Simmons' flurry ices Ole Miss

Senior scores 20 points for Lady Vols

Tennessee guard Meighan Simmons and Mississippi forward Tia Faleru (32) vie for a rebound during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Oxford, Miss., Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Thomas Graning)

Photo by Thomas Graning

Tennessee guard Meighan Simmons and Mississippi forward Tia Faleru (32) vie for a rebound during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Oxford, Miss., Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Thomas Graning)

OXFORD, Miss. — Meighan Simmons came into the interview room Thursday night hunched over, hugging a heating pad.

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Comments » 15

MichaelL writes:

Play better against Vanderbilt on Monday, or lose. And that would be a bitter pill to swallow- lose twice in one year to a Vandy team that you have been clearly favored over both times? The next two games will tell us what kind of team we have.

RLL59 writes:

Other than Meighan's illness, we now know the reasons for Lady Vol substitutions....fouls. Coach Holly either has a phobia about any one player getting in foul trouble or she's using it as an excuse to get lesser, less experienced players more time on the floor. Izzy, who had been a shot blocker, is now basically useless on defense, afraid of picking up fouls, even in the second half. Bashaara was one of the best freshmen in the country, and now goes mostly unnoticed outside of rebounding. No one ever fouls out and hardly anyone even gets 4 fouls, but so what? With the talent they have, losing a player against a team like Ole Miss shouldn't have any consequence. Consistency and cohesion suffer because the same 5 are together on the floor for less than a quarter of the game.

The team isn't loose nor confident enough to excel on either offense or defense. They're too programmed. On the first possession of the game they were so determined to follow directions and get the ball, inside despite Ole Miss poised to defend against it (surprise), that they didn't even get a shot off. How many times did Jasmine and Jordan have open shots and end up with a few feet shorter, but contested, shot? How many open shots that she had made in the last game did Cierra turn down? Take what the defense gives you, even if it wasn't the prime directive. Every coach in the country knows exactly what TN's going to try. Sheer force and talent used to be enough; now it's evidently not.

There were virtually no balls taken into the circle or paint to open up a short jump shot or an assist. Meighan was the only one who tried it and she was not really on her game. Andraya sat out more than she played due to foul trouble. Jordan is inexperienced and apparently has the same level of skill scoring on drives to the basket as Ariel...and that's not a compliment.
Ole Miss is last in the league and would have lost by 30 points to top 5 teams the Lady Vols hope to get past in the NCAA tournament. One player or another getting better isn't what this team needs. How many games like this is it going to take before the coaching staff realizes that their tactics and substitution patterns are preventing progress? Time is running out. Hoping things will get better isn't making it.

underthehill writes:

Reynolds had another good game..she has surprising speed getting the ball up the floor..Ole Miss had some very athletic players and a very energetic coach..they will get better..the SEC ladies game continues to get stronger..the zone served the Lady Vols well again ..it helps hide the lack of speed and takes advantage of their height..sometimes it is the mark of a good team to find ways to win in games where you are not at your best..this appeared to be the case in this one..

CaptainPicard writes:

in response to RLL59:

Other than Meighan's illness, we now know the reasons for Lady Vol substitutions....fouls. Coach Holly either has a phobia about any one player getting in foul trouble or she's using it as an excuse to get lesser, less experienced players more time on the floor. Izzy, who had been a shot blocker, is now basically useless on defense, afraid of picking up fouls, even in the second half. Bashaara was one of the best freshmen in the country, and now goes mostly unnoticed outside of rebounding. No one ever fouls out and hardly anyone even gets 4 fouls, but so what? With the talent they have, losing a player against a team like Ole Miss shouldn't have any consequence. Consistency and cohesion suffer because the same 5 are together on the floor for less than a quarter of the game.

