Lady Vols may 'try to go with five or six players' after latest set of injuries

L.G. Patterson/associated press
Tennessee's Kamiko Williams blocks the shot of Missouri's Morgan Eye on Sunday in Columbia, Mo. Williams is listed as day to day after a sprained right ankle suffered in the game.

Photo by L.G. Patterson, AP2013

L.G. Patterson/associated press Tennessee's Kamiko Williams blocks the shot of Missouri's Morgan Eye on Sunday in Columbia, Mo. Williams is listed as day to day after a sprained right ankle suffered in the game.

Holly Warlick reviews the loss at Missouri

BATON ROUGE, La. — Tennessee hadn't left Mizzou Arena on Sunday afternoon before Holly Warlick began the thought process behind rallying the troops.

First, the Lady Vols coach needs to know how many healthy troops she has.

In that respect, she received some encouraging news Monday. Freshman Jasmine Jones, who suffered a right knee injury and had to be helped off the floor with 1:11 left in an 80-63 upset loss at Missouri, is expected to practice today.

Senior Kamiko Williams, who went down three minutes into the second half with a sprained right ankle, is listed as day to day but is making progress, according to a UT release.

The team did not practice Monday. Tennessee (17-5, 8-1 SEC), which has lost two of its past three games, dropped three spots to No. 12 in the Associated Press weekly poll. The Lady Vols next game is Thursday at LSU.

The team already is without Isabelle Harrison (knee) and Andraya Carter (shoulder). And Cierra Burdick has played just two games after missing eight with a fractured right hand.

After Sunday's injuries, Tennessee's lone remaining reserves were Nia Moore and Jasmine Phillips. And they didn't play.

"I just didn't see the time to get them in," Warlick said.

In the wake of Sunday's stunning loss, the Lady Vols' first inclination was to stand up to the circumstances.

"No excuses, just ownership," Burdick tweeted Sunday night. "No problems, just solutions. Back to the grind. Gotta get better."

In the postgame press conference at Missouri, senior Taber Spani sounded defiant about Tennessee's depleted ranks.

"I don't care if we play six people, seven people, five people, it doesn't matter," she said. "You have to be able to overcome that."

Warlick was being glib, more than anything, in saying: "We only need five players."

She couldn't completely ignore the reality of Tennessee's deteriorating situation.

"It has affected us," she said of the injuries. "I thought it affected us today (Sunday) with Izzy Harrison out. It's been difficult."

Harrison, a sophomore center, scored 12 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in the first game against Missouri — an 84-39 Tennessee victory on Jan. 10 in Knoxville.

"It's up to the coaches and myself to figure out what we're going to do to rally this team and get us back on the right track," Warlick said. "… We're going to have to change our coaching philosophy and try to go with five or six players."

Simmons Watching: UT's guard Meighan Simmons was one of eight players Monday named to the watch list for the Wade Trophy. The junior guard leads the team and is second in the conference in scoring, averaging 17.2 points per game.

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Comments » 25

cgbtn writes:

I don't understand the problem with Phillips. I thought she looked great in the minutes she had gotten in the previous game. I was expecting to see her, even before the others started dropping like flies. Must be something the fans don't need to know.

wigmeister writes:

All these players were recruited to play @ TN because they were among the best. Let em all play and prove how good they are, or why did you recruit them?

tonyvick#213307 writes:

Burdick your team doesn't need tweets they need you to lead for real.

frblalack writes:

Jasmine Jones, Bashara, Taber, Cierra & Simmons?(cross your fingers}! Firepower & Rebounding. Of course when Kamiko is healthy she should be on the court FIRST! And sure we miss Izzy, but let's let her get healthy...no need to risk endangering her upcoming sparkling career. JP & NM will get their time on court; just right now we need senior leadership, scoring, and Bashara Graves is destined to become an All-American. She reminds so much of the heart and soul of last year's team, a top five draft pick I believe. Named Glory Johnson!

flatrock writes:

