by tapping into what Burdick quantified as “butt-loads of energy.”

Likewise, the Lady Vols’ collective attitude was improved enough to withstand Georgia Tech’s 13-point scoring run to start the second half.

The victory, before a crowd of 5,517 at McCamish Pavilion, was the first for Tennessee first-year coach Holly Warlick. She smiled in the interview room afterward, spread her arms wide and said, “it feels awesome.”

In her first career start, freshman forward Bashaara Graves led UT with a double-double, scoring 18 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. She also had four steals.

Burdick, who scored just four points on Friday, made her first six shots and finished with 16 points. She and Meighan Simmons combined for UT’s five 3-pointers

Point guard Ariel Massengale was a calming influence off the bench with nine points and four assists.

Tyaunna Marshall led No. 22 Georgia Tech (0-1) with 18 points, but the Yellow Jackets shot 33.3 percent from the floor (21 for 63) and committed 20 turnovers.

“They came out and punched us and we didn’t punch back,” Georgia Tech coach MaChelle Joseph said. “That’s what happened and then they got us on our heels and we never recovered from that.”

The Lady Vols struck their first blows with baskets. Instead of missing five of their first six shots, as they did on Friday, they hit three consecutive 3-pointers within the first four minutes.

“You come out and hit buckets and it makes the game a lot easier,’’ Burdick said. “The game flows a lot smoother when the ball is going through the hole.”

There was nothing easy about Graves’ performance. She set up shop near the basket like a blacksmith, pounding the offensive boards for four putback baskets in the first half in helping Tennessee built a 45-30 lead.

Warlick referred to Graves as “a little bit of a throwback.” Burdick was more graphic in describing the 6-foot-2 forward.

“She’s a beast,” Burdick said. “That’s the only way to put it.”

Warlick aided her team’s effort by utilizing a zone defense for the majority of the game. Unlike Friday, when the strategy was a concession to UT’s defensive struggles, Sunday’s deployment was intended to minimize the threat of Georgia Tech’s athleticism.

The Yellow Jackets’ drives into the defense produced more turnovers than baskets and they shot 19 percent on (4 for 21) on 3-pointers.

All that was left was for the Lady Vols to withstand was Tech’s charge out of the locker room at halftime, which whittled their lead to 45-43. The Lady Vols hurt themselves by committing four of their 17 turnovers during that span. But they responded with an 18-point scoring run of their own.

The outcome was a source of relief for the players. Burdick said that one of the hardest things she had to do was slide into a seat on the team bus next to Warlick and apologize for Friday.

“We didn’t make her look like a good coach on Friday,” freshman point guard Andraya Carter said. “Tonight I thought we made her look like she deserved the job.”

Warlick took a phone call before the game from head coach emeritus Pat Summitt, who didn’t attend the game. Warlick said the absence was planned due to Summitt’s schedule. Athletic director Dave Hart also called, offering encouragement.

Once the game began, the players answered with their play.

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Comments » 39

monstermd writes:

Balance has been restored. Nice adjustments Coach Warlick. And congratulations on your fist win as Lady Vols Head Coach

vols_fan_n_tx writes:

That's more like it!

voloffaith writes:

Nice rebound after the Moccasin fiasco.........

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

The point could be made that scheduling to tough road games to open the season was a dumb move..Especially after losing their HOF coach to retirement..GBO!!

voloffaith writes:

in response to monstermd:

Balance has been restored. Nice adjustments Coach Warlick. And congratulations on your fist win as Lady Vols Head Coach

Ah the proverbial "Fist win".............two games in we will watch to see if balance restored. Tech was ranked and a good team in their new home...so good restart to season....

ps11824 writes:

Yes, Lady Vols, enjoy this taste of winning today, and don't ever settle for less than your very best game, 40-minute-game. Ever.

Congrats, Holly. One game at a time, build your own legacy. Get these girls a shot doctor too.

movol53 writes:

Just remember Pat lost her first one and things turned out "pretty good". GO LADY VOLS!!! One game at a time - - the only way to play any sport.

vol98champ writes:

It looks like Holly learned something in the first game. Slow players are best in a zone and the most reliable players on the team should play the most minutes.

reg_mza#219136 writes:

Congrats ladies! You blitzed them on their home court the way you were blitzed on the road at UTC. This time you didn't hold your head down, you didn't buckle, you may have rocked a bit, but you came back swinging and believed in each other. I watched on ESPN3 and could definitely tell they knew they "could do this" after a while which is sooo important for a young bunch.

