Lady Vols fall apart in second half as Notre Dame wins 86-70

Tennessee's Meighan Simmons (10) looses her footing after being fouled by Notre Dame's Natalie Achonwa (11) at Thompson-Boling Arena on Monday, January 20, 2014. 
  
 (SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Saul Young, 2014 Knoxville News Sentinel

Tennessee's Meighan Simmons (10) looses her footing after being fouled by Notre Dame's Natalie Achonwa (11) at Thompson-Boling Arena on Monday, January 20, 2014. (SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

Holly Warlick on UT's loss to Notre Dame

Notre Dame finished what Tennessee started Monday night.

Three consecutive 3-pointers by the Fighting Irish wiped out the remnants of a double-figure first-half deficit and set the stage for the real scoring surge.

They finished with an 86-70 women’s basketball victory over the Lady Vols before a crowd of 13,346 at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Kayla McBride led five double-figure scorers with 22 points for No. 2 Notre Dame (17-0), which scored 45 points after halftime.

Meighan Simmons led No. 11 Tennessee (14-4) with 23 points. After a hot shooting start, the Lady Vols tailed off to 40.9 percent for the game.

Notre Dame hadn’t trailed in a game this season by more than seven points before Monday. But Tennessee led 26-18 within the first 10 minutes after a 3-pointer by Ariel Massengale, who had 14 first-half points.

The Fighting Irish came into the game as the nation’s most accurate shooters at 51.7 percent. The Lady Vols were more accurate for the first 20 minutes, hitting at a 55.9 percent clip.

The Lady Vols led by as many as 12 points and were a missed shot away from a 13-point advantage.

But their hot start added up to something of a missed opportunity after the Fighting Irish scored the final six points of the first half to close within 46-41.

Notre Dame’s leading scorer Jewell Loyd played only five minutes in the half because of foul trouble and McBride matched Massengale with 14 before the break.

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Comments » 30

WaitUntilNextYear writes:

Pathetic effort after numerous missed opportunities to pull away in the first half.
Painful to watch a program falling apart. Players don't fight for loose balls, play defense, challenge the 3, shoot FT's, can run the floor without turnovers, get lazy, make smart passes and have a will to win.
A team that finds a way to lose.
Graves, Burdick and Jones need a psychologist.
The coaching staff is in denial as the LV's continue to regress from a legitimate national program.

WaitUntilNextYear writes:

Oh, I forgot, I have never observed players with such bad hands and the inability to make a layup when your players are all taller than the opposition.
Many times the Lady Vols are out of control throwing up wild shots on dribble drives.
50-50 balls always go to the opponent.
Basic fundamentals are completely missing by these high school All-Americans.
I expect the LV's to mail in the rest of the season, they have no heart.

firstrowupperdeck writes:

bring on tyler!

MaxVolFan writes:

I'm just going to point out things I saw that cost us the game. Why was Izzy on the bench the beginning of the second half? Was it to teach her a lesson of effort? If it was then that was not a wise move to bench your best player. She ended up with 29 mins and a double double but was in the bench at the wrong times. Jasmine Jones love her defense but shouldnt have started. 10 mins of nothing from her. Our inability to defend the perimeter is a huge problem . You guard every player like there an All American. The coaches got nervous right after ND took the lead. The coaches got nervous then the players started to play nervous. And that was with 13 mins left in the game. We got away from going to the post. Ariel went into hiding again and abandon her shots. She relied on someone fouling her driving to the basket too much. Man so much talent no heart.

Theo writes:

in response to WaitUntilNextYear:

Oh, I forgot, I have never observed players with such bad hands and the inability to make a layup when your players are all taller than the opposition.
Many times the Lady Vols are out of control throwing up wild shots on dribble drives.
50-50 balls always go to the opponent.
Basic fundamentals are completely missing by these high school All-Americans.
I expect the LV's to mail in the rest of the season, they have no heart.

Here's a suggestion. Why don't you mail in the rest of the season! I am pretty tired of your constant criticism of the team ans staff. Is your life so pathetic that all you can do is heap scorn on a bunch of 18 to 21 year olds? Perhaps you belong on the couch. Such bitter nastiness is surely a sign of something that is unresolved.