When Kamiko went down, the LVs completely fell apart- yet all Holly could come up with was how bad it was to play without Izzy...The KNS reporters rarely even mention Kamiko- a reflection of Holly's attitude, I am sure... If a reporter with half a brain would check out Kamiko's plus/minus stats, they would be amazed...Her assist-to-turnover stat is one of the most impressive in the SEC...She may be the best rebounding guard in the league...IMHO, she is by far the most effective floor general and post-entry passer on this team...She is a baller and I believe. if the SEC held a draft, she would be no worse than the 3rd Lady Vol taken by the OTHER coaches...Go Vols!

ps11824 writes:

Splain this, A&M is ranked #1 in SEC after defeating LSU last night although we are tied at 8-1. Why are we not tied for top conference? Doesn't have anything to do with overall, 18-5 them; 17-5 us, does it? I heard the commentator say last night that A&M would be in sole passession of top spot... after defeating the Tigers.

What am I missing here?

underthehill writes:

in response to flatrock:

When Kamiko went down, the LVs completely fell apart- yet all Holly could come up with was how bad it was to play without Izzy...The KNS reporters rarely even mention Kamiko- a reflection of Holly's attitude, I am sure... If a reporter with half a brain would check out Kamiko's plus/minus stats, they would be amazed...Her assist-to-turnover stat is one of the most impressive in the SEC...She may be the best rebounding guard in the league...IMHO, she is by far the most effective floor general and post-entry passer on this team...She is a baller and I believe. if the SEC held a draft, she would be no worse than the 3rd Lady Vol taken by the OTHER coaches...Go Vols!

Kamiko is by the best basketball player on this team and the only one with talent to play in the WNBA..it was never more clear to me than in the Notre Dame game ..if you took the score when Kamiko was on the floor..UT may have won..she went in the game and led the rally that got them even and then 4 down at half..as I said then..I could not believe it when she did not start the 2nd half and UT got about 19 down before Miko got back in ..this was the worst display of sorry game coaching I have ever seen..do you think the players don't see this..my experience tells me that the best judge of basketball talent is the players on the team ..not the coaches..who sometimes play favorites..but the players know..it is no wonder they fell apart when Miko was hurt ..she is their leader when she is on the floor ..and the other players know it..

voloffaith writes:

in response to ps11824:

Splain this, A&M is ranked #1 in SEC after defeating LSU last night although we are tied at 8-1. Why are we not tied for top conference? Doesn't have anything to do with overall, 18-5 them; 17-5 us, does it? I heard the commentator say last night that A&M would be in sole passession of top spot... after defeating the Tigers.

What am I missing here?

Did they already play and beat Mizzou? Their only loss at Lexington. So if beat Mizzou they get top by beating common opponent we lost to.

1volk-nowi-tall writes:

Doesn't matter now who is on top. We will play A&M before the season ends and that will be that. Can't continue to play with only 5 players. 6 will be difficult and with those numbers injuries are more likely to appear. Need to stock team with 13 players , I believe ladies basketball teams still get 15 scholarships). With 13 it is possible to give a few more minutes to subs and then have starters fresh for the end of game. Young players continue to believ that they must shoot it when they get it. Play the passing and cutting game. We can't seem to play good defense on the opponents highest scoring player. Career highs for several players this year and other years against UT. Get to the 3-point shooter and defend the lane. It is really simple but seems foreign to recent UT Lady Vol teams. Go Lady Vols!!!!!

r2d2 writes:

"I just didn't see the time to get them in," Warlick said. I hope CHW is saying she believed the LVs could have won the Missouri game. I have a hard time of believing this myself since they lost by 17 points. Is she saying that the LVs cannot win if Moore and Phillips play? I do not understand her logic. Can some one on this message board explain CHW's logic to me?

switcher76 writes:

in response to r2d2:

"I just didn't see the time to get them in," Warlick said. I hope CHW is saying she believed the LVs could have won the Missouri game. I have a hard time of believing this myself since they lost by 17 points. Is she saying that the LVs cannot win if Moore and Phillips play? I do not understand her logic. Can some one on this message board explain CHW's logic to me?

