John Adams: Lady Vols ran out of comebacks

John Adams
Lady Vols forward Cierra Burdick (11) puts up a basket in the first half of the 2013 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament quarterfinals against Louisville at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla., Tuesday, April 2, 2013. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer

Lady Vols forward Cierra Burdick (11) puts up a basket in the first half of the 2013 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament quarterfinals against Louisville at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla., Tuesday, April 2, 2013. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

OKLAHOMA CITY — Tennessee’s comeback was admirable. But it wasn’t memorable.

Comebacks that come up short never are.

The Lady Vols cut a 20-point Louisville lead to three with just more than four minutes to play in the Elite Eight of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament Tuesday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Then, the Schimmel sisters took over for the Cardinals in a 86-78 victory that carried them into the Final Four.

All-Big East guard Shoni Schimmel short-circuited UT’s momentum with a drive to the basket. Her sister, Jude, followed with a 3-pointer before Shoni drove for another basket.

Suddenly, Louisville’s lead was up to 12, and the end of the Oklahoma City regional finale didn’t look much different from the beginning.

The beginning was all-Louisville, which inflicted way too much damage for Tennessee to overcome.

The Cardinals led by as many as 17 points in the first half and quickly extended their lead to 20 in the opening minutes of the second half.

By then, everyone had forgotten about the favor Louisville seemingly had provided the Lady Vols two nights earlier.

When the Cardinals knocked off No. 1 Baylor in the Sweet 16 on the same floor, UT didn’t have to worry about the most dominant team in the sport.

But Tennessee often looked as helpless against Louisville as it has against the Lady Bears for the past three seasons.

Never mind if Louisville didn’t flash its spectacular 3-point shooting (16-for-25 against Baylor). It looked superior against the Lady Vols from the outset.

This time, the Cardinals’ defense was more noteworthy than deadeye shooting. And it was evident right away against a bewildered UT offense, which repeatedly settled for off-the-mark 3-pointers as the game quickly went Louisville’s way.

The Cardinals led 41-26 at the break, and halftime only served to sharpen their 3-point shooting.

They hit a couple of 3s in the first two minutes of the second half as the lead grew to 20 points to the dismay of the small contingent of Tennessee fans.

The game’s one-sided course finally took a UT turn midway through the second half. Improved Tennessee shooting — especially from senior Taber Spani, who had 20 points — and shoddy ball-handling on Louisville’s part left the Lady Vols within striking distance.

But after Meighan Simmons hit a 3 to cut the lead to four with 3:02 left, the Schimmel sisters took back the momentum.

And the Lady Vols didn’t have another comeback in them.

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Comments » 19

pauln500#205995 writes:

What a dumb post !?!?!?!?

td writes:

As a #2 Seed and by reaching the Elite 8, Tennessee lived up to its Tournament expectations. Louisville (#5 seed) exceeded expectations. That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.

OrangePride writes:

Louisville has gotten hot at just the right moment for them. They are playing their best basketball of the year, so congratulations. But just so everyone knows, these Lady Vols left everything they had on that court last night and I couldn't be prouder of what they accomplished this year. We were picked to finish 5th in the SEC and ended up in the Elite 8. Holly did an absolutely outstanding job this year, and with the new recruiting class it looks like we have another great year ahead in 2014! Thanks for te great season. GO VOLS!

voloffaith writes:

in response to RIGHTISBETTERTHANLEFT:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

SILENCEISBETTERANDNOTBEINGTHOUGHTAFOOLTHANTOOPENTHEMOUTHANDSHOWTOBEAFOOL.....you did it again.....you'll be picking another cutesy name to post by here in a day or so...if that long...

