Lady Vols rise to No. 8 in AP poll

Tennessee heads into its biggest week of the women’s basketball season with its highest ranking.

The Lady Vols (22-5, 13-1 SEC) rose three spots Monday to No. 8 in The Associated Press weekly poll. It’s their highest ranking since Jan. 30 of last season. After starting this season at No. 20, they rose as high as No. 9 for four straight weeks last month.

Losses by SEC rivals Kentucky and Texas A&M, along with Maryland, aided UT’s ascent. Tennessee’s 60-54 victory at Arkansas Sunday, combined with Kentucky and A&M losing, enabled the Lady Vols to clinch a share of the regular-season conference title.

Tennessee hosts No. 13 Texas A&M on Thursday (TV: CSS, 7 p.m.) at Thompson-Boling Arena before finishing at No. 10 Kentucky on Sunday.

“It’s a great opportunity for our players,” UT coach Holly Warlick said. “It’s a great opportunity to see where we are.”

Warlick was speaking on Sunday and she wasn’t thinking about rankings. Instead, she was preoccupied with her team’s uneven play against the Razorbacks. The Lady Vols had to overcome a shoddy first half, during which they scored 19 points, shot 26.9 percent from the floor (7 for 26) and committed 13 turnovers in falling behind by nine points.

There were strategic adjustments at halftime, but a forceful reminder took priority.

“It was more about effort, not doing what you’ve done to get here,” Warlick said.

Two players expressed conflicting views on how UT got in such a predicament. Taber Spani thought the Lady Vols were playing too fast. Meighan Simmons didn’t think they were playing fast enough.

“I think from the beginning, we should’ve been running in transition,” Simmons said. “That’s our game.”

Whatever the case, the Lady Vols got their act together in the final 20 minutes and have arrived where they want to be.

“These two games are kind of what we’ve been waiting our SEC season for,” Spani said. “You want to be in this position.”

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Comments » 7

AllforTenn writes:

Great to see Izzy Harrison get a few minutes of playing time. Hope she gets ready to spend more game time. She is needed.
Holly should be selected SEC Coach of the Year hands down.

maxvolfan#217855 writes:

I'm glad too to see Izzy play. I'm not too concern about her offence right now but we definitely need her blocking ability and her knack of altering shots. A&M offense goes through Bone so we limit her I'm sure the rest of the team won't have enough offense to keep up with us. I feel we can turn them over a couple times too. Lady Vols by 12.

KennyGVolsFan writes:

First off, congrats on your rise to #8!! I am proud of what these girls have done!

Second, I seem more concerned about the Texas A&M game than most. Everyone seems to think we can beat them and I am right along with you. However, my major concern is Bone. The last two years we have not been able to stop a single players. I remember Agwumeke going off for over 40 last year. This year we've struggled against stopping some good players like Diggins, Eye, and Griner. Giving them nothing but highlight reels. Stopping Bone will be key to our success!!

Keeping Bone off the block will be of importance. We will have to remain active, block out and make her move. It is important that our girls play physical with her and tire her out. She has been known to cramp on several occasions get the work on her done and we win by 15!!! If we don't work and allow her easy shots the game will be a lot different!!

jt45 writes:

in response to KennyGVolsFan:

First off, congrats on your rise to #8!! I am proud of what these girls have done!

Second, I seem more concerned about the Texas A&M game than most. Everyone seems to think we can beat them and I am right along with you. However, my major concern is Bone. The last two years we have not been able to stop a single players. I remember Agwumeke going off for over 40 last year. This year we've struggled against stopping some good players like Diggins, Eye, and Griner. Giving them nothing but highlight reels. Stopping Bone will be key to our success!!

Keeping Bone off the block will be of importance. We will have to remain active, block out and make her move. It is important that our girls play physical with her and tire her out. She has been known to cramp on several occasions get the work on her done and we win by 15!!! If we don't work and allow her easy shots the game will be a lot different!!

I see your point about Bone, but she is not nearly as good defensively as some of the big post players you mentioned (griner). Clarke absolutely schooled her in nashville with 30 points. Now their other threat Bellock is a rebounding machine and might prove to be a tough matchup.The LVs should be stoked and ready at TBA with whats on the line but you never know. I think this game stays close until the second half then A&M runs out of gas. LVs by 10 or 15 is my guess.

If the LVs are having a good shooting night from Spani and Simmons it wont be a very close game but they are so streaky you never can tell about them.

BornTNfan writes:

in response to AllforTenn:

Great to see Izzy Harrison get a few minutes of playing time. Hope she gets ready to spend more game time. She is needed.
Holly should be selected SEC Coach of the Year hands down.

I hope u r joking about the coach of the year award! We only get ranked because everyone else in the conference looses...I don't think she has proved anything note worthy at all so I will hold my tongue before I start rambling on about all the negatives I see.

utclassof67 writes:

in response to BornTNfan:

I hope u r joking about the coach of the year award! We only get ranked because everyone else in the conference looses...I don't think she has proved anything note worthy at all so I will hold my tongue before I start rambling on about all the negatives I see.

Are you serious!!?? Who has done a better job in the SEC? Picked for 5th and finishing 1st?! Get serious...

jt45 writes:

in response to BornTNfan:

I hope u r joking about the coach of the year award! We only get ranked because everyone else in the conference looses...I don't think she has proved anything note worthy at all so I will hold my tongue before I start rambling on about all the negatives I see.

Coach Warlick is leading the Nation for Coach of the year, not just the SEC so your argument about conference losses is irrelevant.

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