Lady Vols shoot 62 percent to stop Arkansas, 70-60

Tennessee forward Bashaara Graves (12), Tennessee guard Andraya Carter (14), and Tennessee guard Meighan Simmons (10), from left, charge off the court after retaking the lead from Arkansas 38-36 at the end of the first half at the Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014. (ADAM LAU/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Lau

Tennessee forward Bashaara Graves (12), Tennessee guard Andraya Carter (14), and Tennessee guard Meighan Simmons (10), from left, charge off the court after retaking the lead from Arkansas 38-36 at the end of the first half at the Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014. (ADAM LAU/NEWS SENTINEL)

Holly Warlick thankful for UT's 70-60 win over Arkansas

On a cold night, Tennessee had a hot shooting hand.

The Lady Vols’ 62.2 percent accuracy from the floor (28 for 45) overcame turnovers, suspect rebounding and finally Arkansas 70-60 Thursday night at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Cierra Burdick and Meighan Simmons scored 16 points apiece to lead No. 10 Tennessee (17-4, 6-2 SEC), which committed 18 turnovers and was outrebounded 31-24.

The Lady Vols held Arkansas to 24 points in the second half.

Jessica Jackson led Arkansas (15-6, 2-6) with 16 points.

Arkansas set the tone from the start of the SEC women’s basketball game with a methodical offense that spread the floor and produced high-percentage shots.

The Razorbacks hit 11 of their first 16 attempts and led 30-22 at one point before halftime. Tennessee switched from man to zone and back to a man alignment, scrambling for some sort of defensive response.

As it turned out, the best response came on offense. Despite losing center Isabelle Harrison to early foul trouble and committing nine first-half turnovers, UT shot a sizzling 64 percent from the floor (16 for 25) during the first 20 minutes.

A Jordan Reynolds’ 3-pointer sent the Lady Vols off at the break with a 38-36 lead.

The Lady Vols played without point guard Ariel Massengale for a second consecutive game. She’s been sidelined since being hit in the face last Thursday against Florida.

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Comments » 25

ATL_VOL_FAN writes:

Glad for the win, but again, where is the defense!

underthehill writes:

SEC ladies basketball is getting tougher..Ark was well coached and played hard..their best player is a freshman and they only have one sr..it took a total team effort by the Lady Vols to win this one..Burdick had her best game of the year..Russell seems to get more confident and play better each game..the coaches made halftime adjustments on defense to slow down the drives by Ark..playing pressure full court on their point guard was a good move..a good game to watch..the Lady Vols refused to lose..

Theo writes:

in response to ATL_VOL_FAN:

Glad for the win, but again, where is the defense!

60 points is not too bad. Believe we held them to 24 in second half.
Really glad for CB. She was due. Onward, we've got a little pay back to extract!

oldster writes:

in response to ATL_VOL_FAN:

Glad for the win, but again, where is the defense!

24 points in the second half is not good enough? Less than 30% shooting by the opposition is not good enough? Holding a team to 60 points for the game is not good enough?

oldster writes:

The LVs got outrebounded, mostly because there were few offensive rebounds to be had as only 17 shots failed to fall.

Allenfan writes:

in response to oldster:

The LVs got outrebounded, mostly because there were few offensive rebounds to be had as only 17 shots failed to fall.

I will take a win any way, form, or fashion. Where is our defense, as we can not depend on our shooting every night. The rebounding was not good, but it looked like when the shots were missed, Arkansas had the inside position most every time. Blocking out will get you more rebounds than being the taller player, as Arkansas showed tonight. I do have one question. Why can every team play seem to be able to drive to the basket?. The more we allow this to happen, the more it is in the game plan of the opposing team. I had much rather look at getting better after a win than a loss in SEC play. Watch game film, and get ready to beat Alabama.

ModelMaker writes:

in response to Allenfan:

I will take a win any way, form, or fashion. Where is our defense, as we can not depend on our shooting every night. The rebounding was not good, but it looked like when the shots were missed, Arkansas had the inside position most every time. Blocking out will get you more rebounds than being the taller player, as Arkansas showed tonight. I do have one question. Why can every team play seem to be able to drive to the basket?. The more we allow this to happen, the more it is in the game plan of the opposing team. I had much rather look at getting better after a win than a loss in SEC play. Watch game film, and get ready to beat Alabama.