On topic, disappointed,but then after being picked 5th in SEC and making Elite 8 I'm proud to be aLady Vol fan.

kazoo writes:

Pathetic performance by UT--embarrassing. Where is the toughness that defined UT women's basketball for 20 years? We don't have it any more. We come out against a team/program that has won NOTHING and panic, and play like a scared high school team? I couldn't watch it. We have experienced talent players who lose their composure in big games--who have lost their composure in EVERY big game over the last two years. We are SO SOFT, mentally and physically. Defensively, we were terrible. We gave up almost 90 points. I'm sure Summitt is shaking her head. Warlick needs to stop being a pal to the players and start cultivating some TOUGHNESS, because we need it badly. UT had a trip to the title game practically gift wrapped--Louisville and Cal?--but the silver lining in this debacle is that we don't have watch the Vols get destroyed by CT. or Notre Dame. So sad to see such a soft Vols team.

murrayvol writes:

in response to kazoo:

Pathetic performance by UT--embarrassing. Where is the toughness that defined UT women's basketball for 20 years? We don't have it any more. We come out against a team/program that has won NOTHING and panic, and play like a scared high school team? I couldn't watch it. We have experienced talent players who lose their composure in big games--who have lost their composure in EVERY big game over the last two years. We are SO SOFT, mentally and physically. Defensively, we were terrible. We gave up almost 90 points. I'm sure Summitt is shaking her head. Warlick needs to stop being a pal to the players and start cultivating some TOUGHNESS, because we need it badly. UT had a trip to the title game practically gift wrapped--Louisville and Cal?--but the silver lining in this debacle is that we don't have watch the Vols get destroyed by CT. or Notre Dame. So sad to see such a soft Vols team.

You should go practice with them sometime....you know, maybe toughen them up a bit.

switcher76 writes:

I had to turn the tv off. I couldn't watch them destroy our girls like that. If they played the first half like they did the second half there wouldn't have been a problem but it's hard after you dig yourself a 20 point hole to get out of. Moore and Phillips should have been put in and see if they could have gotten something going since it was plain to see that none of the rest of the team could. Simmons was a non-factor in the game and once she got frustrated and you can tell when she does she needs to just sit down because all she did was hurt the team by shooting those wild shots when NO ONE was rebounding!!!!!!!! Where was the D last night...oh yeah they must of forgotten what got them there and decided not to use it! Well ladies it's called DEFENSE incase you forgot.

suggest_removal_4_all_troll_posts writes:

Congratulations Lady Vols. It was a good season and their comeback showed a lot of heart. Making the Elite 8 is nothing to sneeze at. The future looks bright.

LaneBrains writes:

Despite the result, the foundation for the future is in place with Holly and team.

The Lady Vols continue to be among the top programs in the country. They were within 3 points and four minutes of reaching the final four this year, even after a terrible start.

Dissapoointed, yes. Proud and optimistic? definately.

OrangePride writes:

in response to murrayvol:

You should go practice with them sometime....you know, maybe toughen them up a bit.

Great advice murrayvol! Almost to a person these people who get on here and talk about low effort, poor desire, lousy coaching, and all manner of other perceived problems could not be the towel-boy in a locker room! They have never been closer to a Division 1 team than a cheap seat at the arena or stadium....if even that! They are the saddest excuses for fans in the universe. Thanks for setting one straight.

murrayvol writes:

in response to OrangePride:

Great advice murrayvol! Almost to a person these people who get on here and talk about low effort, poor desire, lousy coaching, and all manner of other perceived problems could not be the towel-boy in a locker room! They have never been closer to a Division 1 team than a cheap seat at the arena or stadium....if even that! They are the saddest excuses for fans in the universe. Thanks for setting one straight.

Fans (for the most part) are swinging gates. High as a kite on Monday and suicidal on Friday. I'm guilty on occasion.

These kids do the best they can. Sometimes it's not enough.

One1617 writes:

This was a very inspiring performance, and a wasted golden opportunity. Although I got to give it to Louisville for playing so free. They took and made some low percentage shots just like FGCU in the men's tournament.