The team isn't loose nor confident enough to excel on either offense or defense. They're too programmed. On the first possession of the game they were so determined to follow directions and get the ball, inside despite Ole Miss poised to defend against it (surprise), that they didn't even get a shot off. How many times did Jasmine and Jordan have open shots and end up with a few feet shorter, but contested, shot? How many open shots that she had made in the last game did Cierra turn down? Take what the defense gives you, even if it wasn't the prime directive. Every coach in the country knows exactly what TN's going to try. Sheer force and talent used to be enough; now it's evidently not.

There were virtually no balls taken into the circle or paint to open up a short jump shot or an assist. Meighan was the only one who tried it and she was not really on her game. Andraya sat out more than she played due to foul trouble. Jordan is inexperienced and apparently has the same level of skill scoring on drives to the basket as Ariel...and that's not a compliment.
Ole Miss is last in the league and would have lost by 30 points to top 5 teams the Lady Vols hope to get past in the NCAA tournament. One player or another getting better isn't what this team needs. How many games like this is it going to take before the coaching staff realizes that their tactics and substitution patterns are preventing progress? Time is running out. Hoping things will get better isn't making it.

Insightful comments, RLL59. I, like you, am dismayed by the inability of the LVs coaching staff to enhance the skills of individual players. Examples: teaching Izzy how to defend without fouling, instructing Jasmine on how to improve her ball handling skills. Also, Holly and her staff seem oblivious to the problems caused by too frequent and unnecesary substitutions.

Theo writes:

in response to RLL59:

Other than Meighan's illness, we now know the reasons for Lady Vol substitutions....fouls. Coach Holly either has a phobia about any one player getting in foul trouble or she's using it as an excuse to get lesser, less experienced players more time on the floor. Izzy, who had been a shot blocker, is now basically useless on defense, afraid of picking up fouls, even in the second half. Bashaara was one of the best freshmen in the country, and now goes mostly unnoticed outside of rebounding. No one ever fouls out and hardly anyone even gets 4 fouls, but so what? With the talent they have, losing a player against a team like Ole Miss shouldn't have any consequence. Consistency and cohesion suffer because the same 5 are together on the floor for less than a quarter of the game.

The team isn't loose nor confident enough to excel on either offense or defense. They're too programmed. On the first possession of the game they were so determined to follow directions and get the ball, inside despite Ole Miss poised to defend against it (surprise), that they didn't even get a shot off. How many times did Jasmine and Jordan have open shots and end up with a few feet shorter, but contested, shot? How many open shots that she had made in the last game did Cierra turn down? Take what the defense gives you, even if it wasn't the prime directive. Every coach in the country knows exactly what TN's going to try. Sheer force and talent used to be enough; now it's evidently not.

There were virtually no balls taken into the circle or paint to open up a short jump shot or an assist. Meighan was the only one who tried it and she was not really on her game. Andraya sat out more than she played due to foul trouble. Jordan is inexperienced and apparently has the same level of skill scoring on drives to the basket as Ariel...and that's not a compliment.
Ole Miss is last in the league and would have lost by 30 points to top 5 teams the Lady Vols hope to get past in the NCAA tournament. One player or another getting better isn't what this team needs. How many games like this is it going to take before the coaching staff realizes that their tactics and substitution patterns are preventing progress? Time is running out. Hoping things will get better isn't making it.

So..... what would you post if we lost? I don't think you were voted SEC coach of the year or the National Assistant Coach of the year or been an All American or studied under the great coach of all time for about 25 years.
But, I guess since you are at the practices and in the locker room, coaches meetings etc. you should know that the substitution patterns are all wrong.
You know I get having your own opinion and you are welcome to it but why the consistent, critical, nastiness?
They are kids, not machines, not professionals. You are complaining about 18/19 year olds making bad decisions? Really? I know you will come back with they are playing on scholarship for UT blah, blah, blah. But, really, try and enjoy a victory on occasion will you?

