John Adams: Lady Vols do enough on offensive to alleviate defensive lapses

John Adams
Vanderbilt's Jasmine Lister tries to keep her balance after getting past Tennessee's Jasmine Jones at Thompson-Boling Arena on Sunday, February 17, 2013. Tennessee defeated Vanderbilt 83-64. 
  
 (Saul Young/News Sentinel)

Photo by Saul Young, 2013 Knoxville News Sentinel

Vanderbilt's Jasmine Lister tries to keep her balance after getting past Tennessee's Jasmine Jones at Thompson-Boling Arena on Sunday, February 17, 2013. Tennessee defeated Vanderbilt 83-64. (Saul Young/News Sentinel)

Tennessee appeared set up for a follow-up.

A day after the UT men delivered their best performance of the season in blitzing Kentucky by 30 points, another rout was building Sunday evening at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Supposedly well rested after a week off, the Lady Vols breezed to a 14-5 lead in the first five minutes against Vanderbilt, whose lineup was almost unrecognizable at times because of injuries.

But don't let the final 83-64 score in UT's favor fool you. The game didn't match the start for Tennessee, mainly because its defense didn't match its offense.

Little seems to affect the Lady Vols offensively. Rested or fatigued, they usually can score.

Defense is a different matter, as you might remember from an 80-63 loss to Missouri two weeks earlier, or the career-high, 33-point game that Notre Dame's Skylar Diggins dropped on UT the week before that.

If that's not enough evidence, check out Vanderbilt junior guard Jasmine Lister, who too often wasn't checked at all by the Lady Vols.

Lister matched her career high in points with 24. She hit 5-of-11 3-point attempts and was just as adroit driving to the basket against a forgetful defense.

She made it sound as easy as it looked.

"As long as I went slow and read the defense, I could get whatever I wanted," Lister said.

No argument here.

Lister just didn't have enough help. Otherwise, the game might not have gotten out of hand.

Leading by 10 with 5:06 to play, Tennessee outscored injury-strapped Vanderbilt 13-4 down the stretch.

Already deprived of three injured starters, Vanderbilt lost a fourth at halftime when forward Tiffany Clarke became ill. She didn't play in the second half.

Clarke's sudden illness left the Commodores without three of their top four scorers in the second half.

Relying heavily on four freshman, they still had success running coach Melanie Balcomb's pass-oriented offense. They had five layups in the first 12 minutes of the second half during which they shot 50 percent.

"They're difficult to play because they penetrate and shoot the 3," UT coach Holly Warlick said.

She wasn't crediting Vanderbilt's second-half shooting solely to its offensive expertise.

"Defensively, we keep saying we've got to get better," Warlick said. "We've got to be more consistent."

She doesn't cite lack of effort as the problem, nor does she attribute it to a lack of commitment or education.

And in the week between games, defense was stressed repeatedly in practice.

"They know what to do," Warlick said. "They've been taught what to do.

At some point, they have a lapse."

Sunday's lapses often involved leaving the floor. A Commodore would fake a shot and up a Lady Vol would go. A clear shot followed.

Whatever Tennessee gave up defensively, it more than got back at the other end. Six of the eight UT players who scored made at least half of their field-goal attempts.

As good as the Lady Vols are offensively, Warlick isn't oblivious to the danger of an off game.

"There's going to come a time when the ball isn't falling," she said. "Then, your defense and rebounding have to be solid."

The defense was anything but solid against the Commodores.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj//twitter.com/johnadamskns.

© 2013 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 19

voloffaith writes:

Accurate and fair and balanced. Fox news would be proud that this one had no usual negative slant. Fisrt place by the hair of MY chinny chin chin. Who gets the W tonight between kittenettes and aggieettes?

creekroad writes:

Mr. Negative

voloffaith writes:

in response to voloffaith:

Accurate and fair and balanced. Fox news would be proud that this one had no usual negative slant. Fisrt place by the hair of MY chinny chin chin. Who gets the W tonight between kittenettes and aggieettes?

What is "Fisrt place"? Did ewe mean First....yes...ok

richvol writes:

Lister is so much better than Massingale in scoring and especially ballhandling. She would make our team great.

voloffaith writes:

in response to richvol:

Lister is so much better than Massingale in scoring and especially ballhandling. She would make our team great.

Is she considering transferring?

GR82BTNVOL writes:

Constructive criticism never hurts--someone on the Lady Vols staff should relay these points of improvements to the players (and the coaches). As they do every year, UCONN, ND, Stanford all exploit these flaws over and over. Until you clean up the lapses in defense which makes offensive superheroes out of average opponents, the lazy cross court passes with 2 defenders laying in wait, the 15 times a game our point guard throws the ball out of bounds with low entry passes under the goal, and avoid the traps which can be seen coming from a mile away this team will never be in the championship run.

Don't get me wrong, love Lady Vols basketball and believe they will always field way above average teams under Holly but Pat would have given the offending player the steely eye and a good talking too as they headed to the bench for being so careless. On the other hand, Pat defended her players on every play by riding the refs for poor calls. Unfortunately I haven't seen this much from Holly. I would like for her to learn something from coach CM who after coming to Stokes defense has seen his team take off astronomically because coach has my back. Holly had her chance yesterday when Burdick threw up her hands in disgust after her 3rd touch foul. With this type of support players don't feel like they are on an island alone when plays aren't going their way. When someone steps in on their behalf and pleads their case-whether right or wrong players play with more confidence.

