Sloppy closing seconds lead to Kentucky win over Lady Vols

22 miscues lead to Kentucky's first win in Knoxville since 1985

Tennessee forward Bashaara Graves (12) loses the ball as she is chased down by Kentucky forward/center Jelleah Sidney (12) during the first half at the Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014. (SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Saul Young

Tennessee forward Bashaara Graves (12) loses the ball as she is chased down by Kentucky forward/center Jelleah Sidney (12) during the first half at the Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014. (SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

Opinions differed on the cause of Tennessee’s turnovers Sunday afternoon.

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Comments » 20

digthevols writes:

The Lady Vols play great defense, in fact they exhaust themselves . . . up until the other team gets ready to take a shot . . . then there's no one around. It's hectic, helter-skelter, then the shot comes and the Lady Vols take a stomp toward the shooter or push their hand forward toward their body . . . maybe. No hand in the face, nothing. It's really a shame . . . tough defense for 90% of the play, then the last 10% it disappears.

CaptainPicard writes:

The LVs have a turnover problem due to frequent player substitutions. They did not sub too much in this loss, but the damage was done in prior games. Next year, Holly needs to settle on playing her five best players with limited substitutions. With this scheme, I believe the LVs defense will improve also. However, the LVs will never win another NC without a genuine first string All-American player like Candace Parker. BTW, UConn could not win another NC without Breanna Stewart. This is why I do not feel too bad about this season because the LVs do not have such a player. I am not settling for mediocrity but this is a proven fact about women's basketball.

RLL59 writes:

Eight turnovers in the last 7 minutes of the first half...a time where there was only one guard on the floor for the Lady Vols, and she is a freshman. It's about time that the risk of a 3rd first half foul be balanced against the risk of the consequences of playing without ball handlers, 3 point defenders, and initiators of the offense. Making substitution decisions based on the scenarios during the game is part of coaching tactics. Taking that option out of ones hands by a preordained policy before the game makes no sense.

If the impact of the 3 point shot wasn't obvious to everyone before, it should be now. The Lady Vols outrebounded and outscored KY inside, but only took five 3 point shots, making one. Defense surely was an issue in this game, but the absence of Meighan and Andraya, as well as the unwillingness of Cierra and Andraya to take shots, cost them this game.

carlvolfan#216136 writes:

RLL59 you are Right on Point. This LV team does NOT have the 3 point shooters needed to win games; why can't the coaching staff see this glaring problem and go out and Recruit some shooters. Our bigs need to be complimented with an outside presence. After watching our LVS give the game away yesterday, I watched UNC vs. NCSU. The Tar Heels hit 13 3 point shots; has our team even come close to hitting 13 this year? I think Not! I know the LVS beat UNC earlier but if a rematch is in our future, then we are in trouble. I predict that UNC will win a NC in the next 4 years with the heralded class that their coaching staff brought to their program. Our recruiting is way off and since our beloved CPS had to leave the game early, we are in for a rude awakening. I kept thinking yesterday while watching the game that if Pat had been coaching, she would have been in the face of some players and I feel she would have found a way to win the game. CHW is out of her league and we will not be prominent until we get a coaching staff that knows how to recruit great all around players. It is a sad state of affairs for the Volunteer Nation in all sports these days, Softball excluded! If any of you readers have any pull in the AD over on the hill, please voice your concern and hopefully a change can be made from a coaching perspective soon! And while I am at it, how in the world was MR rated the number 1 prospect in America last season? She needs a month with former Vol great CP; maybe she could at least show her how to jump for a rebound and not stand flat footed. Hope our LVS win out but Nashville is an unattainable goal and knowledgeable fans know this.

RockyTop1 writes:

Coaching, coaching, coaching...that IS the issue. Players are motivated by a Coach that shows she knows how to respond to their poor play. They WANT to believe they can win but look at this year!

First recorded loss at TBA against LSU and Kentucky this year and South Carolina look unbeatable. If something does not change QUICK we will not even make the sweet 16!!

Simmons has been mentally abused her entire career at UT. I think she would be a Player-of-the-year candidate in ANY OTHER top program in the country. She is THE DRIVING FORCE that should have been able to shine in her senior year.

But no, she can be the leading scorer in one half and not see action till 5 minutes to go and THEN THE COACHES EXPECT her to come off the bench COLD and hit game winners!! What a horrible strategy from the Coaching Staff. If you have a Throughbred let her run that's what she was made TO DO!! This is a sad, sad commentary for the FORMER best Women's Basketball program in the country (that PAT built). We can't even play with the top three in the SEC!

