Team meeting revealed 'pressure' felt by Meighan Simmons

Tennessee's Meighan Simmons smiles at her teammates on the court as during the game against Tennessee State at Thompson-Boling Arena on Tuesday, December 17, 2013. Tennessee defeated Tennessee State 94-43. 
  
 (SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Saul Young, 2013 Knoxville News Sentinel

Tennessee's Meighan Simmons smiles at her teammates on the court as during the game against Tennessee State at Thompson-Boling Arena on Tuesday, December 17, 2013. Tennessee defeated Tennessee State 94-43. (SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

Meighan Simmons is making her points lately in a variety of ways.

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Comments » 13

RoadTrip writes:

The LVs looked good. But it was only one game. Strong teams play like that consistently - game in and game out. They may not win every game, but they play with the same intensity and focus in the manner they have been coached every game. If this team is to go anywhere in the post season they have to get that now.

jmtellico#1438721 writes:

Simmons has the talent to play the game but for her more than any other player.....it's all mental. Sometimes she is just playing the game by herself, missing shots she should make, taking shots she shouldn't take and making really dumb turnovers. She is either with you or not. Each game is a new creation but like it or not, without her best game, the Lady Vols are not all that good and not a top 10 team.

MaxVolFan writes:

I agree if Simmons plays within herself and doesn't force the issue and feels it. She is great. A streaky play just have to know if their game is on or not . Ariel is the way. She puts too much pressure in herself to lead. Just relax and let the game flow.

RLL59 writes:

Meighan shot 11 for 15 not counting the 3 point shots. Andraya and Meighan both took the ball toward the basket, disrupted the defense, and instantly decided whether to shoot or pass. I think either can hit that 10 ft shot consistently if open. Offensively, that was the key to the A&M game. So far Ariel has not shown she can do anything more in this regard than drive all the way to the basket and throw up a prayer if challenged. The next game will show whether they play like they did against A&M, or revert to passing it around the perimeter and lobbing an ill conceived pass into the clogged paint.

johnlg00 writes:

In my experience, it is only marginally easier for guys to be open and honest with each other. Basketball is the most intimate of the major team sports. The squad is small and the players spend a lot of time together. They also socialize together. There is bound to be occasional tension from any number of sources. The game requires informed individualism, i.e., knowing what a situation requires and acting correctly in the blink of an eye. Basketball players' identities are closely bound up in their game--how they feel about themselves and others--so to criticize one's game is to criticize that person.

Yet a degree of painful honesty is essential for a growing, deepening relationship, on or off the court. They don't have to share everything but they do have to share that which concerns them all. It says much for the team that they were able to have such a conversation and that it has apparently had beneficial effects. I know that Meighan and Bashaara seem to be back on the beam and that Andraya has been a revelation. I get the cynicism caused by their inconsistency, but some people just seem to think coaching and playing ball at the big-college level is a lot simpler and easier than it really is.

CaptainPicard writes:

in response to RLL59:

Meighan shot 11 for 15 not counting the 3 point shots. Andraya and Meighan both took the ball toward the basket, disrupted the defense, and instantly decided whether to shoot or pass. I think either can hit that 10 ft shot consistently if open. Offensively, that was the key to the A&M game. So far Ariel has not shown she can do anything more in this regard than drive all the way to the basket and throw up a prayer if challenged. The next game will show whether they play like they did against A&M, or revert to passing it around the perimeter and lobbing an ill conceived pass into the clogged paint.

Coach Blair of TA&M said that guard play was the key to his team losing to Tenn. The guards were Andraya and Meighan. Andraya brings out the best in Meighan. She is a calming influence for Meighan. I like Ariel's play at point guard. However, Andraya is better at this position. She reminds me of Lindsey Harding who played point guard at Duke. I know this is a difficult decision for Holly but Andraya needs to continue to play the point. This will be a big step in changing the LVs from a good team to an elite team like UConn or Notre Dame.

MaxVolFan writes:

Yeah only the fans should have favorites the coaching staff should choose who best fits the gameplan. This is what makes UT so dangerous . Theres no drop off of talent on the bench. I will be ok with Ariel starting but Carter must be on the floor as much as possible.

RLL59 writes:

in response to MaxVolFan:

Yeah only the fans should have favorites the coaching staff should choose who best fits the gameplan. This is what makes UT so dangerous . Theres no drop off of talent on the bench. I will be ok with Ariel starting but Carter must be on the floor as much as possible.

That's the difficult part. Meighan also has to be in the game as much as possible, and the 3 guard offense didn't really seem to work that well.

underthehill writes:

in response to RLL59:

Meighan shot 11 for 15 not counting the 3 point shots. Andraya and Meighan both took the ball toward the basket, disrupted the defense, and instantly decided whether to shoot or pass. I think either can hit that 10 ft shot consistently if open. Offensively, that was the key to the A&M game. So far Ariel has not shown she can do anything more in this regard than drive all the way to the basket and throw up a prayer if challenged. The next game will show whether they play like they did against A&M, or revert to passing it around the perimeter and lobbing an ill conceived pass into the clogged paint.