":Simmons too full of herself. BENCH HER AND MAKE HER AN 8TH WOMAN OR HOPE SHE TRANSFERS.SHE LIKES TO WHINE TOO MUCH. HOW MANY TIMES HAVE THE TV PEOPLE SAID THAT SHE NEEDS TO BE TAKEN OUT AND CALMED DOWN THIS YEAR? not normal"

OrangePride writes:

in response to murrayvol:

Fans (for the most part) are swinging gates. High as a kite on Monday and suicidal on Friday. I'm guilty on occasion.

These kids do the best they can. Sometimes it's not enough.

Some nights (or afternoons) you just run into a team with a hotter hand than you. Not too many undefeated teams out there. And just BTW....if that team was good enough to beat Baylor only a few nights before, that tells us a lot about where there game is right now. Nope, our Lady Vols left it all on the court that night. Proud of em.

golfman1975 writes:

UL beat Baylor on Sunday...so what is the big surprise. There are many things to take from this year including overachieving with the injuries. Very proud!

SummerfieldVol writes:

Folks we can all dance around the reason we lost. We got out coached pure and simple. What ever the reason, players took to many 3 pointers, didn't follow game plan,couldn't get the ball up court. This is the coaches fault. She is the boss,she can play who ever she want call what ever play she wants and if a player does not run the schemes or plays she calls she can take that player out. She is in control or at least suppose to be in charge. She has no excuse.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to One1617:

This was a very inspiring performance, and a wasted golden opportunity. Although I got to give it to Louisville for playing so free. They took and made some low percentage shots just like FGCU in the men's tournament.

":Simmons too full of herself. BENCH HER AND MAKE HER AN 8TH WOMAN OR HOPE SHE TRANSFERS.SHE LIKES TO WHINE TOO MUCH. HOW MANY TIMES HAVE THE TV PEOPLE SAID THAT SHE NEEDS TO BE TAKEN OUT AND CALMED DOWN THIS YEAR? not normal"

I agree strongly with your first paragraph, but considerably less so with your second. UL made some incredible shots last night; they were tossing tennis balls in the ocean from the end of a pier while the LVs looked like they were trying to thread needles on the run.

No question Simmons is occasionally her own worst enemy. She is a "nervy" player; sometimes her nerves produce outstanding performances and sometimes they get in her way. She was much more even in that regard most of this year than she ever was before, so maybe she will be able to control them even better next year.

To me, the LVs' biggest failing last night was going away from the inside game when they got close. Louisville didn't have much size or depth in the post to begin with, and when the LVs got close with about four minutes to go, the ones they had were in deep foul trouble. Although UL made it tough to feed the post and the LV posts got WAY too many shots blocked by smaller defenders, that was still where the LVs had their biggest advantage. But no, they fell in love with the outside shot--panicked, in other words, the same way Georgia did the previous night when they were in a somewhat similar situation--which they hadn't made all night and that was the end of the comeback.

Theo writes:

in response to Johnny_Aint_No_Del_Shofner:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Dooley is gone now Flowers. You can go back into whatever cave you live in.
Coach Warlick, COY SEC, short list for all national COY awards. You're in the minority here notice. Also, she was an AA as opposed to a bench warmer such as yourself.

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to Johnny_Aint_No_Del_Shofner:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Oh boy, here we go again. Dooley blah blah blah, orange pants blah blah blah, Bama Hart blah blah blah, Fulmer Hall of Famer blah blah blah, I'm a UT alum blah blah blah, sunshine pumpers blah blah blah

johnlg00 writes:

I've noticed on most of these basketball articles, men's and women's, that the ones who know the least about the game are the first to blame the coaches for anything that goes wrong. The biggest reason UL won was that they hit shots from every angle and distance, covered or not. The LVs MISSED from every angle and distance, open or not. I really don't see what coaching had to do with either of those things. Oh, sure, some of you armchair internet tough guys would have said, "Well, they should have sat Simmons!" OK, then who was going to do better? Simmons led them all year but we all know she is streaky. When she is on, she is unstoppable, and she has always been type of player who could miss eight in a row and then make eight in a row on the same night. Again, I'm not sure what coaching has to do with that, but then I'm just a former coach, not a phony internet tough guy with all the answers.

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