Did I say coaching??? Holly does not have waht is needed or EXPECTED at Tennessee - she is emulating our men's team in too many areas for her own good! Gino is not slowing down and I HATE that...I want OUR Lady Vols back with the right Coach!! She might just be found down in LSU at this moment! Go Lady Vols prove me wrong or let the offer be extended and get back on track with the only Tennessee program of revelance these days!! Too old for a complete rebuild, we need to FIX this NOW!!

murrayvol writes:

in response to RLL59:

Eight turnovers in the last 7 minutes of the first half...a time where there was only one guard on the floor for the Lady Vols, and she is a freshman. It's about time that the risk of a 3rd first half foul be balanced against the risk of the consequences of playing without ball handlers, 3 point defenders, and initiators of the offense. Making substitution decisions based on the scenarios during the game is part of coaching tactics. Taking that option out of ones hands by a preordained policy before the game makes no sense.

If the impact of the 3 point shot wasn't obvious to everyone before, it should be now. The Lady Vols outrebounded and outscored KY inside, but only took five 3 point shots, making one. Defense surely was an issue in this game, but the absence of Meighan and Andraya, as well as the unwillingness of Cierra and Andraya to take shots, cost them this game.

Every coach has a "book". Evidently the "2 foul rule" is chapter 1 in Holly's book.

johnlg00 writes:

As a general proposition, the "2 foul rule" is a sound one. Very few basketball games between evenly-matched opponents are going to be decided in the first half. HOWEVER, when circumstances require it, this policy MUST be adjusted. Without Ariel, there can hardly be a time when both Andraya and Meighan are on the bench for that kind of stretch.

I would also have to say that the officiating was exceptionally bad, even for SEC women's refs. UK was allowed to bludgeon LV players almost at will. I don't like to blame refs for a loss, especially in a game that close, but there were at least a half-dozen calls or no-calls that hurt the LVs. Of course, the more aggressive team usually gets more calls. The tendency of way too many of the LVs to get out of control on drives or fumble the ball in the post or fail to gather themselves to make a strong move combine to make it hard to give them the benefit of the doubt when contact occurs.

MaxVolFan writes:

Simmons should have been at the line shooting three. That would have been ballgame. the refs gave that game to UK.

underthehill writes:

in response to johnlg00:

As a general proposition, the "2 foul rule" is a sound one. Very few basketball games between evenly-matched opponents are going to be decided in the first half. HOWEVER, when circumstances require it, this policy MUST be adjusted. Without Ariel, there can hardly be a time when both Andraya and Meighan are on the bench for that kind of stretch.

I would also have to say that the officiating was exceptionally bad, even for SEC women's refs. UK was allowed to bludgeon LV players almost at will. I don't like to blame refs for a loss, especially in a game that close, but there were at least a half-dozen calls or no-calls that hurt the LVs. Of course, the more aggressive team usually gets more calls. The tendency of way too many of the LVs to get out of control on drives or fumble the ball in the post or fail to gather themselves to make a strong move combine to make it hard to give them the benefit of the doubt when contact occurs.

The officiating was pathetic.. .the refs were being worked hard by Mitchell and it made a huge difference..that should not happen..the leading scorer for Ky ..5'6" went to the line several times simply because the refs anticipated she would be fouled ..she was not..in spite of this ..the turnovers did prove to be the main reason for the loss..Simmons you expect..not Harrison and especially not Burdick..Burdick had been playing very well but she had a real bad game..but for the Lady Vols to have a chance to tie with 5 sec left in the game ..they didn't do that by loafing..they gave it all they had as far as effort is concerned ..

RLL59 writes:

The Lady Vol starting five, plus Ariel, can play with anybody in the country, and are better than all but one, in my opinion. But they've never had the opportunity to play together for lengths of time necessary to gain team cohesion. Until Coach Holly decides she's going to take some risks, and hurt some feelings, they are going to remain an underdeveloped and underachieving team. Fatigue and the real threat of fouling out, not just the perceived need of having less than 3 fouls on every player at the start of the 2nd half, should be the only reasons 5 of those 6 are not in the game against top quality opponents, until the game is secure.

