The Tennessee Lady Vols lost to the Arkansas Razorbacks on the road 64-59 Thursday, making it officially time to put coach Holly Warlick on the hot seat.
For three years I held off on this. But honestly, it should have already been the case when you consider the experience Holly Warlick was working with in previous years.
But going into this year, with only one senior starting and only two logging significant minutes of any kind, it seemed fair to give Holly Warlick a pass.
A 64-59 loss to the Arkansas Razorbacks changed all of that.
Let’s be clear…this was a bad team at 7-10.
And with the No. 146 ranked defense, No. 155 in field goal percentage defense, Tennessee responded with another atrocious shooting night.
The Vols shot worse than 35 percent from the field and below 30 percent from beyond the arc. In general women’s basketball, that’s okay.
But it’s not okay when you’re Tennessee and you have the talent. While there’s only one senior starter, there are two three-year players and another four-year player in the lineup. So the excuses are running thin, and Warlick’s misuse of her team’s strengths is evident.
Mercedes Russell is by far the most talented player and should be the heart of the offense at center. Thursday, she shot 80 percent from the field. So how did she only manage five shots???
And then Bashaara Graves, who is the most experienced of the crew as the only senior starter, only gets five shots while shooting 60 percent???
Meanwhile, players like Te’a Cooper, who shot 1-of-9 from the field, Jaime Nared, who shot 2-of-11 from the field, and Diamond DeShields, who shot 6-of-16 from the field, continue to get the bulk of the shots as under-achievers.
By the way, all of these players were five-star Top 10 recruits.
And speaking of recruiting, Warlick’s mark is nowhere to be found on the recruiting trail this year either. According to ESPN HoopGurlz Recruiting for 2016, Tennessee has all of 0 top 100 recruits. And don’t sell me on youth and limited roster spots when you’ve got two seniors leaving.
It’s time to stop making excuses for Warlick. Since she took over, which really happened Pat Summitt’s final year, the Vols have only reached 30 wins once: last year when they were led by two seniors along with Graves.
So while I won’t call for Warlick to be fired today, it is time to release an ultimatum. Tennessee has to correct their issues and make a Final Four run this year.
The outlook does not look good otherwise.
With no big recruits and the sporadically bad offensive outings, the Lady Vols are falling back into the pack of women’s basketball. And that should never happen. This has to be it for Warlick.