I am with you on this one. Your obviously looking down the line and not just this game. This is why I suggested going with Graves, Russell and Harrison inside. I thought together they might be able too stop the driving to the basket. I know this year is this year and next year is next year but just for the fun of it let's look at next year. Is the number 1 recruit in the Nation going to be satisfied coming off the bench and playing only 20 min. a game? How would that look for recruiting? Is Bashaara (listed as a f/c) who was a key player for the Lady Vol's in their SEC championship last year and could be a force this year going too be satisfied coming off the bench next year. What if Russell becomes a force later on this year, are you going too have Graves coming off the bench? I say if you can't get them coached up to stop the drive to the basket why not try what I suggested; we have tried just about everything else. If the coaches don't stop it I don't see the Lady Vol's getting to the final four. End of Story.

oldster writes:

in response to Allenfan:

I will take a win any way, form, or fashion. Where is our defense, as we can not depend on our shooting every night. The rebounding was not good, but it looked like when the shots were missed, Arkansas had the inside position most every time. Blocking out will get you more rebounds than being the taller player, as Arkansas showed tonight. I do have one question. Why can every team play seem to be able to drive to the basket?. The more we allow this to happen, the more it is in the game plan of the opposing team. I had much rather look at getting better after a win than a loss in SEC play. Watch game film, and get ready to beat Alabama.

Evidently you did not watch the second half of this game. Holly and her staff made some pretty effective adjustments on the defense. I do not recall the Lady Hogs getting a basket on a single drive in the second half. I saw them give better help and get several blocks (and the occasional foul in attempting blocks) when Ark tried to drive. Further, the LVs did a much better job with the screening. Of course, it helped that the officials actually called the "roll to the basket" of the screener while in contact with the defender of the ball what it is, a moving screen.

This is a key for any team that plays man defense. It is a rare perimeter defender that can contain their man all night and consistently defeat screens. Therefore, the rest of the team cannot lose sight of the ball and must provide help on drives and, maybe even more importantly, the rest of the team must be alert to rotate to help the helper, etc ( a lot like switching on the screen, this is switching on the drive).

RLL59 writes:

in response to oldster:

24 points in the second half is not good enough? Less than 30% shooting by the opposition is not good enough? Holding a team to 60 points for the game is not good enough?

So....you were happy with the defense? Did this game show progress in that respect? Perhaps from miserable in the first half to adequate in the 2nd. This was a team that had scored 60 or more points once in losing 4 out of their last 5 games, and that was against the last place team in the league There were some good signs in this game, but defense wasn't one of them.

RLL59 writes:

The best thing to come out of this game was Cierra regaining her confidence and having a great game. Arkansas was prepared and defended against the picks and the guards drives into the lane. But they hadn't counted on Cierra being willing to take the medium and long range shots.

How many turnovers resulted from ill advised lobs into the center? 6 or 7? At least one of the coaches should tell the players that, while they'd like the ball to go into the post, if it's not there, don't force it. It's a shame that players are micro managed into making mistakes. It appeared that Meighan, who has been playing under control and passing well, sat on the bench for more than 8 minutes (??) because of a poor decision on just such a pass. She and Andraya need to be on the floor as much as their conditioning will allow. Take what the opposition gives you, not what they're prepared for.

underthehill writes:

in response to oldster:

Evidently you did not watch the second half of this game. Holly and her staff made some pretty effective adjustments on the defense. I do not recall the Lady Hogs getting a basket on a single drive in the second half. I saw them give better help and get several blocks (and the occasional foul in attempting blocks) when Ark tried to drive. Further, the LVs did a much better job with the screening. Of course, it helped that the officials actually called the "roll to the basket" of the screener while in contact with the defender of the ball what it is, a moving screen.

This is a key for any team that plays man defense. It is a rare perimeter defender that can contain their man all night and consistently defeat screens. Therefore, the rest of the team cannot lose sight of the ball and must provide help on drives and, maybe even more importantly, the rest of the team must be alert to rotate to help the helper, etc ( a lot like switching on the screen, this is switching on the drive).

