Lady Vols aim to take care of 'the little things' against Auburn

Tennessee's Taber Spani (13) and Tennessee guard Kamiko Williams (4) crowd Florida's Sydney Moss (40) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Gainesville, Fla., Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013. Tennessee took the win with a score of 78-75. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)

Photo by Phil Sandlin

Tennessee's Taber Spani (13) and Tennessee guard Kamiko Williams (4) crowd Florida's Sydney Moss (40) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Gainesville, Fla., Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013. Tennessee took the win with a score of 78-75. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)

Tennessee left Florida last Sunday buoyed by the poise and determination the Lady Vols summoned to avoid an upset.

They're back on the SEC road at Auburn tonight (TV: CSS, 9 p.m.), advised to produce a women's basketball encore less reliant on dramatics.

UT coach Holly Warlick on Tuesday referred to the Lady Vols' 78-75 overtime victory over the Gators as it related to their preparations for Auburn (13-4, 2-2 SEC).

"I am proud of their effort there," she said, "but as a coach, I have to get them to where they don't get to that point. We play hard all the time and we understand what's important."

The players have seemed receptive to their coach's counsel. The sweat had barely dried on Sunday's victory before Meighan Simmons spoke of doing "the little things" better. When asked to elaborate this week, the junior guard listed virtually all aspects of UT's play.

Rebounding, for one, has been underscored after No. 9 Tennessee (13-3, 4-0) was outrebounded 48-41 by Florida. The margin matched the advantage achieved by defending national champion Baylor against UT on Dec. 18.

Despite a plus-6.4 margin, the Lady Vols' traditional asset is under siege in SEC play. After being outrebounded twice in 12 non-conference games,

they've been outrebounded twice in four league games.

Florida relished the chance to wrest this advantage from UT and did so despite losing leading rebounder Jennifer George in the first half with a shoulder injury.

"Coming into the ball game, not only did Tennessee have the best rebounding in the SEC, they might be the best in the country," Florida coach Amanda Butler said. "That was a battle we were excited for."

Warlick, in turn, wasn't thrilled that guards Simmons and Kamiko Williams combined for just two rebounds. Freshman reserve forward Jasmine Jones, who's already established a single-game high of 11, had two in 19 minutes.

"I think it's a lack of focus, a lack of commitment to rebounding the basketball," Warlick said. "That's something we have to keep pressing in practice and hold them accountable for it. It could be the difference in winning and losing the game."

Similar thinking applies to UT's defense, which wasn't overly effective on Sunday until it came up stout at the end.

"I just think we were not ready," Warlick said. "I'll take the blame for that, but they'll be ready (tonight)."

Lady Vols point guard Ariel Massengale said that SEC opponents, with their athleticism and attacking mind-sets, demand an honest effort.

"It doesn't allow you to take a play off," she said. "Every possession, you have to be ready because you never know when somebody might turn it on."

Statistics indicate that Auburn, under first-year coach Terri Williams-Flournoy, is intent on taking possessions from the opposition. The Tigers are second in the SEC in steals per game (13) and have a plus-6.8 turnover margin. Opponents have committed more turnovers (381) than they have scored baskets (343).

The Lady Vols experienced Williams-Flournoy's defensive tactics when she coached Georgetown to a 68-59 upset of UT on Nov. 27, 2010, at the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Hoyas parlayed relentless pressure into 29 turnovers, which translated into 31 points.

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Comments » 14

maxvolfan#217855 writes:

http://m.espn.go.com/ncw/story?storyI...

Can't wait to travel down to the plains tomorrow! GLV!

voloffaith writes:

Music Maestro...Hold that tyger...hold that tyger...Lovely rendition wouldn't you say? Relentless pressure was also the lady chickens strong suit and thankfully we handled it. Execute the plan till final whistle and you'll leave the plains with a W. Any given night an upset can happen. Didn't his team just get drilled by Mizzou? Doesn't matter...different team ...different night...GO LADY VOLS!!!

retiredVolinGA writes:

Same here, I'll be in the wheelchair section with my wife. Hope to see many LV fans there! GLV, submarine the War Eaglets. WE BACK PAT!!!

maxvolfan#217855 writes:

Auburn have two girls 6'5 and 6'8 . Wow... Put the speed on them and wear them out lady vols

maxvolfan#217855 writes:

http://blip.tv/realtallshorty/glory-b...

Just some clips I found on Glory Broom Johnson's Twitter page. She was a beast on the boards. Scary to think how good Graves will be as a senior. Or Harrison. The Vols will have girls going to the Wnba every year

ModelMaker writes:

Turnovers could be big in this game. The difference from committing 18 turnovers to just 10 could be huge. Say instead of committing 18 turnovers you commit just nine or ten. Say out of the 8 or 9 times you have a shot at the basket you hit three, three point shots. Thats nine points you picked up right there. That could be huge. I believe that if the Lady Vols take care of the basketball they will do just fine.

wigmeister writes:

Run em into the ground till they have trouble breathing. Play well, win big!

hikerdude writes:

in response to maxvolfan#217855:

http://blip.tv/realtallshorty/glory-b...

Just some clips I found on Glory Broom Johnson's Twitter page. She was a beast on the boards. Scary to think how good Graves will be as a senior. Or Harrison. The Vols will have girls going to the Wnba every year

Glory was fantastic. I think Bashara is going to be even better. Things are looking good for the Lady Vols.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to maxvolfan#217855:

http://m.espn.go.com/ncw/story?storyI...

