Switch to zone in second half key for Lady Vols, 73-53

Isabelle Harrison on the UT's win at South Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Tennessee made shots all night long on Thursday, operating its offense strictly within the proverbial zone.

It took some strategy to get to a similar place on defense.

The combination allowed the Lady Vols to turn a close game into a 73-53 SEC women’s basketball victory over South Carolina before a crowd of 3,939 at Colonial Life Arena.

Taber Spani and Isabelle Harrison led No. 12 Tennessee (10-3, 1-0 SEC) with 18 points apiece.

Along with tying her career scoring high, Harrison also had career highs for rebounds (14) and blocks (seven).

“It starts with my defense,” Harrison said. “I love it when we’re energetic and passionate about it.”

Spani, meanwhile, matched her career high for 3-pointers (four).

Overall, Tennessee shot 50 percent from the floor (28 for 56) against a team that had been holding its opponents to 32.9 percent accuracy. Tennessee’s points surpassed what South Carolina typical allows by 28.

“I was concerned they would force us to quick-shoot the basketball,” UT coach Holly Warlick said. “I thought we took good shots. Offensively we stuck to our game plan. We didn’t take ill-advised shots.

Tiffany Mitchell led No. 18 South Carolina (12-2) with 14 points. The Gamecocks couldn’t match UT’s accuracy, not by a long shot. They finished at 29 percent (20 for 69).

In a game that featured three ties and nine lead changes, the Lady Vols went exclusively to a zone alignment early in the second half. While the Gamecocks were missing 10 consecutive shots, the Lady Vols parlayed several transition opportunities into a 14-point scoring run and a 53-40 lead with 11:33 left.

“They were just being big,” Gamecocks guard Ieasia Walker said. “They were forcing us to shoot the outside shot. It wasn’t our night.”

Harrison scored from all points on the floor in hitting six of her first seven shots and scoring 12 in the first half. UT shot 54.2 percent from the floor (12 for 22) in the first 20 minutes.

The Gamecocks kept pace by dominating taller UT on the boards. They were within 32-31 at halftime on the strength of 11 offensive rebounds, which translated into a 12-0 edge in second-chance points.

If the Gamecocks weren’t benefiting from their quickness, they simply outfought the Lady Vols for the ball. Their final trip up the floor was extended by three offensive rebounds and ended with two free throws by Ashley Bruner.

“We had a good talk at half,” Warlick said. “We can bottle that talk, but we can’t repeat it.”

Along with thwarting South Carolina’s drives to the basket, the Lady Vols’ zone also enabled them to regain control of the boards. After being outrebounded 21-9 in the first half, they closed the final deficit to 40-39.

“South Carolina is a great penetrating team and a great offensive rebounding team,” Spani said. “We had to pack it in. I thought that helped our rebounding.”

Burdick Update: While there was no official update from UT about Cierra Burdick, the sophomore forward said on Twitter on Wednesday night that she hopes to return in a month after suffering a fractured right hand on Monday.

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Comments » 102

golfman1975 writes:

Waiting to see the..."Yeah, but" article by John (ya doesnt have to call me) Adams..

golfman1975 writes:

Adams gets his exercise by jumping to conclusions.

oldster writes:

Good win, but I still do not see what the coach sees in Simmons. I would not choose her speed, but recklessness and bad decision making over all that Kamiko Williams brings to the game. I guess it is that scary word "potential."

jt45 writes:

Good win for the LVs, meanwhile the the Lady Cats squeaked by Florida in a fairly close game at home.Not very impressive from what I saw of the game, in fact Im liking the LVs chances in winning the SEC unless Vandy or A&M
is better than their ranking.

The Lady Vols should be able to handle those Georgia girls at home fairly easily if they play like they are capable of.

Keep it up Ladies

Theo writes:

Really good win on the road. Particularly nice since we only play SC once this year.
Excellent coaching adjustments at half time.
Izzy - what can you say, so proud for her. Remember how frustrated she would get last year with limited minutes trying to prove herself. Well, she proved herself tonight!
Taber was about six feet behind the line on one of those threes. I liked that Simmons, when her outside shot wasn't falling, drove to the basket. She can get past just about anyone and shoots 86% on free throws. Nice adjustment. Graves seemed a little off tonight but it seemed like the smaller SC kids were tying her up quite a bit. Still, great experience, first SEC game, etc.
Glad to see Jasmine and Nia in.
Just a really good team victory.
Go Lady Vols!