CaptainPicard writes:

The problem with the LVs is a coaching lack of understanding of basketball team fundamentals. The LVs need to establish a starting lineup of Russell, Graves. Harrison, Carter and Massengale. Simmons, Jones, Burdick, Reynolds and Moore can fill in as needed. The 5 starters should play an average of 30 minutes per game. I guarantee that this team will be a much stronger team both on defense and offense. Holly has adopted some of Pat's bad coaching habits but she does not have Pat's greatness and fierce personality to overcome these bad habits. I predicted that ND would defeat the LVs by 30 points. They would have did this except for a slow start.

underthehill writes:

I saw a different team the 2nd half..careless passes..out of control drives by Massengale with no chance to score..direct opposite of her first half play when she was taking open 3 point looks and making accurate passes..loafing on defense..so bad the announcer pointed it out..the team we saw in the first half could win the SEC and make some noise in the big show...no team good enough to play like this team played the first half should come out and go 0 for 9 shooting and turn it over I don't know how many times in the first 5 min of the 2nd half..

Theo writes:

This doesn't have a thing to do with heart. We need someone to step forward and be the leader of this team. Meagan is a great kid but not that "we won't lose" kid. I do agree that this team gets tight. They obviously have final four talent but need to play loose and with confidence. This is a process. Hopefully the first half will wake them up to their potential.
We do have problems getting back out to the three shooters from help side.
Way tired of cranks throwing this team/staff under the bus. This team and staff is capable of winning a NC.

ATL_VOL_FAN writes:

I could not agree with you more "WaitUntilNextYear." Where is the heart, passion, toughness and composure? Where was the coaching? This team is soft and remains on auto-pilot as the staff has no clue what to do as they sit on the pine with their arms folded. Really? Where's the sense of urgency?The crazy herky-jerky shots being thrown up with reckless abandon? There doesn't seem to be any clear leadership or accountability?

vut5686#1405392 writes:

in response to Theo:

This doesn't have a thing to do with heart. We need someone to step forward and be the leader of this team. Meagan is a great kid but not that "we won't lose" kid. I do agree that this team gets tight. They obviously have final four talent but need to play loose and with confidence. This is a process. Hopefully the first half will wake them up to their potential.
We do have problems getting back out to the three shooters from help side.
Way tired of cranks throwing this team/staff under the bus. This team and staff is capable of winning a NC.

I agree this this observation, and mild attempt at optimism. However, the "bus" is still for the moment but game by game, the team, staff and program seems to be crawling under it. If we have the talent, it is the staff's responsibility to prepare them. If we do not have the talent (and that includes "heart," smarts and willingness to be coached), the staff selected them. If they are not coachable, they were the wrong choices in the recruiting process. The clock is ticking and fans are watching. We need to see some proof of that winning capability,

Allenfan writes:

in response to Theo:

This doesn't have a thing to do with heart. We need someone to step forward and be the leader of this team. Meagan is a great kid but not that "we won't lose" kid. I do agree that this team gets tight. They obviously have final four talent but need to play loose and with confidence. This is a process. Hopefully the first half will wake them up to their potential.
We do have problems getting back out to the three shooters from help side.
Way tired of cranks throwing this team/staff under the bus. This team and staff is capable of winning a NC.

If you think this team can win a NC, then you better come out from under your rock. Holly can't even do a interview after the game with mumbling through it, watch sometimes. Their defense was bad even the first half. We would have been down at half if it were not for 2 of their players being on the bench and one of them their best player. It doesn't hurt to admit the truth, she can't coach, prepare, or motivate this team. We are not throwing the coaches under the bus they are rolling under it all by themselves.

Amorphous writes:

in response to Theo:

This doesn't have a thing to do with heart. We need someone to step forward and be the leader of this team. Meagan is a great kid but not that "we won't lose" kid. I do agree that this team gets tight. They obviously have final four talent but need to play loose and with confidence. This is a process. Hopefully the first half will wake them up to their potential.
We do have problems getting back out to the three shooters from help side.
Way tired of cranks throwing this team/staff under the bus. This team and staff is capable of winning a NC.