That's exactly what I was thinking!! Didn't see time to get them in...REALLY!! How about when you were down and apparently everyone you had on the floor couldn't throw it in the ocean or defend worth a phooey. How about trying the two on the bench and see if they couldn't get something going. I mean really what was it going to hurt when you are down that much already. They are there for a reason or they wouldn't be wearing a jersey that said "TENNESSEE" on the front!!!!!! The team is dropping people like flies due to injuries. If those two on the bench get a little self confidence under them then they might just be able to play better. With Izzy out we need some more height in the post. Let Moore give it a try and see what happens.

ladyvolsfan789 writes:

in response to ps11824:

Splain this, A&M is ranked #1 in SEC after defeating LSU last night although we are tied at 8-1. Why are we not tied for top conference? Doesn't have anything to do with overall, 18-5 them; 17-5 us, does it? I heard the commentator say last night that A&M would be in sole passession of top spot... after defeating the Tigers.

What am I missing here?

I watched that game too and Pam Ward was doing the commentary and she frequently doesn't know what she's talking about when it comes to women's basketball. Right now A&M and Tennessee are tied for first and while Texas A&M might be first if they were to award the regular season championship right now, there's still a lot of SEC play left to go including the Texas A&M/Tennessee game that could answer any lingering questions about who's the best in the conference.

RLL59 writes:

in response to ladyvolsfan789:

I watched that game too and Pam Ward was doing the commentary and she frequently doesn't know what she's talking about when it comes to women's basketball. Right now A&M and Tennessee are tied for first and while Texas A&M might be first if they were to award the regular season championship right now, there's still a lot of SEC play left to go including the Texas A&M/Tennessee game that could answer any lingering questions about who's the best in the conference.

Don't count GA or KY out of the race. If TN can lose by 17 to a team they previously beat by 45, it's clear that talent alone, or current record, isn't necessarily going to decide the SEC title.

RLL59 writes:

Isn't it ironic that while John Adams writes a column saying TN needs more players on the team, and many fans seem to think the starters are getting too weary late in the game, and wondering why Jasmine P. and Nia don't play more, Coach Holly comments about going with 5 or 6 players? Or am I missing something?

geraldodell#1377039 writes:

As Simmons goes so go the Lady Vols. When she is jacking up so many shots and shooting less than 30% the other players lose focus. She absolutely forces too many shots and we will never be a championship contender with her hogging the ball the way she does. UT will be better without her than with her.

volboy81 writes:

in response to ps11824:

Splain this, A&M is ranked #1 in SEC after defeating LSU last night although we are tied at 8-1. Why are we not tied for top conference? Doesn't have anything to do with overall, 18-5 them; 17-5 us, does it? I heard the commentator say last night that A&M would be in sole passession of top spot... after defeating the Tigers.

What am I missing here?

They did say that....twice, in fact...but finally, the lady announcer (forget her name) came back and said they got ahead of themselves and that Tennessee & Texas A&M would be tied for the conference lead if A&M beat LSU, which they did. That really hurt to lose to a pathetic Missouri team, but we have to bounce back. We have to take care of business with everyone, especially Kentucky and A&M. Focus girls...you can do it!!

r2d2 writes:

in response to switcher76:

That's exactly what I was thinking!! Didn't see time to get them in...REALLY!! How about when you were down and apparently everyone you had on the floor couldn't throw it in the ocean or defend worth a phooey. How about trying the two on the bench and see if they couldn't get something going. I mean really what was it going to hurt when you are down that much already. They are there for a reason or they wouldn't be wearing a jersey that said "TENNESSEE" on the front!!!!!! The team is dropping people like flies due to injuries. If those two on the bench get a little self confidence under them then they might just be able to play better. With Izzy out we need some more height in the post. Let Moore give it a try and see what happens.

Thank you for your comments.

madrigal writes:

DOLLAR_STORE_COWBOY showing his coaching prowess again......

voloffaith writes:

in response to switcher76:

That's exactly what I was thinking!! Didn't see time to get them in...REALLY!! How about when you were down and apparently everyone you had on the floor couldn't throw it in the ocean or defend worth a phooey. How about trying the two on the bench and see if they couldn't get something going. I mean really what was it going to hurt when you are down that much already. They are there for a reason or they wouldn't be wearing a jersey that said "TENNESSEE" on the front!!!!!! The team is dropping people like flies due to injuries. If those two on the bench get a little self confidence under them then they might just be able to play better. With Izzy out we need some more height in the post. Let Moore give it a try and see what happens.