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

For those who missed it, and have access, the game should be on espn3.com (espn.go.com??)

lstbodeanvol writes:

congrats lady vols !!!!!!!

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

What you are seeing, IMO, is a slow move to Holly-ball: a slew of posts who do all the little things, and guards who will wrestle a pig for an acorn if need be.

It's not there yet; 1-2 years more, healthy players on hand, that is.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

As for what comes in next year, a warning:
hoopgurlz and the like is so-so in my book.

The "why" is that AAU ball typically comprises too types of teams:
-the teams that practice 3 times together, then play the summer circuit.
-the teams that have a lot of guards and press/trap constantly, knowing most other teams do NOT have time to work on press break.

So, a few kids get noticed by out-of-work coaches turned "recruiting analysts".

Next, you have the highlight films of kids playing against subpar HS competition. They look all-world, but often haven't faced much in the way of real challenges.

Assessing and bringing in players is damned tough work.

Theo writes:

in response to emailnodata:

What you are seeing, IMO, is a slow move to Holly-ball: a slew of posts who do all the little things, and guards who will wrestle a pig for an acorn if need be.

It's not there yet; 1-2 years more, healthy players on hand, that is.

Interesting observation. I'm not sure about pig wrestling but I do like the fact that next year we can do any combo of 6-6,6-3,6-3,6-2,6-2,6-2 on the front line. All athletic. Not a plodder among them.

SoddyVol writes:

Talk about Coaching!! After an early Tenn time out in the 2nd half when SC make it 32-35, the Vols got serious. From that point on, two official timeouts plus two SC full timeouts in the next 10 1/2 minutes did nothing to slow the Vols.

dewey0022 writes:

in response to Element_Days_Are_Over:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Tennessee will beat many this year and many to come over the next few years. Element_Days_Are_over..........You're an idiot; why don't you leave this site and never come back. I am a fan of the lady Vols, and you, whomever you are seem to be a P.O.S.:) Take a Hike dude or dudette and get a life!!!!!See ya.

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to Element_Days_Are_Over:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

"Element" you almost actually paid the Lady Vols a compliment. Doesn't that make you a "sheep"

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

in response to Theo:

Interesting observation. I'm not sure about pig wrestling but I do like the fact that next year we can do any combo of 6-6,6-3,6-3,6-2,6-2,6-2 on the front line. All athletic. Not a plodder among them.

Plodding is okay if it knows what its' doing. Posts like Appel, Dolsen, and several UT have had who know how to use their size correctly can compensate for footspeed with smarts.

But, yeah, that's what I'm seeing, too: the ability to really attack team with fresh posts adn keep the entire team engaged.

BruisedOrange writes:

Gotta think the girls have observed from watching Cuonzo's boys that effective zone D is as active as man-to-man, and can be even more aggressive. Nice job, Holly. Great second half adjustments.

BTW: Female Pig Wrestling is only available as PPV

vol98champ writes:

IZZY THE GREAT. What an improvement over last year. Great coaching by Holly. Switching to the zone was brilliant. Taking Graves out when she was struggling and the LV's going on a fantastic run was key. Don't know what she said at the 35-32 timeout, but Pat never said anything better IMO.

ModelMaker writes:

The Lady Vols came to play. What can I say. I thought Holly had them well prepared. I am starting to buy in to what Holly is doing and I think the players are also. I thought they all played great. I think we have finally found a leader on this team that we haven't had since Parker left. I thought Izzy was off the charts. I can't get over how she has improved over last year. Off hand I can't think of any player that has improved more in one year than Izzy has. This team is a lot of fun to watch play.

voloffaith writes:

in response to Element_Days_Are_Over:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

'Scuse me ,but what is a "real" family? Also too was supposed to be another word....not TOO much to ask the great and omnipotent ozzy...