My hat goes off to Graves, she's a beast like Glory was her freshman year. I hope she continues to improve and get better and hopefully the freshman wall won't be too hard on her.

If we can just handle the ball and get it to half court, we can do a lot of things positive. I think the handling of the ball will be the biggest question all year. That and who will take the big shot.

SummittsCourt writes:

Congrates Coach Warlick! Good bounce back win!

tonyvick#213307 writes:

Spani, Williams where's the leadership? You two are leaving these young girls out there to fend for themselves. They need you.

johnlg00 writes:

It says a lot for Holly and the team that they could make such a strong showing so soon after laying that egg in Chattanooga. GT is arguably a better team than the Mocs, though we may not really know that until much later in the season. With such a young team, the short turnaround time between games might have been a blessing. It could be that if they had gone home for a week with no games, their attitudes might have soured if the coaches were overly hard on them in practice. I know some coaches might have been tempted to run their guts out after a showing like last Friday's, when it may be that all they needed was a chance to catch a quick breath and then go right out to prove that Friday was an aberration.

volfan2002 writes:

23 rebounds by the two freshmen Graves and Jones. The rest of the team had 25. Graves also had four steals she really get her hands on a lot of inside passes.

ModelMaker writes:

Great job ladies. Truly a great win. You made my day.

ladyvolsfan789 writes:

in response to tonyvick#213307:

Spani, Williams where's the leadership? You two are leaving these young girls out there to fend for themselves. They need you.

I think I heard that Spani bumped her wrist during the game and the coaches didn't play her much afterwards. I was watching the ESPN3 stream though, and even when she was on the bench she was standing and giving encouragement to whoever was on the floor.

PureOrange writes:

Way to go, Lady Vols!

These freshmen are looking good.

Don't look back, and don't let up.

Theo writes:

Congrats to the Lady Vols and coaches. An excellent win over a top 25 team with returning all ACC players who were christening their new building.
I feel great about these kids. They will be making some noise by the time of the SEC tournament and NCAAs.
BTW - where are all of the naysayers now? I guess Holly got a lot better in 36 hours.

HazardKYVol writes:

in response to monstermd:

Balance has been restored. Nice adjustments Coach Warlick. And congratulations on your fist win as Lady Vols Head Coach

Only 1098 more wins to pass Pat. Hope you make it.

jt45 writes:

Keep it up Ladies, you just might make to the big dance. Good job Holly getting these young ladies prepared so fast after fridays game.

butch31 writes:

UT Lady Vols deserved this road win...we were nervous against Chattanooga...JUST THROW THAT GAME OUT. I hope Chattanooga makes the NCAA's and UT gets them 1st round Hehehehehe. I'm surprised the seniors are playing poorly. If I'm a senior I'm going out with a bang! The freshmen are playing like seniors. Cierra Burdick really stepped up today, I would like to see her take more shots tho. Ariel and Draya looked real good together. Bashaara was a beast as usual, I wouldn't expect anything less. Good win, and hopefully, we can keep this momentum going.

SoddyVol writes:

in response to HazardKYVol:

Only 1098 more wins to pass Pat. Hope you make it.

Count the wins as assistant at Tenn. and she will easily make it and fairly soon.

Theo writes:

For all of those predicting a slide by the Lady Vols I did a little research -
Class of 2011 - ranking #1
Class of 2012 - ranking #5
Class of 2013 - estimated ranking #1-#3
As I said before, the future is so bright it makes my eyes hurt.
Go Lady Vols!

underthehill writes:

in response to butch31:

UT Lady Vols deserved this road win...we were nervous against Chattanooga...JUST THROW THAT GAME OUT. I hope Chattanooga makes the NCAA's and UT gets them 1st round Hehehehehe. I'm surprised the seniors are playing poorly. If I'm a senior I'm going out with a bang! The freshmen are playing like seniors. Cierra Burdick really stepped up today, I would like to see her take more shots tho. Ariel and Draya looked real good together. Bashaara was a beast as usual, I wouldn't expect anything less. Good win, and hopefully, we can keep this momentum going.