A&M appeared to be surprised and not prepared for what Carter brought in this game..her speed in getting the ball down the floor and being under control opened up the floor for open shots for Megan and others..her ability to finish by pulling up for a short jumper.. very few unforced turnovers..Ariel played great the first 10 min of the ND game by staying away from the goal and taking open 3 point shots..her game went south when she tried taking it to the basket ..no competent ref is gonna bail you out for throwing the ball wildly and doing a flop..Ariel has to stop trying to go inside and she will be fine..this team has too much offense from other players to tolerate that act..I think this coaching staff is doing everything they can to make this team the best they can be and they just might get it done by tourn time..Russell is coming on strong..Graves is back on track ..the coaching staff is doing great with the high low game with the bigs..the zone is improving so they now have multiple defenses to throw at the opponent..this is a hard working team and fun to watch..

martinvol34 writes:

They played exceptional when Meighan, Andraya and Jordan were on the floor because Andraya and Jordan both crash the defensive boards and check off on defensive. I am a big fan of Ariel, but she has to commit to defense and rebounding and she does neither. EVER!

Theo writes:

in response to underthehill:

A&M appeared to be surprised and not prepared for what Carter brought in this game..her speed in getting the ball down the floor and being under control opened up the floor for open shots for Megan and others..her ability to finish by pulling up for a short jumper.. very few unforced turnovers..Ariel played great the first 10 min of the ND game by staying away from the goal and taking open 3 point shots..her game went south when she tried taking it to the basket ..no competent ref is gonna bail you out for throwing the ball wildly and doing a flop..Ariel has to stop trying to go inside and she will be fine..this team has too much offense from other players to tolerate that act..I think this coaching staff is doing everything they can to make this team the best they can be and they just might get it done by tourn time..Russell is coming on strong..Graves is back on track ..the coaching staff is doing great with the high low game with the bigs..the zone is improving so they now have multiple defenses to throw at the opponent..this is a hard working team and fun to watch..

I think you hit on something that hasn't been mentioned much. I agree this team is a hard working team. You never hear Holly complain about practice habits or attitude. Just learning how to bring that to the game. It's like bringing a driving range swing to the course. You have to have confidence to do it.
Also agree with the growth of Russell. Seems like the bigs can take a while to catch on but she seems to get better every game. Doesn't panic when she misses just gets it back and tries again. What a front line we have this year and next. If we add A'ja as a 6'4" wing, man that is a big group. One other plus, Jaimie Nared (sp) is supposed to be a great passer and scorer. Would love to see three years inside out with Russell.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Theo:

I think you hit on something that hasn't been mentioned much. I agree this team is a hard working team. You never hear Holly complain about practice habits or attitude. Just learning how to bring that to the game. It's like bringing a driving range swing to the course. You have to have confidence to do it.
Also agree with the growth of Russell. Seems like the bigs can take a while to catch on but she seems to get better every game. Doesn't panic when she misses just gets it back and tries again. What a front line we have this year and next. If we add A'ja as a 6'4" wing, man that is a big group. One other plus, Jaimie Nared (sp) is supposed to be a great passer and scorer. Would love to see three years inside out with Russell.

Don't forget about Jannah Tucker next year. We all believe that the LVs have enough talent to make a Final Four if they all play up to their capabilities and if the coaches can keep the right personnel on the floor at all times. But really, NEXT year is the one everybody should be looking forward to; if Aja Wilson comes aboard and has only as much impact as Russell has had so far this year, the LVs will be untouchable in the front court. The backcourt should be, if not perhaps as explosive without Simmons, steadier and more reliable. THAT team is going to be a marvel to behold.

RLL59 writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Don't forget about Jannah Tucker next year. We all believe that the LVs have enough talent to make a Final Four if they all play up to their capabilities and if the coaches can keep the right personnel on the floor at all times. But really, NEXT year is the one everybody should be looking forward to; if Aja Wilson comes aboard and has only as much impact as Russell has had so far this year, the LVs will be untouchable in the front court. The backcourt should be, if not perhaps as explosive without Simmons, steadier and more reliable. THAT team is going to be a marvel to behold.

I share your optimism, but it's tempered by history. Here's where the Lady Vols recruiting ranked as a team since 2011.
2011 - 1st
2012 - 5th
2013 - 3rd
2014 - 6th (without Aja Wilson)

Before that they were 1st in 2008, and 12th and 14th respectively in 2009 and 2010 (likely because of the 'dream' class of 2008).

Now compare team results...and the sole coaching problem you see is how to keep the right personnel on the floor?? That's a start.

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