Holly and her staff did make adjustments on defense that played a huge part in this win..Ark has a very good point guard and having Jones and others pressure her full court took away a lot of ability to distribute where she wanted to the 2nd half..Ark had several quick players ..especially Peak..who used the ball screen to get easy shots and the adjustments at half slowed this down..I remember Peak getting an open lane one time late in the 2nd half..the Lady Vols showed a lot of maturity as a team in this one..the surprise of the SEC to me is the Ky Lady Cats..just lost another one last night to Ga...bama changing coaches seems to be helping them..this conference is getting stronger overall..I was more impressed with Holly and her staff in this game ..with their adjustments and substitutions.. Reynolds was outstanding..than any I can recall since she became head coach of the Lady Vols..

RLL59 writes:

in response to oldster:

Evidently you did not watch the second half of this game. Holly and her staff made some pretty effective adjustments on the defense. I do not recall the Lady Hogs getting a basket on a single drive in the second half. I saw them give better help and get several blocks (and the occasional foul in attempting blocks) when Ark tried to drive. Further, the LVs did a much better job with the screening. Of course, it helped that the officials actually called the "roll to the basket" of the screener while in contact with the defender of the ball what it is, a moving screen.

This is a key for any team that plays man defense. It is a rare perimeter defender that can contain their man all night and consistently defeat screens. Therefore, the rest of the team cannot lose sight of the ball and must provide help on drives and, maybe even more importantly, the rest of the team must be alert to rotate to help the helper, etc ( a lot like switching on the screen, this is switching on the drive).

Apparently, you posted this as I was writing my first comment. What you say about the changes in the second half is correct..and somewhat encouraging. But Arkansas is a poor offensive team, as shown by their performance against even 2nd tier teams. Having to shoot 65% to win by 10 against them doesn't indicate they're ready for the best teams.

underthehill writes:

in response to RLL59:

The best thing to come out of this game was Cierra regaining her confidence and having a great game. Arkansas was prepared and defended against the picks and the guards drives into the lane. But they hadn't counted on Cierra being willing to take the medium and long range shots.

How many turnovers resulted from ill advised lobs into the center? 6 or 7? At least one of the coaches should tell the players that, while they'd like the ball to go into the post, if it's not there, don't force it. It's a shame that players are micro managed into making mistakes. It appeared that Meighan, who has been playing under control and passing well, sat on the bench for more than 8 minutes (??) because of a poor decision on just such a pass. She and Andraya need to be on the floor as much as their conditioning will allow. Take what the opposition gives you, not what they're prepared for.

Good observations..I agree it was great to see Burdick play with confidence..I have felt like she was putting too much pressure on herself and it was causing her to be too tense ..she did appear relaxed and confident in this one..as for turnovers..anytime you go inside as much as the Lady Vols did last night you are going to have turnovers ..especially against a zone..you have to balance that with how many points you get by going inside for easy baskets..I think you are correct that too many of the turnovers were forced..but this looks to me like a work in progress and they have to keep going inside..Meghan played a great first half..she came back after the half ..put up a bad shot and had 2 bad turnovers..Holly had to let her sit..when she got back on the floor ..she was ready to play..just a fun game to watch against an opponent that was well coached and played very hard...

ModelMaker writes:

I thought Burdick played her best game of the year. The Lady Vol's played Arkansas tough all the way. Arkansas has a good team. They beat MTSU 66-51 a team that has a 17-3 overall and 6-0 league record this year. The Lady Vol's are looking better as the year progress but they still have problems with Izzy getting into foul trouble and their defense still needs work. Izzy is, in my opinion, the teams best player and for her to be averaging around 20 min. a game for the year is totally unacceptable to me.

WaitUntilNextYear writes:

Good victory in spite of being out rebounded and throwing the ball away.
Arkansas has some really good players and are young. LV'S shooting at the end saved this game. Our bigs have the most weak hands in the SEC, lost too many sure balls.
Good hustle and heart in second half. I wouldn't want to play Arkansas again, especially in their home.
Again, officiating in the SEC is a joke, missed calls or bad calls all night on both teams. The zebras all season have affected league play!

MaxVolFan writes:

in response to WaitUntilNextYear:

Good victory in spite of being out rebounded and throwing the ball away.
Arkansas has some really good players and are young. LV'S shooting at the end saved this game. Our bigs have the most weak hands in the SEC, lost too many sure balls.
Good hustle and heart in second half. I wouldn't want to play Arkansas again, especially in their home.
Again, officiating in the SEC is a joke, missed calls or bad calls all night on both teams. The zebras all season have affected league play!