If you have watched Moore is a liability on offense,think wrist in a wrap. Her d is poor even though 6'3". Don't think Coach Warlick felt they could hold the line with her and Phillips in there even for two minute breathers for starters. Not defending Coach here ,but results have been shaky with either one substituting even if our current players weren't getting it done.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to underthehill:

Kamiko is by the best basketball player on this team and the only one with talent to play in the WNBA..it was never more clear to me than in the Notre Dame game ..if you took the score when Kamiko was on the floor..UT may have won..she went in the game and led the rally that got them even and then 4 down at half..as I said then..I could not believe it when she did not start the 2nd half and UT got about 19 down before Miko got back in ..this was the worst display of sorry game coaching I have ever seen..do you think the players don't see this..my experience tells me that the best judge of basketball talent is the players on the team ..not the coaches..who sometimes play favorites..but the players know..it is no wonder they fell apart when Miko was hurt ..she is their leader when she is on the floor ..and the other players know it..

Do you really think Kamiko is the ONLY player on the squad who could play in the WNBA? I agree that Kamiko at her best is a pro-quality talent, but I also think Harrison, Graves, Burdick, and Simmons will get good long looks by the pros when they get done here. Several of the others could play various places overseas, if not at the highest levels.

As for coaches playing favorites, no doubt it happens, but players do the same thing; I've never seen a team that didn't have certain natural small groupings of players, not to say cliques. This isn't necessarily a problem if all of the cliques can agree on what is best for the team. Red Auerbach used to start every Celtics pre-season training camp by saying something like, "There are 12 of you and only one of me. One person has to be in charge. It would be easier for all of you to get together to figure out how to deal with me than it would be for me to have to try to figure out how to deal with each one of you." Kind of an old-school approach, I'll grant you, but it seemed to work pretty well for him.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to 1volk-nowi-tall:

Doesn't matter now who is on top. We will play A&M before the season ends and that will be that. Can't continue to play with only 5 players. 6 will be difficult and with those numbers injuries are more likely to appear. Need to stock team with 13 players , I believe ladies basketball teams still get 15 scholarships). With 13 it is possible to give a few more minutes to subs and then have starters fresh for the end of game. Young players continue to believ that they must shoot it when they get it. Play the passing and cutting game. We can't seem to play good defense on the opponents highest scoring player. Career highs for several players this year and other years against UT. Get to the 3-point shooter and defend the lane. It is really simple but seems foreign to recent UT Lady Vol teams. Go Lady Vols!!!!!

I agree with about the first three-quarters of your post. However, the idea of getting to the 3-point shooters AND defending the lane is easy to state but difficult to accomplish. Those things are all but mutually exclusive. Every basketball game or any other kind of game is matching weak points and strong points. To some extent, you have to pick your poison. True, you have to be able to adjust in the course of the game if your initial strategy isn't working.

All things being equal, it is strategically easier to shut down an inside game than it is a good outside game if only because each defender doesn't have as much ground to cover. Statistically, outside shooters are streaky, but if a team has several players who can shoot a good percentage if left open, then you have to try to have somebody on them. When defenders go all over the court to chase them, it is really hard to also be ready to drop down to pressure the inside game. If the outside shooters are hitting even when you ARE on them as was often the case last Sunday, you are in trouble.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to geraldodell#1377039:

As Simmons goes so go the Lady Vols. When she is jacking up so many shots and shooting less than 30% the other players lose focus. She absolutely forces too many shots and we will never be a championship contender with her hogging the ball the way she does. UT will be better without her than with her.

I'm sorry, but I must STRONGLY disagree that UT would better off without Simmons than with her. She is unquestionably the best on the team at getting her own shot. She is unquestionably the fastest player on the squad with the ball in her hands. Yes, she takes bad shots more often than I would prefer. Yes, she is sometimes out of control. However, for the most part, she has been much better at both of those things than she was her first two years. The old coaching adage is that it is easier to tame a thoroughbred than it is to drive a mule. Meighan is a high-spirited thoroughbred who must be given her head even if she runs wild on occasion. I just wish we had a few more with her kind of energy, though I COULD wish they would have better judgment sometimes.

switcher76 writes:

in response to voloffaith:

If you have watched Moore is a liability on offense,think wrist in a wrap. Her d is poor even though 6'3". Don't think Coach Warlick felt they could hold the line with her and Phillips in there even for two minute breathers for starters. Not defending Coach here ,but results have been shaky with either one substituting even if our current players weren't getting it done.