Good call on a number of counts.
1. This team has final four talent, but not final four basketball fundamentals. That's not something for which talent can cover. They can't hold onto the ball, and they certainly can't pass it at all. Where's Kamiko and her incredible passes?
2. Coaching staff needs to back off and let them play. The "in for 38 seconds and then back out" is silly. You can't even get warmed up in that amount of time.
3. The other reason the coaching staff needs to back off is extreme lack of confidence. The players are always hesitating before making a move and that kills them. Timing and taking advantage of opportunities is so critical, and that only works when you don't have to think before you act. The number of opportunities lost because of stoping and thinking instead of simply getting the ball and executing is astounding, and it's costing us numbers in the win column.
4. This team has the talent to win a NC. What they lack is a head coach who is savvy enough to guide them there.

Theo writes:

in response to Allenfan:

If you think this team can win a NC, then you better come out from under your rock. Holly can't even do a interview after the game with mumbling through it, watch sometimes. Their defense was bad even the first half. We would have been down at half if it were not for 2 of their players being on the bench and one of them their best player. It doesn't hurt to admit the truth, she can't coach, prepare, or motivate this team. We are not throwing the coaches under the bus they are rolling under it all by themselves.

Just finished watching it and think she was right on with many of her observations. If you don't like her speaking style, oh great toastmaster, just read the transcript. It is under quotes.
Holly has to get these kids ready to go play the rest of the season. She has to point out their successes and work on their weaknesses. Some of you folks sound like you won't be happy unless all the scholarships are revoked and the entire staff fired. We are one third of the way through Holly's second season. Her first season by the way ended with overachieving by winning the conference and losing in the elite eight to a team that was playing out of their minds. So hammering the staff may be a bit premature, not to mention ignorant.

ATL_VOL_FAN writes:

"Theo" thankfully you're not the posting police. Please keep in mind, we all have an opinion and are passionate about the Lady Vol Program. We all want the program to succeed. We respect your opinion to post and should do the same for others. The time to become concerned is when people stop posting!

oldster writes:

in response to WaitUntilNextYear:

Pathetic effort after numerous missed opportunities to pull away in the first half.
Painful to watch a program falling apart. Players don't fight for loose balls, play defense, challenge the 3, shoot FT's, can run the floor without turnovers, get lazy, make smart passes and have a will to win.
A team that finds a way to lose.
Graves, Burdick and Jones need a psychologist.
The coaching staff is in denial as the LV's continue to regress from a legitimate national program.

Jones simply cannot shoot the ball. Shrinks are not going to help that. The only remedy is the bench. Burdick was a good shooter when she got here. Now, she is almost as bad a shooter as Jones. She plays really hard, she just cannot make a shot. Graves is a mystery. She was the best player on the team for much of last year and about the first 5 or 6 games this year. She played really hard the first half. She dove for lose balls, etc. Then, she just disappeared.

This is the sloppiest basketball team I have seen - either gender, any level. They quite literally gave ND 10 points on stupid, even-a-9year-old-knows-better-than-to-try-that-pass passes.

It is clear that they will never, ever, ever learn how to stop turning the ball over at a Guinness book of records pace. They seem to glory in seeing how many times they can throw it away.

goobervol writes:

The announcers made some astute observations which they kept repeating and reinforcing throughout the game.
1. The Lady Vols lack intensity, discipline, leadership, and communication.
2. These problems could very well be a direct result of lack of senior leadership because Simmons is the only senior on the team.
3. TN has the talent to reach the Final Four, but they are a very "young" team that lacks 40 minutes of energy to win games.
4. TN reverts to freshmen mistakes when they fall behind a team. They become engulfed in a panic mode that negates clarity of thought.

Just wanted to share with all the evaluation of the Vols from the perspective of the announcers.

Theo writes:

in response to ATL_VOL_FAN:

"Theo" thankfully you're not the posting police. Please keep in mind, we all have an opinion and are passionate about the Lady Vol Program. We all want the program to succeed. We respect your opinion to post and should do the same for others. The time to become concerned is when people stop posting!

So u are the posting police? Opinions are great. Talk about what you would like to see the kids do differently great. Just wholesale nastiness I call bovine skat on. Some folks aren't Lady Vol fans, they just want to criticize kids who have been driving, oh say about three years and staff who works more in a week than some of these posters do in a month. Just sick of them. Support the team or find another school to follow.