MaxVolFan writes:

in response to RLL59:

The Lady Vol starting five, plus Ariel, can play with anybody in the country, and are better than all but one, in my opinion. But they've never had the opportunity to play together for lengths of time necessary to gain team cohesion. Until Coach Holly decides she's going to take some risks, and hurt some feelings, they are going to remain an underdeveloped and underachieving team. Fatigue and the real threat of fouling out, not just the perceived need of having less than 3 fouls on every player at the start of the 2nd half, should be the only reasons 5 of those 6 are not in the game against top quality opponents, until the game is secure.

You are right . This rotating players in based on defensive needs and foul trouble is not working. The 2 foul rule is not working. Teach your players to play smarter and not foul. Teach discipline. Gosh there are so many elite teams now that play like we use to . Confident that they just can't be beat! I say put your best out there and let them win. Simmons can't get in a rhythm if she's on the bench. Frustrated fan...

Theo writes:

So starting point guard is out. The three point shooter recruited is not playing this year. Two freshmen running the team. The team has shown great progress over the last month. Yet, Holly is a horrible coach.
Did none of the Holly haters out there think KY might be a tough game given the youth of our PG position right now?
It is a shame because I really felt we were going to beat SC for the SEC title.
Hope we get KY at the tournament. We won't lose to them again, see Vandy.
Go Lady Vols and the best staff in the land.

Allenfan writes:

in response to carlvolfan#216136:

RLL59 you are Right on Point. This LV team does NOT have the 3 point shooters needed to win games; why can't the coaching staff see this glaring problem and go out and Recruit some shooters. Our bigs need to be complimented with an outside presence. After watching our LVS give the game away yesterday, I watched UNC vs. NCSU. The Tar Heels hit 13 3 point shots; has our team even come close to hitting 13 this year? I think Not! I know the LVS beat UNC earlier but if a rematch is in our future, then we are in trouble. I predict that UNC will win a NC in the next 4 years with the heralded class that their coaching staff brought to their program. Our recruiting is way off and since our beloved CPS had to leave the game early, we are in for a rude awakening. I kept thinking yesterday while watching the game that if Pat had been coaching, she would have been in the face of some players and I feel she would have found a way to win the game. CHW is out of her league and we will not be prominent until we get a coaching staff that knows how to recruit great all around players. It is a sad state of affairs for the Volunteer Nation in all sports these days, Softball excluded! If any of you readers have any pull in the AD over on the hill, please voice your concern and hopefully a change can be made from a coaching perspective soon! And while I am at it, how in the world was MR rated the number 1 prospect in America last season? She needs a month with former Vol great CP; maybe she could at least show her how to jump for a rebound and not stand flat footed. Hope our LVS win out but Nashville is an unattainable goal and knowledgeable fans know this.

Yes I do agree with most everything you have said. The only thing I question is when the freshmen played in the all star games Russell was the dominant player. I think it is more of us not having a coach to help her reach her potential. If she were on any of the other top teams that recruited her, she would be a freshman All American, just look at the rest of the girls. It is only going to get worse unless a change is made. We can see this, so hopefully the decision makers will as well.

MaxVolFan writes:

Ok this might sound crazy but I truly think we can beat the #1 team in the country right now. Even with the 22 turnover statistically I think we would have beat them based on the way they played against a terrible USF team. And no I'm not drinking .

jmtellico#1438721 writes:

MaxVolFan.....then you are smoking the wrong thing. UConn would beat the LVols easily and in any gym on any night. Don't judge them on one overmatched opponet. They are good...very good and at every position. They would be up for the LVols and take care of business.
AllenFan....recruiting isn't always about "how to recruit". Many HS girls wanted to "play for Pat". That draw is long gone. Success breeds success and right now it sure isn't in Knoxville. Vandy & UK can get players too. We are out of the UConn league in recuiting and I don't see it getting better. Russell really needs improvment or she will remain just another average player. She is slow and doesn't jump well. Griner was only 2" taller and totally dominated the post & the game. Russell just isn't athletic enough. I hope the coaching staff can develop her. If we can get some 3 point shooters, that sure would help as well. Right now we just don't have a team that is very good.