On topic, congrats lady Vols!! I thot an L was coming...yes,Coach Staley and her Staleyettes were outcoached and outplayed. Now Mrs. Landers namesake brings the woofettes to tow. I actually expect more of a challenge than was put up lasy night. Now for the men to beat the tiggers...

richvol writes:

I like the athleticism of this team. I got so sick of the slow plodding teams that Pat put on the floor the last few years. Holly will have a great team next year with the addition of the new 6'5" post. Could have a run at a NC.

What I would like to see however is the precision like effective offense of UConn. I don't exactly know how Geno teaches it but I sure wish we could emulate it.

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

Exactly who is this latest troll, the anti-Lady Vols griper?

Very conspicuously sounding like he is someone the girls may have beaten up on the play ground and it has stuck with him for years.

He is "embarrassed to have commented on a women's basketball article?" Well helloooo
troll, we are embarrassed too.........that you even commented about anything with your whiny attitude.

butch31 writes:

For those who haven't bought into the Lady Vols yet, let me say this: This is a young group, and they're getting MUCH BETTER! A legitimate sweet 16 team, and don't be surprised to see them go further. This team will be even better next season.

TATER68 writes:

i watched the game, it was close for awhile, but then we broke it open..the zone took them out of there game..simmions needs to slow down and not rush.she is a great player, but needs better shot slections. she missed 4 easy baskset.just settle her down..overall thought it was a great tema effort..pressure d, and rebounding are the keys to success. holly and staff have got them going in the right direction, just not there yet, but getting better..it is easy for us to find fault, but we r not the players or the coaches..u know they see it to..but they r the ones to correct it. overall great win for the ladies..keep up the ball pressure, get on em quick and don't let up...take control early...great team effort, i thought...good job ladies, now let's get ready for Georgia, and make a statement to the whole country that we r for real...u learn from your mistakes, and it only makes u better down the stretch...one game at a time. great game plan, and team effort...greatness is rewarded not given...i like the way they play, just settle down a little..and play with in yourself...just a great win for the program and players i thought...now move forward and play the way that wins games...great job ladies....

dunc writes:

I love Izzy! What a great game she had.

HazardKYVol writes:

Only 1089 more to go!

dunc writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

voloffaith writes:

in response to Element_Days_Are_Over:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Whoa there Nellie! He merely made a statement of where he thinks this team might go. That wasn't Dusty Springfield ' a wishing and a hoping'.How much of their offense graduated? So the expectations have been lower for this young team.Don't jump on your 'Hobby' horse too(proper use of too) quickly or you might get splinters.....

Oh BTW what team do you pull for as it obviously isn't the Lady Vols.

volboy81 writes:

Great game ladies! You took a nip & tuck game and blew them out of the water in the 2nd half. Izzy & Graves are amazing to watch under the basket. Both are Glory clones. Neither lacks effort or talent. Cant wait til Sunday. We need 14-16,000 there on Sunday to whip the Dawgs!
GO LADY VOLS!!!

Noogaorange writes:

in response to Element_Days_Are_Over:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

What do you mean that you embarrassed to comment on a Lady Vols baskeball article?

And what is your definition of a real family?

GBO VFL17

golfman1975 writes:

in response to Element_Days_Are_Over:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

With 2 starters out, you must get your exercise by jumping to conclusions...so I will do the same. You have become a real expert in women's basketball! You are wise beyond your years...considering you are already 6 years old. Keep up the good work! Now you can go back to your stupid pit.

ps11824 writes:

I'm so proud of Taber's game last night. Izzy, wow, what a gamer she was. Happy for that win, Holly.

Theo writes:

in response to Element_Days_Are_Over:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'd say about 14k on average (number one in attendance again). Probably closer to 16K for the dogs this weekend.
It's a shame Holly was outcoached by Staley. I guess we would have won by 40 if she had done a better job.
Still laughing at you DA troll.

maxvolfan#217855 writes:

in response to Element_Days_Are_Over:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

#1 in attendance for women's bball and rates better than most men's games . If you watched the game last night no other teams fans travel as much (other than those UK men's fans ) than UT. Facts troll. When your team hangs 8 banners from the rafters , then you might be able to talk smack. Until then nothing for you to talk about.