I thought Burdick was the best consistent shooter on the team last year and couldn't believe the Chattanooga box score of how few shots she had..not near enough..glad to see it didn't happen this game...

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to voloffaith:

Nice rebound after the Moccasin fiasco.........

"fiasco"???lol The Mocs outplayed the LVs period. First of many wins for the LMs this year. GT was the first of many I hope for Warlick and the LVs too.

BTW the Mocs would stomp GT also.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to butch31:

UT Lady Vols deserved this road win...we were nervous against Chattanooga...JUST THROW THAT GAME OUT. I hope Chattanooga makes the NCAA's and UT gets them 1st round Hehehehehe. I'm surprised the seniors are playing poorly. If I'm a senior I'm going out with a bang! The freshmen are playing like seniors. Cierra Burdick really stepped up today, I would like to see her take more shots tho. Ariel and Draya looked real good together. Bashaara was a beast as usual, I wouldn't expect anything less. Good win, and hopefully, we can keep this momentum going.

hmmmm. This year I am gonna have to pull for the Lady Mocs. It may be their only chance to ever beat the Vols in the NCAAs. Wow twice when we get to the Tourney. I'd love tho see the Mocs and Vols in the finals.lmao With a Mocs win there.
I get the feeling that the LVs will be in plenty of finals the next few years.

This year I'll be happy if both UT and UTC make the tourney. I think so. Gonna be fun to watch this year for men's and ladies. Men's Mocs????? Who knows.

maxvolfan#217855 writes:

Great game great visiting fan support. There was Orange everywhere and we showed today that we love our lady Vols. The only other team men or women that follows there team more is Cowboy fans and Kentucky men's bball. Anyway great fan support and the one that got aways parents were in attendance to look at their daughters future team. She will definitely be the star of that team , but will have a tough time of it with Duke and UNC and Ohh we play them again next year at home I believe with our #1 recruit. Love Graves she is playing beyond her years. Harrison is playing well . We are fine.

maxvolfan#217855 writes:

Bashaara Graves could be on the All Freshmen team by the end if the year. If she continues to dominate Frosh of the Year!

ps11824 writes:

HARD WORK & “butt-loads of energy” = Wins. Wins feel good right now.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to johnlg00:

It says a lot for Holly and the team that they could make such a strong showing so soon after laying that egg in Chattanooga. GT is arguably a better team than the Mocs, though we may not really know that until much later in the season. With such a young team, the short turnaround time between games might have been a blessing. It could be that if they had gone home for a week with no games, their attitudes might have soured if the coaches were overly hard on them in practice. I know some coaches might have been tempted to run their guts out after a showing like last Friday's, when it may be that all they needed was a chance to catch a quick breath and then go right out to prove that Friday was an aberration.

Hogwash. Baloney. junk.

Seriously. the Lady Mocs were better than the Lvols Friday. Look at the score. LVs outdefended AND outscored. Now as to the Lady Yellow Jackets?? I'm gonna have to look it up but I think UTC beat them last year. At least that's my story.
Aberration? ABERRATION!!! Well I guess since we(mocs) haven't won since a long long time(1973). I think it was Sharon Cable Fanning(?) that beat the LVs then.
That's off the top of my head. Sharon may have come a little after?

Anyhow I'm HOPING for good things this year out of the LMs...even though I suspect UT has the better talent overall.

proudveteran writes:

The loss at Chattanooga may be the best thing that could have happened to the Lady Vols, especially this early in the season. It bought some "egos" to reality, showed what lack of defense can do to any team, showed what can happen with turn overs and team effort resulting in a "reality" down to earth unexpected crash. Now go get the PG out of Arkansas to complete a full class of recruits.

Volinflan writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

"fiasco"???lol The Mocs outplayed the LVs period. First of many wins for the LMs this year. GT was the first of many I hope for Warlick and the LVs too.

BTW the Mocs would stomp GT also.

OK - I'll toss in my two cents worth. Rankings ... Lady Mocs 20, Lady Vols 22, Lady Jackettes (what do they call them) - somewhere above 30.

PeytonWM18 writes:

Congrsts, Holly! This was a great comeback from Friday night's unfortunate outcome.

Have we found a star in Graves? How impressive is her game?

Burdick needs to take over this team and become the leader. Our seniors are backup support at best. It's time for a sophomore to lead this team into a bright future.