Holly and the Lady Vols are still the best (tons of improvement from the last couple of years) but you have to listen to and act upon constructive criticism to get better.

maxvolfan#217855 writes:

Well just checked out Charlie Creme bracketology and I most say I like the bracket our girls are in. They have us in the same bracket with ND with Duke being a #2 seed . A lot of teams we've seen and beat before . The bad thing is if we do make it to the final four , we get Baylor as a reward.

GR82BTNVOL writes:

I think our LVols are better than in our last meetings with Baylor. Maybe one last crack at her we could break through and post a W like the men did with the Cats.

golfman1975 writes:

I thought the Lady Vols won...what was the spread on the game?

madrigal writes:

John Adams knows offense from defense?

Sometimes you end up letting one player score a lot while you are shutting down the rest of them.

voloffaith writes:

in response to GR82BTNVOL:

I think our LVols are better than in our last meetings with Baylor. Maybe one last crack at her we could break through and post a W like the men did with the Cats.

You're thinking with Ms. Harrison or without? I don't see us beating bearettes(if we get that far) if guard on guard play doesn't clean up. The inside garbage we get away with on many would not happen with miss BG. Have to get her away from post to have a balanced game attack and success...oops way ahead of ourselves....I don't think we get past second round unless above mentioned problems don't get cleaned up. Defense and rebounding win championships combined with smart offensive play.

GR82BTNVOL writes:

in response to voloffaith:

You're thinking with Ms. Harrison or without? I don't see us beating bearettes(if we get that far) if guard on guard play doesn't clean up. The inside garbage we get away with on many would not happen with miss BG. Have to get her away from post to have a balanced game attack and success...oops way ahead of ourselves....I don't think we get past second round unless above mentioned problems don't get cleaned up. Defense and rebounding win championships combined with smart offensive play.

LOL--good points!

richvol writes:

There is no way this team could beat Baylor,Stanford,UConn or Notre Dame. They don't defend well and they are too sloppy with the ball.

I love the LadyVols but it's been since Marciniak that we played like a machine...Like UConn plays every year.I don't know where the coaching is lacking but it's definately lacking.

GR82BTNVOL writes:

in response to richvol:

There is no way this team could beat Baylor,Stanford,UConn or Notre Dame. They don't defend well and they are too sloppy with the ball.

I love the LadyVols but it's been since Marciniak that we played like a machine...Like UConn plays every year.I don't know where the coaching is lacking but it's definately lacking.

There's no way the men beat the Cats by 30. There's no way our football team comes from way behind at ND.

GR82BTNVOL writes:

Can't believe there is only 4 regular season games left.

tovolny writes:

Please copy and save this article. File it under "Misinformed Sportswriters." Please place a note that no direct player action or actual plays were written to reinforced the assessments made. Cross-reverence this to cases where sportswriters write SOMETHING to meet an artificial deadline. You may also want to cross-reverence something about "Wondering if the sportswriter actually witnessed the game." I thought the SCORE (at the end of the game ) was 83 to 64. Let's see, 64-24 equals 40. 40 divided by 4 equals 10. Ha ha ha (lol) (whatever). To John Adams, this means 4 LadyVols were playing defense, and one was not.
Cool Hand Luke's warden would say: "whhhaattt wwweee H A V E heeerrrr is a faaaiillluurr to C O M M U N I C A T E."

One of these days Alice, one of these days.

voloffaith writes:

in response to tovolny:

Please copy and save this article. File it under "Misinformed Sportswriters." Please place a note that no direct player action or actual plays were written to reinforced the assessments made. Cross-reverence this to cases where sportswriters write SOMETHING to meet an artificial deadline. You may also want to cross-reverence something about "Wondering if the sportswriter actually witnessed the game." I thought the SCORE (at the end of the game ) was 83 to 64. Let's see, 64-24 equals 40. 40 divided by 4 equals 10. Ha ha ha (lol) (whatever). To John Adams, this means 4 LadyVols were playing defense, and one was not.
Cool Hand Luke's warden would say: "whhhaattt wwweee H A V E heeerrrr is a faaaiillluurr to C O M M U N I C A T E."

One of these days Alice, one of these days.

Just a ball of confusion........please go back and dumb it down for me as I can't for the life of me decipher what took place after mentioning deadline then ....BOOM!!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to voloffaith:

Just a ball of confusion........please go back and dumb it down for me as I can't for the life of me decipher what took place after mentioning deadline then ....BOOM!!

Surprised you didn't point out his use of "cross-reVerAnce". Pretty sure he meant "cross-reFerEnce"; the other usage would seem to "cross-over" into your territory(;-P)!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Surprised you didn't point out his use of "cross-reVerAnce". Pretty sure he meant "cross-reFerEnce"; the other usage would seem to "cross-over" into your territory(;-P)!

Oops! I see that he did at least have an "e" in the last syllable both times he (mis)used that term. My bad.

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