She couldn't have been more a liability then what was out on the court. They didn't get the job done either or they would have won...just sayin! Give some confidence to someone else and they just might surprise you.

KennyGVolsFan writes:

I think we should at least put JP in. She is long and athletic and has experience that our other players do not. Of course, she has experience at the Junior level but it's more than our frosh have!

She looked really good in the last minutes of our last win! I think if we gave her the opportunity to step-up that she would impress.

The two players that really NEED to step-up are our PG and 2 guard!!!

Massengale's defense is HORRIBLE! She is slow, gets beat off the dribble AND the jump shot! She doesn't seem to put any effort in on defense. I do agree that she does a good job on the offensive end.

Simmons needs to step-up. Her defense has fallen and her offense has gotten worst. She couldn't hit the broad side of a barn in the last two games!! She also drives in so fast that she commits unforced turnovers. She then tries to do to much to correct what she has done wrong. She is a very good capable player but needs to slow down.

JJ is a great player! I just can't stand those passes to the post that are over shot and always goes out of bounds. I understand what she is doing, she's putting to much power behind it.

It's hard to say that Graves needs to step up considering she is our only post. She is doing what she can against the double teams and her size doesn't help. I don't disagree that she should be getting those layups, she has a lot on her being the only post.

Taber needs to learn to take the three!! She was recruited because of her shot making abilities and always passes up the open three for a step-in jump shot that she consistently misses. She is a great player with good range. TAKE THE OPEN SHOT!! You were recruited to SHOOT THE THREE!!!

Williams has been very impressive these last few games. I hate to say it but I think we would have won that game had she not gotten injured. I don't understand why she isn't a starter. She is a very capable player and has been very impressive.

I know these ladies can rebound and I know they are capable of winning out. They need to step into their roles and play the game they know they can play!!

My honest opinion of these players. They are all capable. They just have to step up and play their role and do what they are capable of doing!!

Defense and Rebounding wins games. We sucked at both the last time out!! Come on ladies we believe in you!!

r2d2 writes:

in response to KennyGVolsFan:

I think we should at least put JP in. She is long and athletic and has experience that our other players do not. Of course, she has experience at the Junior level but it's more than our frosh have!

She looked really good in the last minutes of our last win! I think if we gave her the opportunity to step-up that she would impress.

The two players that really NEED to step-up are our PG and 2 guard!!!

Massengale's defense is HORRIBLE! She is slow, gets beat off the dribble AND the jump shot! She doesn't seem to put any effort in on defense. I do agree that she does a good job on the offensive end.

Simmons needs to step-up. Her defense has fallen and her offense has gotten worst. She couldn't hit the broad side of a barn in the last two games!! She also drives in so fast that she commits unforced turnovers. She then tries to do to much to correct what she has done wrong. She is a very good capable player but needs to slow down.

JJ is a great player! I just can't stand those passes to the post that are over shot and always goes out of bounds. I understand what she is doing, she's putting to much power behind it.

It's hard to say that Graves needs to step up considering she is our only post. She is doing what she can against the double teams and her size doesn't help. I don't disagree that she should be getting those layups, she has a lot on her being the only post.

Taber needs to learn to take the three!! She was recruited because of her shot making abilities and always passes up the open three for a step-in jump shot that she consistently misses. She is a great player with good range. TAKE THE OPEN SHOT!! You were recruited to SHOOT THE THREE!!!

Williams has been very impressive these last few games. I hate to say it but I think we would have won that game had she not gotten injured. I don't understand why she isn't a starter. She is a very capable player and has been very impressive.

I know these ladies can rebound and I know they are capable of winning out. They need to step into their roles and play the game they know they can play!!

My honest opinion of these players. They are all capable. They just have to step up and play their role and do what they are capable of doing!!

Defense and Rebounding wins games. We sucked at both the last time out!! Come on ladies we believe in you!!

I agree with all of your comments especially the comment about JJ being a great player (in the making). She is deadly accurate with her 10-15 foot jumper.

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