Meighan Simmons performs wisely for Lady Vols, 76-55

Massengale doesn't make road game

Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee Athletics

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — On a sunny Sunday afternoon, Meighan Simmons inspired a sudden torrent.

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Comments » 26

Theo writes:

Really glad for this team and staff. Great win. Particularly without Ariel. I think this team learned some valuable lessons in the ND game. Mostly when the other team makes a run you can't just become five individuals trying to win a game.
Know there will be more stumbles along the way but I see growth.
Notice some of the complainers and Holly haters haven't checked in after this one. Guess they're busy deciding whether to bake or fry that crow.
Go Lady Vols!

snowpeapod#263184 writes:

I think there were two keys in the game today. One was obviously the play of Carter and secondly I thought the play of Russell coming off the bench to provide stellar play was extremely important. What else can you say about Simmons. It was simply the best game of her career. IMO.

Theo writes:

in response to snowpeapod#263184:

I think there were two keys in the game today. One was obviously the play of Carter and secondly I thought the play of Russell coming off the bench to provide stellar play was extremely important. What else can you say about Simmons. It was simply the best game of her career. IMO.

Agree and agree.

kbohstedt writes:

I agree -- Meighan was in The Zone -- amazing! Russell looks better every game - she seems so calm and fluid, and aggressive when she needs to be. Andraya was excellent on both ends -- what spark! Bashaara is Baack! and I also notice that Cierra Burdick provides real floor leadership, like a keel to the ship - rebounding, hitting the clutch shot, moving the ball, and just steadying the whole enterprise! Great team win in a tough place!

Allenfan writes:

in response to Theo:

Really glad for this team and staff. Great win. Particularly without Ariel. I think this team learned some valuable lessons in the ND game. Mostly when the other team makes a run you can't just become five individuals trying to win a game.
Know there will be more stumbles along the way but I see growth.
Notice some of the complainers and Holly haters haven't checked in after this one. Guess they're busy deciding whether to bake or fry that crow.
Go Lady Vols!

I am checking in. Yes they played a very good game, but not a great game. Their shots will not always fall as they did tonight and you have to win with defense. The Aggies had open looks all afternoon and were unable to knock them down. Their defense is still not where it needs to be, but this is a great start on the road against the league leader. This is the second game that she has used timeouts to stop runs, maybe she reads these messages. If they continue to improve, and let Jones play defense only, because she is a turnover machine, I may see you in Nashville after all. I love the Lady Vols and I can see the talent, but I see the problems as well that can't be ignored.

Theo writes:

in response to Allenfan:

I am checking in. Yes they played a very good game, but not a great game. Their shots will not always fall as they did tonight and you have to win with defense. The Aggies had open looks all afternoon and were unable to knock them down. Their defense is still not where it needs to be, but this is a great start on the road against the league leader. This is the second game that she has used timeouts to stop runs, maybe she reads these messages. If they continue to improve, and let Jones play defense only, because she is a turnover machine, I may see you in Nashville after all. I love the Lady Vols and I can see the talent, but I see the problems as well that can't be ignored.

Agreed their defense is still a work in progress. Sometimes even good defense can't stop a player who is on fire. A&M evidently has a great defense yet on this day they could not stop Meghan.
Hopefully their confidence will continue to build as well their skills. And maybe we can all throw a big party in Nashville!

CaptainPicard writes:

Good win yesterday at TA&M. However, I maintain still that LVs will be consisent from game to game if: the starting lineup is finalized and player substitutions (except in a blowout) are limited to 3 reasons:

1. Player is in foul trouble (Harrison most of the time).
2. Player is sick or injured (Massengale).
3. Player is fatigued and performance is degraded due to fatigue.

Check out UConn starters "Minutes Played" statistics on ESPN if anyone does not believe that the above player procedures will not result in greater team consistency on defense and offense plus a decrease in turnovers.