A real good test against a real scrappy team who has kept every SEC team below their scoring average this year. For the first time this year I have no complaints about the substitutions because it was managed well with the adjustments. Jasmine Jones played really well because she was in there for defensescreens for her offense. Again Carter is a true point guard that controls the floor with feeling pressure at all. She has ice in her veins. I watched her shed those screens like they weren't there at all. Proud of Burdick being a defensive leader and finally getting her shot back. This team is starting to peak and ready to make some noise. Our strength is our depth. That's how we are going to make it to Nashville. Oh to your point about weak hands its the point of entry on the pass . Like Izzy can go up for a high pass while Russell is better getting a entry pass or bounce pass chest high.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Theo:

60 points is not too bad. Believe we held them to 24 in second half.
Really glad for CB. She was due. Onward, we've got a little pay back to extract!

Right. The point of defense is to ensure that the other team doesn't score enough to beat you, not to measure itself against some arbitrary standard. Of course, you hate to give up easy shots, but if your team can get them back on offense, it all cancels out. Then if you can pick up your own offense a little more and/or tighten up the defense a little more in "winning time", that is the way most teams win most of the time.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to RLL59:

Apparently, you posted this as I was writing my first comment. What you say about the changes in the second half is correct..and somewhat encouraging. But Arkansas is a poor offensive team, as shown by their performance against even 2nd tier teams. Having to shoot 65% to win by 10 against them doesn't indicate they're ready for the best teams.

We already know that the LVs by and large lack the foot speed across the board to contain drivers one-on-one. That is why they are using the zone so much. Most of successful drives were against the man-to-man. Since Arkansas, like many contemporary teams, doesn't shoot well from outside, you pack it in and hope they miss. If the other team does that to you and you miss, you will probably lose the game unless they are missing worse. And that's the whole point; you don't have to excel in every phase of the game all the time to win most of the time. Of course, the tighter the better and nobody should relax on defense, but you play what you have in the way that you think gives you the best chance to win, and that is about all you CAN do.

johnlg00 writes:

PS: As you might have gathered from another post on this general subject, I don't actually like to just "pack it in" against anybody. There may not be a whole LOT of great shooters out there, but most teams have one or two who can fill it up if you let them shoot free and get their confidence up. The whole zone should shift toward potential shooters so somebody can body up on them without fear of giving up the drive.

Allenfan writes:

in response to oldster:

Evidently you did not watch the second half of this game. Holly and her staff made some pretty effective adjustments on the defense. I do not recall the Lady Hogs getting a basket on a single drive in the second half. I saw them give better help and get several blocks (and the occasional foul in attempting blocks) when Ark tried to drive. Further, the LVs did a much better job with the screening. Of course, it helped that the officials actually called the "roll to the basket" of the screener while in contact with the defender of the ball what it is, a moving screen.

This is a key for any team that plays man defense. It is a rare perimeter defender that can contain their man all night and consistently defeat screens. Therefore, the rest of the team cannot lose sight of the ball and must provide help on drives and, maybe even more importantly, the rest of the team must be alert to rotate to help the helper, etc ( a lot like switching on the screen, this is switching on the drive).

Any time that you have to shoot 62% to beat a second tier team at HOME it doesn't say a lot for your defense. They did some things better in the second half, but not nearly enough to be a championship contender. You will sooner or later have a bad shooting night, and you will loose as you have done 4 times this year. There should not be a whole lot of adjustments during the game, as every team does the same thing to us. We should be prepared with the athletes that we have, so when we are not, there is only one reason, you figure it out.

CaptainPicard writes:

The LVs should stick with the starting lineup of Harrison, Graves, Burdick, Simmons and Carter. This "best player per position" lineup should play at least 30 minutes per game. Lineup substitutions should be kept to a minimum (foul trouble, sickness/injury, fatigue). Geno at UConn uses this lineup scheme and it works. The LVs will never be an elite or Final Four team until this lineup scheme is adopted. I wish someone could communicate this to Holly.

oldster writes:

in response to RLL59:

So....you were happy with the defense? Did this game show progress in that respect? Perhaps from miserable in the first half to adequate in the 2nd. This was a team that had scored 60 or more points once in losing 4 out of their last 5 games, and that was against the last place team in the league There were some good signs in this game, but defense wasn't one of them.