RLL59 writes:

in response to Theo:

So..... what would you post if we lost? I don't think you were voted SEC coach of the year or the National Assistant Coach of the year or been an All American or studied under the great coach of all time for about 25 years.
But, I guess since you are at the practices and in the locker room, coaches meetings etc. you should know that the substitution patterns are all wrong.
You know I get having your own opinion and you are welcome to it but why the consistent, critical, nastiness?
They are kids, not machines, not professionals. You are complaining about 18/19 year olds making bad decisions? Really? I know you will come back with they are playing on scholarship for UT blah, blah, blah. But, really, try and enjoy a victory on occasion will you?

We're just different type of fans.. but both hope for the best for the Lady Vols. If you've read my posts over the years, and your responses indicate you have, you'd know that I wholeheartedly support the players, and place most of the blame for what is now nearly 6 years of underachievement on the unwillingness of the coaches to adapt to the changing game. I give credit when it's due...to players and coaches. Look it up. I may make suggestions, but mostly I comment on what is and isn't working, which anyone interested can see whether he/she is a coach or not. Your approach is a win is a win without thought as to whether their play will allow them to compete with the best teams. Fair enough.

Ole Miss was 1-8 and didn't have a single player that the Lady Vols would have recruited. I don't believe anyone, including Coach Holly, was satisfied with anything to do with this game. Those of us that believe the All American talent on this team should result in a chance at the NC aren't going to crow about a rather slim victory over a team that played hard but should have been hopelessly overmatched. I leave it to fans like you to provide accolades for such wins, and you're usually happy to do so.

jmtellico#1438721 writes:

You don't have to be a coach to see just how bad the Lady Vols are. I did play in Europe so I really do know the game. Old Miss was the 11th ranked defensive team in the SEC so what we saw was a lousy offense playing a lousy defense. That kept it interesting. The top 5 teams in the NCAA would have scored an easy 100 points and won by 40-50. This team at times just plays DUMB. How about a senior (Simmons) with her back to the basket going out of bounds flicking a ball back to the opponents' court. That sure was an easy layup for them. That is NOT hustle, it's DUMB. You are taught in Middle School to tip it back under your own basket but not under the opponents unless you can control it to an open player on your team. For a senior, DUMB. This team also can make the worst passes possible...thus the extremely high turnover rate. That doesn't even count other OT's that are not forced. Simmons can win a game for you but you never know if she will win it or lose it. She is a loose cannon with a terrible %. This team sleepwalks through too many halves. They are not a top 10 team and it shows. They will not win the SEC or make it past the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA.....if that far. I love the Lady Vols but not the BB they show us.

Theo writes:

in response to RLL59:

We're just different type of fans.. but both hope for the best for the Lady Vols. If you've read my posts over the years, and your responses indicate you have, you'd know that I wholeheartedly support the players, and place most of the blame for what is now nearly 6 years of underachievement on the unwillingness of the coaches to adapt to the changing game. I give credit when it's due...to players and coaches. Look it up. I may make suggestions, but mostly I comment on what is and isn't working, which anyone interested can see whether he/she is a coach or not. Your approach is a win is a win without thought as to whether their play will allow them to compete with the best teams. Fair enough.

Ole Miss was 1-8 and didn't have a single player that the Lady Vols would have recruited. I don't believe anyone, including Coach Holly, was satisfied with anything to do with this game. Those of us that believe the All American talent on this team should result in a chance at the NC aren't going to crow about a rather slim victory over a team that played hard but should have been hopelessly overmatched. I leave it to fans like you to provide accolades for such wins, and you're usually happy to do so.

Don't think I was crowing. I know they can play much better. I just don't see being down on the staff all the time.
I don't have low standards for the Lady Vols. I just understand that this team seems a little shaky confidence wise and the staff is coaching to address that.
We aren't there to see all the back story and I think this staff deserves the trust of the fans.

RLL59 writes:

in response to Theo:

Don't think I was crowing. I know they can play much better. I just don't see being down on the staff all the time.
I don't have low standards for the Lady Vols. I just understand that this team seems a little shaky confidence wise and the staff is coaching to address that.
We aren't there to see all the back story and I think this staff deserves the trust of the fans.