MaxVolFan writes:

Pleased with the win . It will be very interesting to see if Ariel is back in the starting role against Ark. I really like Hollys player management against the Aggies. I truly think a shorten bench will help this team get stronger. A 7 player rotation is all that's need with Jones, Jordan, and Nia subbing for breathers or when the game is well in hand. Im not saying they can't handle the positions. Just feel if a team can become stronger they have to shorten the bench a bit. We beat one of the toughest defenses easily today and could have scored more if the 3s were falling. I've been critical yes but I still believe and Carolyn Peck believes this could be a final four team. We have the talent like the past five teams before. Question is does this team have the heart and the smarts to get there.
The other conferences is a joke compared to the SEC. I just hope UT learns and gets experience going into touney play.

underthehill writes:

A&M coach nailed it..the guard play was the key..Carter with the ball in her hands brings more speed and ability to drive to the basket and this frees up Simmons for better looks at the basket..resulted in fewer turnovers..made it easier to get assists..improved the defense.. Simmons is far more capable of playing zone than man defense..and if the staff can continue to improve the zone..this team can be good enough to make the final four..but Carter has to be on the floor at crunch time..she is the most all around talented Lady Vol..

nanny334#1419965 writes:

A good win, improvement in player rotation but can still get better, did not like 3 guards in the game in 1st half when game was not yet won.
Inside game showed improvement but must still get better There will be games when guard shooting is 3 of 15 rather than 12 of 19. Will our other guards be able to pick up the slack?

snowpeapod#263184 writes:

in response to MaxVolFan:

Pleased with the win . It will be very interesting to see if Ariel is back in the starting role against Ark. I really like Hollys player management against the Aggies. I truly think a shorten bench will help this team get stronger. A 7 player rotation is all that's need with Jones, Jordan, and Nia subbing for breathers or when the game is well in hand. Im not saying they can't handle the positions. Just feel if a team can become stronger they have to shorten the bench a bit. We beat one of the toughest defenses easily today and could have scored more if the 3s were falling. I've been critical yes but I still believe and Carolyn Peck believes this could be a final four team. We have the talent like the past five teams before. Question is does this team have the heart and the smarts to get there.
The other conferences is a joke compared to the SEC. I just hope UT learns and gets experience going into touney play.

You surely aren't suggesting that when Ariel comes back that she is relegated to the bench are you? I think an 8 player rotation would work well and use of the others should be used as the game dictates.

RLL59 writes:

in response to nanny334#1419965:

A good win, improvement in player rotation but can still get better, did not like 3 guards in the game in 1st half when game was not yet won.
Inside game showed improvement but must still get better There will be games when guard shooting is 3 of 15 rather than 12 of 19. Will our other guards be able to pick up the slack?

It's true that Meighan's not going to shoot at this level every game, but what does improve everyone's shooting is being open. In this game, Andraya and Meighan taking the ball into the circle opened up shots for both them and the forwards/centers. Disrupting the defense was and is key....it's what every opponent has been doing to the Lady Vols when they don't play zone.

ModelMaker writes:

I thought Meighan was great and played the smartest game of her career, but looking beyond her, I thought the "key" to the game was Carter at the point and Holly going primarily with the three big's inside for just about all of the game. Carter really has a steadying affect on the team and I really like the way she runs things. I couldn't get over the marked difference in turnovers. This was the first game that I truly enjoyed this year. If Holly continues to stay with this concept, I think the Lady Vols will do well going down the stretch.

RLL59 writes:

in response to MaxVolFan:

Pleased with the win . It will be very interesting to see if Ariel is back in the starting role against Ark. I really like Hollys player management against the Aggies. I truly think a shorten bench will help this team get stronger. A 7 player rotation is all that's need with Jones, Jordan, and Nia subbing for breathers or when the game is well in hand. Im not saying they can't handle the positions. Just feel if a team can become stronger they have to shorten the bench a bit. We beat one of the toughest defenses easily today and could have scored more if the 3s were falling. I've been critical yes but I still believe and Carolyn Peck believes this could be a final four team. We have the talent like the past five teams before. Question is does this team have the heart and the smarts to get there.
The other conferences is a joke compared to the SEC. I just hope UT learns and gets experience going into touney play.

Agree, as usual, with most of what you say here. But do you really believe that the 'question' whether this team succeeds is whether they have 'heart and smarts'? I understand that that is the answer for everyone who wants to exonerate the coaches from any responsibility, but the differences today had more to do with successful changes in strategy (substitution patterns, time out calls, driving into the paint, zone defense on throw ins under their own basket, setting picks) as it did with player attitudes and intelligence. Please give these young women a break after such a great outing.