Can't wait to travel down to the plains tomorrow! GLV!

Great article! Thanks for the link. Hope you and all other LV fans going to the Auburn game will be safe on the roads. Looks like a lot of yucky driving weather all around the southeast.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to maxvolfan#217855:

http://blip.tv/realtallshorty/glory-b...

Just some clips I found on Glory Broom Johnson's Twitter page. She was a beast on the boards. Scary to think how good Graves will be as a senior. Or Harrison. The Vols will have girls going to the Wnba every year

AWESOME! Thanks again, Max; you surely do find some good stuff. I hope Bashaara appreciates what we are saying about her when we compare her to Glory at her best. So far, they look like "sisters from another mother" to me, on the court at least!

maxvolfan#217855 writes:

I look at Glorys class and I see a great team that had .to go through a lot together. They came in with a lot of pressure as freshmen to win it all again after Candace and co. Won it all the year before. Had good sophmore and junior years losing only 6 games and just losing to a better Baylor and ND I believe . Their senior year was filled with emotion, confusion , and saddenes. They played for Pat and sometimes playing for a cause works and sometimes they don't. I still and will always love that bunch of lady Vols for still playing Tennessee basketball in spite of all of the challenges. Remember they still are SEC champions . The baton has been passed. Now let's Go ! I see our lady Vols losing no more than 8 games the next 4 year's. I'm calling it!

Theo writes:

in response to maxvolfan#217855:

I look at Glorys class and I see a great team that had .to go through a lot together. They came in with a lot of pressure as freshmen to win it all again after Candace and co. Won it all the year before. Had good sophmore and junior years losing only 6 games and just losing to a better Baylor and ND I believe . Their senior year was filled with emotion, confusion , and saddenes. They played for Pat and sometimes playing for a cause works and sometimes they don't. I still and will always love that bunch of lady Vols for still playing Tennessee basketball in spite of all of the challenges. Remember they still are SEC champions . The baton has been passed. Now let's Go ! I see our lady Vols losing no more than 8 games the next 4 year's. I'm calling it!

Could not agree more. Seemed like they played, understandably, with heavy hearts and lots of pressure.
I think that is one of the reasons I like this team soooo much. They seem to have fun. They want to be playing. I think the low preseason rankings were a big plus for this young team. Just have fun and learn. The highs and lows will come but they are still LVs and true LV fans will love and support them regardless.

Volinflan writes:

in response to maxvolfan#217855:

I look at Glorys class and I see a great team that had .to go through a lot together. They came in with a lot of pressure as freshmen to win it all again after Candace and co. Won it all the year before. Had good sophmore and junior years losing only 6 games and just losing to a better Baylor and ND I believe . Their senior year was filled with emotion, confusion , and saddenes. They played for Pat and sometimes playing for a cause works and sometimes they don't. I still and will always love that bunch of lady Vols for still playing Tennessee basketball in spite of all of the challenges. Remember they still are SEC champions . The baton has been passed. Now let's Go ! I see our lady Vols losing no more than 8 games the next 4 year's. I'm calling it!

Now wait a minute is that 4 years including this year or beginning next year? I at first thought you were crazy, then I thought it some and, I'll go with you for 10 games, but not eight.

Next year there is a beast out there, UCONN. They have some really good players that are just going to come into their prime. Baylor, Notre Dame, Stanford and Kentucky seem to be beatable by a really good team. For sure there are going to be a lot of good teams.

So who is the really good team. Despite the fact the Lady Vols are losing Williams and Spani, glory in the fact that Graves, Harrison, Burdick, Jones and Massengale are going to be a really fierce force of young players just learning how to be really good. Add to that the the fact that Simmons is going to have her breaking out year in 2014 and become a first team All American and the other runner ups are going to be challenged. And oh, add to that four really good freshmen. (I count Carter since she's going to get a redshirt) and I can see us going like something and two. 2015 sheese, Tennessee is going to be scary. I won't call 2016. I just hope I'm alive to see it.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Volinflan:

Now wait a minute is that 4 years including this year or beginning next year? I at first thought you were crazy, then I thought it some and, I'll go with you for 10 games, but not eight.

Next year there is a beast out there, UCONN. They have some really good players that are just going to come into their prime. Baylor, Notre Dame, Stanford and Kentucky seem to be beatable by a really good team. For sure there are going to be a lot of good teams.

So who is the really good team. Despite the fact the Lady Vols are losing Williams and Spani, glory in the fact that Graves, Harrison, Burdick, Jones and Massengale are going to be a really fierce force of young players just learning how to be really good. Add to that the the fact that Simmons is going to have her breaking out year in 2014 and become a first team All American and the other runner ups are going to be challenged. And oh, add to that four really good freshmen. (I count Carter since she's going to get a redshirt) and I can see us going like something and two. 2015 sheese, Tennessee is going to be scary. I won't call 2016. I just hope I'm alive to see it.

Several of us old 'uns on here who wish to live to see the next few years of prime LV basketball, buddy! It showed me a lot last night that they were able to shrug off about 30 minutes of sub-par play to win going away. Hopefully, they won't get off to such a slow start anymore, but it's hard for most teams to get up for them all equally.

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