I was happy with the defense in the second half. What I am not happy with is the turnovers. Of the 18 of them, at least 8 were unforced and resulted from lack of attention - throwing the ball at a tall person's shin, not looking the ball into your hands, trying to dribble before catching the ball, throwing the ball behind someone on the move, etc.

I do not know how many of those unforced turnovers resulted in breakaway layups (I know of one for sure), but it is hard to put those points on bad defense. Further, had the LVs hit 62% on those 8 turnovers (getting 8 shots instead), they would have won by 18 or 20 points.

oldster writes:

in response to johnlg00:

We already know that the LVs by and large lack the foot speed across the board to contain drivers one-on-one. That is why they are using the zone so much. Most of successful drives were against the man-to-man. Since Arkansas, like many contemporary teams, doesn't shoot well from outside, you pack it in and hope they miss. If the other team does that to you and you miss, you will probably lose the game unless they are missing worse. And that's the whole point; you don't have to excel in every phase of the game all the time to win most of the time. Of course, the tighter the better and nobody should relax on defense, but you play what you have in the way that you think gives you the best chance to win, and that is about all you CAN do.

Arkansas shot the ball pretty well from the outside when they could just catch and shoot. That is why the LVs played so much man. BTW: I know of few female basketball players quicker than Carter or Simmons. Moreover, Massengale, who at times last year appeared to be nailed to the floor, has really improved her lateral movement to the point where she can actually stay with about half the point guards she is called upon to guard.

These girls are not the best at stopping the dribble drive, but a lot of the problem that this team has, as does many teams that has this problem is a lack of help on such drives. Last night, in the second half, they got it.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to oldster:

Arkansas shot the ball pretty well from the outside when they could just catch and shoot. That is why the LVs played so much man. BTW: I know of few female basketball players quicker than Carter or Simmons. Moreover, Massengale, who at times last year appeared to be nailed to the floor, has really improved her lateral movement to the point where she can actually stay with about half the point guards she is called upon to guard.

These girls are not the best at stopping the dribble drive, but a lot of the problem that this team has, as does many teams that has this problem is a lack of help on such drives. Last night, in the second half, they got it.

It's not so much a lack of straight-ahead speed, it's slow lateral movement. The LVs get too easily faked out, start lunging and reaching, and the opponent goes right around them. It's not that every single player is slow, it's that the weak defenders put everybody else in jeopardy. As you said, the help defense leaves much to be desired. This team probably is not ready to win a championship right NOW, but they seem to have figured out a few things, and if they can establish a steady upward trend of improvement, they could be good to win by the time the tourney comes around.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to RLL59:

The best thing to come out of this game was Cierra regaining her confidence and having a great game. Arkansas was prepared and defended against the picks and the guards drives into the lane. But they hadn't counted on Cierra being willing to take the medium and long range shots.

How many turnovers resulted from ill advised lobs into the center? 6 or 7? At least one of the coaches should tell the players that, while they'd like the ball to go into the post, if it's not there, don't force it. It's a shame that players are micro managed into making mistakes. It appeared that Meighan, who has been playing under control and passing well, sat on the bench for more than 8 minutes (??) because of a poor decision on just such a pass. She and Andraya need to be on the floor as much as their conditioning will allow. Take what the opposition gives you, not what they're prepared for.

You draw a pretty fine line between exercising discipline on the court and stifling the players' creativity. You criticize them for turning the ball over on ill-advised passes, suggest that Holly should stop them from doing that, and then go on about the players being "micromanaged into making mistakes". It's not always easy to decide which problems need fixing the most. Ideally, the players are coached to play with minimal direction from the bench, but sometimes it is necessary to make in-game changes. It's another fine line how much good it is to try to change a player's basic nature. So if Holly just lets players do what they want, she isn't exercising enough control, but when she does try to make a point by benching Meighan, that is "micromanaging". Nobody gets everything right all the time; sometimes you have to trust your players and sometimes you have to bring the hammer down. No coach gets this balance right all the time. Of course, continued improvement should be the LVs' goal, and goodness knows they have a number of areas they could stand to tighten up in, but you go with what you've got, do the best you can, and hope your strengths cancel out your weaknesses. It was ever thus.

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