WaitUntilNextYear writes:

in response to Theo:

Here's a suggestion. Why don't you mail in the rest of the season! I am pretty tired of your constant criticism of the team ans staff. Is your life so pathetic that all you can do is heap scorn on a bunch of 18 to 21 year olds? Perhaps you belong on the couch. Such bitter nastiness is surely a sign of something that is unresolved.

You know you may be correct. I might mail in the rest of the season because apparently this team isn't the pre-season #3 ranked "Grind For 9," group of players they were hyped to be.
I am sorry, NOT, you are offended of my criticism but as an American, donor to the Lady Vols and 17 year season ticket holder I will speak my opinion.
They are mediocre with no heart or game smarts. The question to be asked is what happened to these super stars and this program?
As for criticizing 18-21 year olds, it comes with the territory of being a student athlete in the former elite BB program in the SEC!
Are you kidding me, they tried to give away the game at Mississippi State in the second half.
This team needs a Nicky Anosikie to kick some butt.

oldster writes:

in response to Theo:

Just finished watching it and think she was right on with many of her observations. If you don't like her speaking style, oh great toastmaster, just read the transcript. It is under quotes.
Holly has to get these kids ready to go play the rest of the season. She has to point out their successes and work on their weaknesses. Some of you folks sound like you won't be happy unless all the scholarships are revoked and the entire staff fired. We are one third of the way through Holly's second season. Her first season by the way ended with overachieving by winning the conference and losing in the elite eight to a team that was playing out of their minds. So hammering the staff may be a bit premature, not to mention ignorant.

I am not convinced that Holly cannot coach, but I am now less convinced that she can than I was at the end of last year.

During her show tonight she admitted that her team missed free throws because they were tired. That may be the reason, but it a lousy excuse. If it is the reason, it is up to her to get them into good enough shape to make free throws all the time.

It was also clear that Coach McGraw made adjustments at half time to take away the lobs to Harrison and Russell that were so successful in the first half. Coach Warlick was, evidently, unable to anticipate what those adjustments might be well enough to prepare a counter to them and was unable to counter them on the fly during the second half.

I have no idea what personality she shows during practices, but it is apparent that this team requires her to be an ogre.

Oh, and she might need to play Tucker this year. Desperate times require desperate measures.

oldster writes:

The team I watched tonight does not deserve to be in the top 25. The LVs have joined the men's athletic programs in the world of the also rans of their respective sports.

MaxVolFan writes:

I want this team to succeed and win it all but for right now they have to get ready for another undefeated in the SEC in less than two days. IMO I would play 5 and keep them in with minimum substitution. Graves, Harrison,Russell, Ariel, and Carter/Simmons. That's it! 30+ mins let them play together. Weve tried everything else and failed so why not. We are just way too careless on the substitutions trying to make every little scheme and protection and defense work that we lose a rhythm a flow of the game. Players start to panic when they get yanked or get thrown in when their teammate isn't doing well. Just let them grow up and play .

1volk-nowi-tall writes:

in response to CaptainPicard:

The problem with the LVs is a coaching lack of understanding of basketball team fundamentals. The LVs need to establish a starting lineup of Russell, Graves. Harrison, Carter and Massengale. Simmons, Jones, Burdick, Reynolds and Moore can fill in as needed. The 5 starters should play an average of 30 minutes per game. I guarantee that this team will be a much stronger team both on defense and offense. Holly has adopted some of Pat's bad coaching habits but she does not have Pat's greatness and fierce personality to overcome these bad habits. I predicted that ND would defeat the LVs by 30 points. They would have did this except for a slow start.

The problem with tonight's game was poor shooting from about 16 minutes into the game until the end. ND shot lights out but had we made half the shots we took over the last 24 minutes we probably would have won. Thought the ladies played much better tonight for most of the game but the poor shooting didn't allow them to stay in the game and was perhaps partial cause for some second half turnovers. And by the way it seems that we have the wrong coach since you have it all figured out. Oh, it should be "would have done this except for a slow start". Playing college basketball is much more difficult than using proper english. Simmons on the bench would have meant finding 23 points somewhere. I can't imagine where this team could have found those points.