I didn't mean to imply that you were crowing, and I respect your loyalty and enthusiasm; but you wanted something good to be said, and I just didn't see anything there. I complain about the coaching because they basically have been unable to accomplish team and player development. They, and some fans, attack the character of the players by saying they don't have heart, they don't try hard enough, or they lack leadership. There's never a consideration that the coaching tactics or strategy may be preventing progress. When the same underachievement and lack of development occur over consecutive years, and many many heralded players, someone needs to be introspective about where the real problems originate. I didn't oppose hiring Holly, nor have I called for her to be replaced. But this team is not where it was expected to be, and the last 2 games did nothing to make one think they're moving in the right direction...and it's nearly the end of the regular season. Who is accountable for an offense and a defense that aren't adequate, much less good?

RLL59 writes:

in response to jmtellico#1438721:

You don't have to be a coach to see just how bad the Lady Vols are. I did play in Europe so I really do know the game. Old Miss was the 11th ranked defensive team in the SEC so what we saw was a lousy offense playing a lousy defense. That kept it interesting. The top 5 teams in the NCAA would have scored an easy 100 points and won by 40-50. This team at times just plays DUMB. How about a senior (Simmons) with her back to the basket going out of bounds flicking a ball back to the opponents' court. That sure was an easy layup for them. That is NOT hustle, it's DUMB. You are taught in Middle School to tip it back under your own basket but not under the opponents unless you can control it to an open player on your team. For a senior, DUMB. This team also can make the worst passes possible...thus the extremely high turnover rate. That doesn't even count other OT's that are not forced. Simmons can win a game for you but you never know if she will win it or lose it. She is a loose cannon with a terrible %. This team sleepwalks through too many halves. They are not a top 10 team and it shows. They will not win the SEC or make it past the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA.....if that far. I love the Lady Vols but not the BB they show us.

I agree that it was a bad play to throw the ball back in under the Ole Miss basket, but it was Andraya, not Meighan, who did it. (14:57 or so of the 1st half).

CaptainPicard writes:

in response to jmtellico#1438721:

You don't have to be a coach to see just how bad the Lady Vols are. I did play in Europe so I really do know the game. Old Miss was the 11th ranked defensive team in the SEC so what we saw was a lousy offense playing a lousy defense. That kept it interesting. The top 5 teams in the NCAA would have scored an easy 100 points and won by 40-50. This team at times just plays DUMB. How about a senior (Simmons) with her back to the basket going out of bounds flicking a ball back to the opponents' court. That sure was an easy layup for them. That is NOT hustle, it's DUMB. You are taught in Middle School to tip it back under your own basket but not under the opponents unless you can control it to an open player on your team. For a senior, DUMB. This team also can make the worst passes possible...thus the extremely high turnover rate. That doesn't even count other OT's that are not forced. Simmons can win a game for you but you never know if she will win it or lose it. She is a loose cannon with a terrible %. This team sleepwalks through too many halves. They are not a top 10 team and it shows. They will not win the SEC or make it past the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA.....if that far. I love the Lady Vols but not the BB they show us.

I don't agree with your comment that the LVs have a lousy offense. They are ranked 2nd in total scoring offense in the SEC. I agree they are inconsistent in their offense but not lousy. They are like Meighan as a team.

Allenfan writes:

in response to Theo:

So..... what would you post if we lost? I don't think you were voted SEC coach of the year or the National Assistant Coach of the year or been an All American or studied under the great coach of all time for about 25 years.
But, I guess since you are at the practices and in the locker room, coaches meetings etc. you should know that the substitution patterns are all wrong.
You know I get having your own opinion and you are welcome to it but why the consistent, critical, nastiness?
They are kids, not machines, not professionals. You are complaining about 18/19 year olds making bad decisions? Really? I know you will come back with they are playing on scholarship for UT blah, blah, blah. But, really, try and enjoy a victory on occasion will you?