RLL59 writes:

The Lady Vols have the players, unless you believe that for 6 straight years the Lady Vols have just been able to sign the 'wrong' All Americans. Each year that becomes less and less plausible. The problem is they are being coached to play the game the way it used to be played. So instead of recognizing the advantages of the open 3 point shot, we use it as a last resort. Instead of recognizing that the refs are calling 'touch' fouls, especially on the guards, we are overguarding...and losing our starters for much of the game due to fouls. Instead of spreading out our offense, we are clogging up the middle, preventing our guards from penetrating. Instead of having the center and forwards pass the ball out when they are double teamed, we take forced shots. Instead of relying on our upper classmen to play smart and avoid a 3rd foul, we sit them down for the rest of the half, regardless of the game consequences. None of these are effective against quality opponents, but permanent changes away from the old tactics just don't happen, and apparently won't until a head coach from outside the 'family' is brought in.

I'm afraid that prior comments about Mercedes are correct. You can't teach quickness, and I don't think I've ever seen a player learn to jump in college. She can make the short shots and she can learn to improve her position on both offense and defense. But I don't see her living up to what is commonly expected out of the number 1 recruit in the country. I hope I'm wrong.

Allenfan writes:

in response to Theo:

So starting point guard is out. The three point shooter recruited is not playing this year. Two freshmen running the team. The team has shown great progress over the last month. Yet, Holly is a horrible coach.
Did none of the Holly haters out there think KY might be a tough game given the youth of our PG position right now?
It is a shame because I really felt we were going to beat SC for the SEC title.
Hope we get KY at the tournament. We won't lose to them again, see Vandy.
Go Lady Vols and the best staff in the land.

She is not a good coach as far as preparing her team to stop the opposing team's best player. She is not a good bench coach. She seldom says anything to the ref's and look what that got her on
Sunday. Every team this year are playing freshmen, so that is no excuse. We always recruit from the same pool as every other elite team, yet our freshmen girls are the last to develop. She is 0 and three against KY and we have not always started the freshmen. It is not a question of people liking her, it is her coaching ability. You will see as time goes on. She never wins a big game, Vandy is losing every game, and struggles with average teams.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Allenfan:

Yes I do agree with most everything you have said. The only thing I question is when the freshmen played in the all star games Russell was the dominant player. I think it is more of us not having a coach to help her reach her potential. If she were on any of the other top teams that recruited her, she would be a freshman All American, just look at the rest of the girls. It is only going to get worse unless a change is made. We can see this, so hopefully the decision makers will as well.

Not sure I can agree that the LVs don't teach post play well. Seems to me Izzy and Bashaara are pretty good most of the time. Both of them have generally improved their free-throw shooting and their medium-range shots. It seems to me they have been TAUGHT what to do, because we have seen them do it, but I agree that they don't ALWAYS do it that well. That may be a coaching flaw, but it is not the one you suggested.

It is not unusual for a tall young player like Mercedes to be a bit gawky and ungainly but able to dominate nevertheless in HS on sheer height. College players are far more skilled and aggressive in staking out and protecting their positions. There just aren't a lot of Candace Parkers or Maya Moores or Odyssey Sims' out there who come into college ready to dominate.

CaptainPicard writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Not sure I can agree that the LVs don't teach post play well. Seems to me Izzy and Bashaara are pretty good most of the time. Both of them have generally improved their free-throw shooting and their medium-range shots. It seems to me they have been TAUGHT what to do, because we have seen them do it, but I agree that they don't ALWAYS do it that well. That may be a coaching flaw, but it is not the one you suggested.

It is not unusual for a tall young player like Mercedes to be a bit gawky and ungainly but able to dominate nevertheless in HS on sheer height. College players are far more skilled and aggressive in staking out and protecting their positions. There just aren't a lot of Candace Parkers or Maya Moores or Odyssey Sims' out there who come into college ready to dominate.

I agree with your comments on Russell. She needs time to improve. Also, I believe her skill sets are similar to Breanna Stewart of UConn, another late bloomer. I believe Mercedes is a better forward than a center. Holly should insert her into the starting lineup to replace Burdick. I know this seems odd but I challenge you to observe Breanna who is 6'5".

johnlg00 writes:

in response to CaptainPicard:

I agree with your comments on Russell. She needs time to improve. Also, I believe her skill sets are similar to Breanna Stewart of UConn, another late bloomer. I believe Mercedes is a better forward than a center. Holly should insert her into the starting lineup to replace Burdick. I know this seems odd but I challenge you to observe Breanna who is 6'5".

I didn't realize Stewart was that big, but she is far more agile and assertive than Mercedes at this point in their careers. For one thing, Stewart can reliably drill it from anywhere in the front court, while Mercedes struggles to make free-throws. Also, her footwork needs to get a LOT better before she can play effectively away from the basket.

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