Allenfan writes:

in response to RLL59:

Agree, as usual, with most of what you say here. But do you really believe that the 'question' whether this team succeeds is whether they have 'heart and smarts'? I understand that that is the answer for everyone who wants to exonerate the coaches from any responsibility, but the differences today had more to do with successful changes in strategy (substitution patterns, time out calls, driving into the paint, zone defense on throw ins under their own basket, setting picks) as it did with player attitudes and intelligence. Please give these young women a break after such a great outing.

I agree with you RLL59. You can see changes since the first few games when Holly never choose to use a timeout. The subbing seemed to work well yesterday, and yes Russell is looking better every game. Keep working on defense as they still got several open shots from the outside. I don't think that I have seen better footwork than what Harrison is showing this year. We have the pieces to the puzzle. This is the best that I have seen us look for a full 40 minutes against a quality team.

jmtellico#1438721 writes:

This was a very good game and totally out of character for this team. Simmons actually was the difference where in the past she also has been the difference....in losses. Smart play is a very good description of their play. They didn't force shots and with everyone being involved, they were hard to defend.

MaxVolFan writes:

in response to snowpeapod#263184:

You surely aren't suggesting that when Ariel comes back that she is relegated to the bench are you? I think an 8 player rotation would work well and use of the others should be used as the game dictates.

I'm not implying that at all. I'm saying that Carter has to be on the court either with Ariel or with Simmons. The game just flows better when Carter is in the game. She plays smart basketball and can not get beat on screens. Ariel manages the game well but needs to be patient and don't turn the ball over .

Scout report: I like the Vols chances of winning it all . Here's why.
I think the team to beat is not Uconn but ND. Uconn has a very short bench with only two that are good coming off the bench. ND knows how to beat them and for a half we beat ND. UT can have players in foul trouble and still be ok. If we can stop a teams strength or limit bench points (31) ND bench pts . We have a outside shot of winning it all. I'm very curious to see how Louisville plays against a banged up Uconn team. The Huskies wins in scoring runs. You stop the runs you have a chance.

MaxVolFan writes:

in response to Allenfan:

I agree with you RLL59. You can see changes since the first few games when Holly never choose to use a timeout. The subbing seemed to work well yesterday, and yes Russell is looking better every game. Keep working on defense as they still got several open shots from the outside. I don't think that I have seen better footwork than what Harrison is showing this year. We have the pieces to the puzzle. This is the best that I have seen us look for a full 40 minutes against a quality team.

I guess your right about having heart . I should go with mental toughness which has been lacking for years now. Look the game has changed drastically since the Parker and Griner years. Coaches has started adopting the 'Summitt' way of coaching and now there's about 10-15 really good teams compared to about 5-6 ten years ago. One thing this team lacks is a get in your face hardnose leader that puts everything on the line for her team. I believe Burdick is that type of player and needs to be vocal. I think the 6 o clock team meeting turned this team around but stilla hard road ahead. Gone are the days of easy wins unless you are in the AAC. What a joke. Lol

Tennman78 writes:

Excellent game -- very few missed layups and point blank shots, and only 10 turnovers! Better toughness on defense, and I agree on the best the team has looked for 40 minutes -- No let-downs! No runs of more than 4-5 points before we stretched it back out.

Still a little tentative at times at going inside. I want to see us get it to the posts on the block, at least 50% of the time. We showed that if they make the short shots, how effective we can be.

Also still need a little more toughness on D. Much better in this game, but there needs to be just a little more consistent shot-blocking and head pounding when someone tries to drive on us. Again much better, but I remember the corn-fed chicks era, and want to see more fear in the eyes of the opponents, when driving on our Big's.

RLL59 writes:

in response to MaxVolFan:

I guess your right about having heart . I should go with mental toughness which has been lacking for years now. Look the game has changed drastically since the Parker and Griner years. Coaches has started adopting the 'Summitt' way of coaching and now there's about 10-15 really good teams compared to about 5-6 ten years ago. One thing this team lacks is a get in your face hardnose leader that puts everything on the line for her team. I believe Burdick is that type of player and needs to be vocal. I think the 6 o clock team meeting turned this team around but stilla hard road ahead. Gone are the days of easy wins unless you are in the AAC. What a joke. Lol