ModelMaker writes:

in response to volboy81:

Great game ladies! You took a nip & tuck game and blew them out of the water in the 2nd half. Izzy & Graves are amazing to watch under the basket. Both are Glory clones. Neither lacks effort or talent. Cant wait til Sunday. We need 14-16,000 there on Sunday to whip the Dawgs!
GO LADY VOLS!!!

I'll be there. Good Lord willing.

jt45 writes:

in response to Noogaorange:

What do you mean that you embarrassed to comment on a Lady Vols baskeball article?

And what is your definition of a real family?

GBO VFL17

KNS needs to ban that poster. Read his posting history on Pat Summit and you will see what he is trying sneak in with that (real family) remark.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to jt45:

Good win for the LVs, meanwhile the the Lady Cats squeaked by Florida in a fairly close game at home.Not very impressive from what I saw of the game, in fact Im liking the LVs chances in winning the SEC unless Vandy or A&M
is better than their ranking.

The Lady Vols should be able to handle those Georgia girls at home fairly easily if they play like they are capable of.

Keep it up Ladies

Personally, I was somewhat surprised by how competitive that UK-UF game was. Florida hung in there against a pressure defense that often blows opponents out. The game was not an artistic success, but I was impressed by both teams' toughness. I haven't seen Georgia yet, but if they are as tough as UK and UF, the conference could be quite competitive this year. However, I do like the LVs' chances to win the conference title if they all stay healthy and committed to team play. Getting Burdick back soon would certainly help.

maxvolfan#217855 writes:

Graves tweeted that she played sick and still almost had a double double. I love this team. I also like the fact that there were five players that logged 30+ mins and Miko had 17 . Yes a short bench but great team chemistry and was given time to adjust to the game . Good teams that are very disciplined with minimum fouls play better with a shorter bench.

martic#220796 writes:

in response to richvol:

I like the athleticism of this team. I got so sick of the slow plodding teams that Pat put on the floor the last few years. Holly will have a great team next year with the addition of the new 6'5" post. Could have a run at a NC.

What I would like to see however is the precision like effective offense of UConn. I don't exactly know how Geno teaches it but I sure wish we could emulate it.

It has long been an enigma to me on how he get his girls to play, especially defense. Kelly Farris seems to only be an average player but she is one of the best defenders I've seen and the change in Dolson from her freshman year is a work of art. They seem to always be in motion on offense and have a definite plan of action. I'm by no means a Geno fan but would sure like to know how he gets the best out of his people. Please don't go to hating on me because I am LV thru and thru. Just would like to know why we couldn't/ can't do the same.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to emailnodata:

As for what comes in next year, a warning:
hoopgurlz and the like is so-so in my book.

The "why" is that AAU ball typically comprises too types of teams:
-the teams that practice 3 times together, then play the summer circuit.
-the teams that have a lot of guards and press/trap constantly, knowing most other teams do NOT have time to work on press break.

So, a few kids get noticed by out-of-work coaches turned "recruiting analysts".

Next, you have the highlight films of kids playing against subpar HS competition. They look all-world, but often haven't faced much in the way of real challenges.

Assessing and bringing in players is damned tough work.

GREAT observation on the downside of both the rating services and the AAU circuit. I know coaches like the AAU schedule because it allows them to see lots of pretty good players all at once, but I think regular contact through the season gives a better indication of what kind of team player and person a prospect is. Even though HS competition may be pretty uneven some places, it is still useful to see how a player acts in a true team setting. It is, as you suggest, much harder for a coaching staff to have that kind of contact during their own seasons, of course.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

Good win on the road..WTGLV!!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to BruisedOrange:

Gotta think the girls have observed from watching Cuonzo's boys that effective zone D is as active as man-to-man, and can be even more aggressive. Nice job, Holly. Great second half adjustments.

BTW: Female Pig Wrestling is only available as PPV

Good observation about how active the LVs' zone was. You could turn that around by saying that CCM's Vols could benefit at times by playing a zone without losing the aggressiveness they show in their man-to-man. I believe in an aggressive mentality in playing defense, but it doesn't have to belly-to-belly and in-your-face all the time to be effective. Sometimes zones just make sense; the way they often stymie the men ought to be a clue.