Great game. Go Lady Vols!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to Volinflan:

OK - I'll toss in my two cents worth. Rankings ... Lady Mocs 20, Lady Vols 22, Lady Jackettes (what do they call them) - somewhere above 30.

Thanks for the support.hehe I'm gonna need it if I keep sayin' the mocs are better. I'm not certain I believe it myself. Yet.

budd#207344 writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

The point could be made that scheduling to tough road games to open the season was a dumb move..Especially after losing their HOF coach to retirement..GBO!!

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. That's what these games did.

madrigal writes:

Lady Vols have scheduled tough openers for as long as I can remember. I don't see any reason for that to change. It toughens the team up for SEC play. Glad to see they turned around....seemingly on a dime.....between Friday and Monday. I thought they had it in them! Also there is a possibility that UTC is better than anyone expected. They've been on the bubble for awhile now, as has Middle Tennessee. Don't discount that! Anyhow, WTG Lady Vols!

Volinflan writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

Thanks for the support.hehe I'm gonna need it if I keep sayin' the mocs are better. I'm not certain I believe it myself. Yet.

They (the Lady Mocs) were better Friday night but lets not get carried away. The Lady Vols will likely win the next 20.

Maybe we'll get to see a rematch in Knoxville. Doesn't UT host early round games in the Tournament? It would be fun to see the Lady Mocs and Lady Vols rematched. It would draw about 15,000 fans also. Good for the old war chest.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

Hogwash. Baloney. junk.

Seriously. the Lady Mocs were better than the Lvols Friday. Look at the score. LVs outdefended AND outscored. Now as to the Lady Yellow Jackets?? I'm gonna have to look it up but I think UTC beat them last year. At least that's my story.
Aberration? ABERRATION!!! Well I guess since we(mocs) haven't won since a long long time(1973). I think it was Sharon Cable Fanning(?) that beat the LVs then.
That's off the top of my head. Sharon may have come a little after?

Anyhow I'm HOPING for good things this year out of the LMs...even though I suspect UT has the better talent overall.

Sorry, Moc! I didn't mean to put your gals down; they were CLEARLY the better team that night. My post was informed by the ancient coach's belief that, for his/her team, the only that he or she can control is how his/her team plays, not how the other team plays. UTC played well but the LVs didn't match them. Of the LVs 25 or so turnovers, how many of them were steals and how many were simply due to sloppy ball-handling? I didn't see the game, only heard bits and pieces on the radio. I'm sure UTC played good defense, but the LVs missed a boatload of open shots.

I hope the Lady Mocs have a great season. I pull for every team in the state except Memphis and Vandy. I don't know which team would win more if they played 10 times, but it was obvious that UTC outplayed the LVs THAT night, and all praise to them for that.

johnlg00 writes:

PS, Moc: I didn't mean that the Lady Mocs' play was an aberration, I meant that the LVs play was. Though you DID say that UTC hadn't beaten the LVs but maybe once before in forever. I hope the LMs' play last Friday was TYPICAL of how their season goes. I just think the LVs are and will be better than they showed last Friday.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to johnlg00:

PS, Moc: I didn't mean that the Lady Mocs' play was an aberration, I meant that the LVs play was. Though you DID say that UTC hadn't beaten the LVs but maybe once before in forever. I hope the LMs' play last Friday was TYPICAL of how their season goes. I just think the LVs are and will be better than they showed last Friday.

No problem John as I was "tongue in cheek' mostly. It actually was an aberration and I realize that LVs probably have the better talent long run. It was a little bit fun in a twisted sort of way for me. I think that Moore(who is probably as good a coach as is out there) caught the LVs early and unprepared for a team like the LMs. Who knows at this point what a second meeting would be like. I can say that I can be for either team. I was a UT fan before going to UTC after all. UTC was just where I had the money. UT is who I've been a fan of for years (except the 4-6 years associated with UTC). So I'm seriously a little torn. I will pull for who ever has the best chance at a NC. Usually that would be UT. I will again say that it was satisfying(a little bit) to see the smaller school win.

PS I had a UT KNOX football mug shaped like a football in my college apartment.lol I didn't show it to many but I knew they all mostly pulled for UT. Back then UTC was Div II and even though we played in and won a bowl game my senior year we weren't in UT's league many times throughout the years. Maybe some in men's basketball. Maybe.

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