Well Theo I was at the game and sitting by the bench on the 4th row. Everything that RLL59 said is correct, and if you can't see that, then you are a Lady Vol fan and don't have much knowledge of the game of basketball. Winning a game against Mississippi with our talent is expected even with the awful way we played. The zone you spoke about, shooters were open on the wing and even from the three point line all night long. Maybe you are satisfied in being a top 15 team, if last night is all it takes to make you happy. Jones should never have the ball in her hand until she learns to dribble before she runs. She had a couple of more walks that were not called as the refs turned their head. Yes she was an assistant under the best, but she is nowhere ready to be a head coach. If she can't coach then get some assistants that can, as those ladies deserve better. Listen to every announcer that calls our game, and that has played in the past, and they will tell you there is no energy. I have no idea what was wrong with Carter last night, as the other girls had to keep telling her to keep her head up as she had it hanging all night long. Izzy Harrison may be the best center in the conference, so let them play and stop with the subs when things are going well. This is the third game that I have been to and watched many others on TV. If you don't think you can take average girls and make them play to win, watch South Carolina and see what Staley has done. We will be no better than average to good, never great until she changes and becomes a better bench coach.

CaptainPicard writes:

in response to Allenfan:

Well Theo I was at the game and sitting by the bench on the 4th row. Everything that RLL59 said is correct, and if you can't see that, then you are a Lady Vol fan and don't have much knowledge of the game of basketball. Winning a game against Mississippi with our talent is expected even with the awful way we played. The zone you spoke about, shooters were open on the wing and even from the three point line all night long. Maybe you are satisfied in being a top 15 team, if last night is all it takes to make you happy. Jones should never have the ball in her hand until she learns to dribble before she runs. She had a couple of more walks that were not called as the refs turned their head. Yes she was an assistant under the best, but she is nowhere ready to be a head coach. If she can't coach then get some assistants that can, as those ladies deserve better. Listen to every announcer that calls our game, and that has played in the past, and they will tell you there is no energy. I have no idea what was wrong with Carter last night, as the other girls had to keep telling her to keep her head up as she had it hanging all night long. Izzy Harrison may be the best center in the conference, so let them play and stop with the subs when things are going well. This is the third game that I have been to and watched many others on TV. If you don't think you can take average girls and make them play to win, watch South Carolina and see what Staley has done. We will be no better than average to good, never great until she changes and becomes a better bench coach.

I was in total agreement when Holly was named as the successor to Pat as head coach. I realize now this was a mistake. The AD should have named an experienced coach with a superior winning record as head coach. Wes Moore, formerly of UTC now at NC State, would have been a good choice. He has a record of 20-3 at NC State with nowhere near the talent at Tenn. The LVs have too many loyal fans and a longstanding winning tradition to settle for anything less than a topnotch head coach. I appreciate Holly's many years of contribution as an assistant coach. However, at the moment, she is not a good head coach. Hopefully, as you said, she can change her ways.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

jmtellico#1438721 writes:

in response to RLL59:

I agree that it was a bad play to throw the ball back in under the Ole Miss basket, but it was Andraya, not Meighan, who did it. (14:57 or so of the 1st half).

Sorry Rll59, you are so wrong. It was indeed Simmons. Even the play by play announcer called her name right after I shouted it.

RLL59 writes:

in response to jmtellico#1438721:

Sorry Rll59, you are so wrong. It was indeed Simmons. Even the play by play announcer called her name right after I shouted it.

If you're referring to the play at 14:51 of the first half where the ball was thrown back by a diving Lady Vol player to a Ole Miss player under the basket for an uncontested layup, it was Andraya. I tape and keep all the games and rechecked after your original post and before I replied. Meighan was at the left bottom of the picture. It happened fast and there were no replays. Not a big deal though. It doesn't invalidate your opinion.

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