Theo writes:

in response to WaitUntilNextYear:

You know you may be correct. I might mail in the rest of the season because apparently this team isn't the pre-season #3 ranked "Grind For 9," group of players they were hyped to be.
I am sorry, NOT, you are offended of my criticism but as an American, donor to the Lady Vols and 17 year season ticket holder I will speak my opinion.
They are mediocre with no heart or game smarts. The question to be asked is what happened to these super stars and this program?
As for criticizing 18-21 year olds, it comes with the territory of being a student athlete in the former elite BB program in the SEC!
Are you kidding me, they tried to give away the game at Mississippi State in the second half.
This team needs a Nicky Anosikie to kick some butt.

Thank you for making my point. They need a leader like a Nicki A. Just because a kid is not like Nicki A. Doesn't mean they deserve ridicule from a supposed adult. Talk to me when you have been donating over 30 yrs and since when does being an American mean you can be a jerk about a bunch of kids.

WaitUntilNextYear writes:

I am losing interest but will have my say especially to ignorant curmudgeons.
By the way dude, they aren't kids.

RLL59 writes:

Does anyone remember Old Dominion or Louisiana Tech, once power houses in the women's basketball arena? Does anyone think that top high school players come from all over the country to be a Lady Vol because of the scenery, the political environment, or the educational ranking of the school? Once they realize that there's no player or team development, and little or no likelihood of a championship, they'll stop coming here...and they won't be back. Then we'll become among the also rans that have to be satisfied with local or state players. It's the future unless the Lady Vols evolve with the changes in women's basketball. Everyone has his or her own opinion as to what needs to be done, but one thing is for sure and that is what has been going on for 5+ years isn't working and is destroying the program.

tip83#1435918 writes:

IN A NUTSHELL, HOLLY CAN'T COACH ON A LEVEL WITH THE BIG GIRL TEAMS. It is a pity to see the level of talent we have be wasted by inept coaching. Our Lady Vols are sinking deep and going down fast. We can recruit on Pat's legacy but if we can't play with the top teams that advantage will go away, quickly!

Allenfan writes:

in response to 1volk-nowi-tall:

The problem with tonight's game was poor shooting from about 16 minutes into the game until the end. ND shot lights out but had we made half the shots we took over the last 24 minutes we probably would have won. Thought the ladies played much better tonight for most of the game but the poor shooting didn't allow them to stay in the game and was perhaps partial cause for some second half turnovers. And by the way it seems that we have the wrong coach since you have it all figured out. Oh, it should be "would have done this except for a slow start". Playing college basketball is much more difficult than using proper english. Simmons on the bench would have meant finding 23 points somewhere. I can't imagine where this team could have found those points.

If you are smart enough to use proper English, then you should be smart enough to see that we have leader than can't coach at this level. You will figure it out eventually, when we finish at 500 or lower in the conference.

CaptainPicard writes:

in response to 1volk-nowi-tall:

The problem with tonight's game was poor shooting from about 16 minutes into the game until the end. ND shot lights out but had we made half the shots we took over the last 24 minutes we probably would have won. Thought the ladies played much better tonight for most of the game but the poor shooting didn't allow them to stay in the game and was perhaps partial cause for some second half turnovers. And by the way it seems that we have the wrong coach since you have it all figured out. Oh, it should be "would have done this except for a slow start". Playing college basketball is much more difficult than using proper english. Simmons on the bench would have meant finding 23 points somewhere. I can't imagine where this team could have found those points.

Thanks for the "done". However, ninety-five percent of the comments on this message board agree coaching is a problem with the LVs. I challenge you to check out the player stats for UCONN. All of their starters average 30 minutes a game except perhaps in a blowout. I do not have it all figured out, as you say. However, frequent player substitutions and lineup changes lead to frequent turnovers and poor execution of offensive and defensive schemes.

MaxVolFan writes:

Lets make boots out of them Gators. GLV! Good night!

NaniMom writes:

Find your best starting five, coach. And leave them in the game UNLESS they are in foul trouble or need a cardio break. Learn from the Notre Dame coach! You've tried it the other way and it is NOT WORKING.

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