Again, I don't disagree with you that a leader on the floor is a real asset, nor that the SEC is the toughest conference. But the 'Griner' years ended in 2013, not ages ago. And like any sport, competitors look for ways to overcome and offset the successful strategies of their rivals, not to play exactly like they do. Most everyone agrees that Coach Summitt contributed more to women's basketball than anyone, and arguably she was the best coach the game has seen, but the top teams of today don't emulate her on court strategies. And those strategies were already failing before and after the years of the superstar Candace Parker. Overguarding quicker opponents, refusing to screen for 3 point shooters, centers who clog the lane and effectively prevent our guards from penetrating, disdain for the outside game and forced passes into the middle when the opponent knows that they're coming; the better teams don't do any of this and haven't for years. Quickness and open shots are prerequisites to beating Summitt/Warwick coached teams...and the best teams have both and have been beating the more talented Lady Vols for several years. I understand that this is just my opinion, but until someone can explain, other than simply bad luck, why the Lady Vols have failed for nearly 6 years to meet expectations, my explanations seem more credible than blaming it on the players' character faults.

MaxVolFan writes:

in response to RLL59:

Again, I don't disagree with you that a leader on the floor is a real asset, nor that the SEC is the toughest conference. But the 'Griner' years ended in 2013, not ages ago. And like any sport, competitors look for ways to overcome and offset the successful strategies of their rivals, not to play exactly like they do. Most everyone agrees that Coach Summitt contributed more to women's basketball than anyone, and arguably she was the best coach the game has seen, but the top teams of today don't emulate her on court strategies. And those strategies were already failing before and after the years of the superstar Candace Parker. Overguarding quicker opponents, refusing to screen for 3 point shooters, centers who clog the lane and effectively prevent our guards from penetrating, disdain for the outside game and forced passes into the middle when the opponent knows that they're coming; the better teams don't do any of this and haven't for years. Quickness and open shots are prerequisites to beating Summitt/Warwick coached teams...and the best teams have both and have been beating the more talented Lady Vols for several years. I understand that this is just my opinion, but until someone can explain, other than simply bad luck, why the Lady Vols have failed for nearly 6 years to meet expectations, my explanations seem more credible than blaming it on the players' character faults.

You have some good points but I wasn't really speaking so much about Pats Xs and Os as a coach. Pat made coaches study harder, invest in the womens game, recruit better players because every team wanted the success UT had . Will our lady Vols regress like teams that faded away after being elite? No . But we have to adapt to change to be that top team once again. The reason I mentioned Griner is because she gave coaches nightmares on how to defend her and she really changed the game a little by making opponents stronger defensively. The playing fields are level again for teams to have a opportunity to make it to the final four.

RLL59 writes:

in response to MaxVolFan:

You have some good points but I wasn't really speaking so much about Pats Xs and Os as a coach. Pat made coaches study harder, invest in the womens game, recruit better players because every team wanted the success UT had . Will our lady Vols regress like teams that faded away after being elite? No . But we have to adapt to change to be that top team once again. The reason I mentioned Griner is because she gave coaches nightmares on how to defend her and she really changed the game a little by making opponents stronger defensively. The playing fields are level again for teams to have a opportunity to make it to the final four.

We're on the same page on everything you say above.

Theo writes:

Think I am just adding the Amen at this point but I do wish we had a kid with a little 'tude. This isn't about hearts or smarts. Just remember a couple we have had - Nicki A., Candace P. - that when they swatted the ball away (or the dribbler on occasion) they gave that "Are you kidding me, don't come in here again" look. LOL.

MaxVolFan writes:

in response to Theo:

Think I am just adding the Amen at this point but I do wish we had a kid with a little 'tude. This isn't about hearts or smarts. Just remember a couple we have had - Nicki A., Candace P. - that when they swatted the ball away (or the dribbler on occasion) they gave that "Are you kidding me, don't come in here again" look. LOL.

True I would like to see that too but players can't get too emotional to prevent technicals. Even a Mutumbo finger wag would draw a tech.

ModelMaker writes:

in response to Theo:

Think I am just adding the Amen at this point but I do wish we had a kid with a little 'tude. This isn't about hearts or smarts. Just remember a couple we have had - Nicki A., Candace P. - that when they swatted the ball away (or the dribbler on occasion) they gave that "Are you kidding me, don't come in here again" look. LOL.

I agree. That's why I think Russell will be a big key going down the stretch; one way or another.

johnlg00 writes:

Hope Meighan has a WHOLE LOT more games like that left this year. If she can just keep herself out of her own way, she will be fine. Sometimes players just overthink things. I think the same thing happened to Cierra for awhile. If they ever all get on the same page for a whole game and STAY THERE, they will be fine.

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