AllforTenn writes:

Lady Vols played as they should have played and were coached as they should have been coached. Overall good performance. As for the learning from Martin and the men's program, bad reference, the Lady Vols have a better program than that.

martic#220796 writes:

I watched the game last night and am really proud of this team. Before the season started I tried to prepare my self for a down season, after the first loss I was bracing myself for a looooooooooooong season. The Baylor and Stanford games were hard to watch, other than that I have been pleasantly suprised with this team. I hope they will continue to get better. There does seem to be a sense of togetherness on this team and it has made them fun to watch. Won't be able to attend game Sunday but hope the rest of you will raise the roof!! Go ladies beat them dawgs!!!!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Element_Days_Are_Over:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You know, I don't care that much about soccer, hockey, or pro "rasslin", but I don't go on their fan sites and put down their sport, their favorite teams and performers, or their fans. You admit that you are embarrassed to comment on here, yet here you are every danged day. That shows you have no other purpose than that you simply enjoy being a pest and flaunting your disdain. Ever wonder why you don't have any friends?

johnlg00 writes:

in response to richvol:

I like the athleticism of this team. I got so sick of the slow plodding teams that Pat put on the floor the last few years. Holly will have a great team next year with the addition of the new 6'5" post. Could have a run at a NC.

What I would like to see however is the precision like effective offense of UConn. I don't exactly know how Geno teaches it but I sure wish we could emulate it.

Man, I gotta say, as much as I hate Geno, he always has teams that absolutely carve up opponents on offense. They are quick and decisive with every pass, cut, and shot, and they seem to do it every trip up the floor and throughout every game. Whatever else one can say about him, Geno nearly always has his players ready to play. They know what they want to do and then they go out and do it, game in and game out, year in and year out. Gotta give the devil his due.

madrigal writes:

in response to VolFanInTheBoro:

"Element" you almost actually paid the Lady Vols a compliment. Doesn't that make you a "sheep"

Element is more of a dud than a dude or dudette. Just a homophobic troll is all.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Element_Days_Are_Over:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

First, I would have to wonder how many REAL friends you have if this is your typical mode of interaction. Second, what could have possibly convinced you that any of us care what you think "goes on in that program'? Many of us on here have followed the LVs for years. Unless you care to be more specific, you are only coming across as a misogynous jackazz. And I suspect that if you WERE more specific, you would simply prove that.

jt45 writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Personally, I was somewhat surprised by how competitive that UK-UF game was. Florida hung in there against a pressure defense that often blows opponents out. The game was not an artistic success, but I was impressed by both teams' toughness. I haven't seen Georgia yet, but if they are as tough as UK and UF, the conference could be quite competitive this year. However, I do like the LVs' chances to win the conference title if they all stay healthy and committed to team play. Getting Burdick back soon would certainly help.

I was also a bit surprised to see an Unranked Florida Team play the Lady wildcats that close on their home floor. Maybe florida is better than their ranking but with that UK home court advantage the LWs just didnt look as good as they
have been talked up this season. I suspected as much when Baylor beat them by 35 and it was much worse than the final score. At any rate it should be a good matchup this year with the LVs speed and athleticism.

Georgia beat Rutgers by 6 so I think the LVs should be able to get that win at home.

tonyvick#213307 writes:

One thing I see a lot is people talking about what a great team we will have next year. I tell you by the end of the season and if the team stays healthy. We can be final four material.

usnavyvolfan_on_duty writes:

in response to Element_Days_Are_Over:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Then why don't you go out there and show us how it's done, genius!

Our ladies took a team that beat them last year to the woodshed by 20 points this time around. I'd say this team is pretty well coached. We don't need you to make an arse out of yourself to make us feel better, but I suppose it's great entertainment value nonetheless.

underthehill writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Man, I gotta say, as much as I hate Geno, he always has teams that absolutely carve up opponents on offense. They are quick and decisive with every pass, cut, and shot, and they seem to do it every trip up the floor and throughout every game. Whatever else one can say about him, Geno nearly always has his players ready to play. They know what they want to do and then they go out and do it, game in and game out, year in and year out. Gotta give the devil his due.

True ..gotta give the devil his due..and learn from what you see..Notre Dame has done that and upgraded their program..tho Stanford lost big to UConn last game ..they too pass the ball well and run set plays well..UT cannot reach that level until they do the same.

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