Tennessee Lady Vols: Three Takeaways from Loss to Kentucky Wildcats

The Tennessee Lady Vols lost to the Kentucky Wildcats 64-63 Monday night to fall to 12-7 on the year. Here are three takeaways on the Volunteers’ loss.

A late fourth-quarter surge to nearly erase a 10-point deficit with less than five minutes to go was not enough, and the Tennessee Women’s Basketball team fell to 3-3 in the SEC in a one-point loss in Lexington to the No. 12 ranked Kentucky Wildcats.

The Lady Vols had built a seven-point halftime lead, but an atrocious third quarter and first half of the fourth quarter saw Kentucky go on a 29-12 run against them.

And then the offense decided to once again show some effort, until the end, when Te’a Cooper missed a free throw to tie the game up and then couldn’t get off a shot as the clock ran out.

While the effort was there, the execution wasn’t.

Here are three takeaways from the game.

1. Offensive execution is pathetic

This one continues to get more and more obvious as time goes on. But it really showed Monday. The Lady Vols had no problem shooting the ball in this game, going 6-for-12 from the three-point line and 11-of-15 from the free throw line. But somehow the easy buckets under the basket were hard to come by.

It resulted in another atrocious scoring quarter for the Lady Vols, as they were held to nine points in the third. The worst part came near the end. Te’a Cooper missed a game-tying free throw, but after Andraya Carter got an offensive rebound, she couldn’t finish underneath the basket.

That’s been the story of the season for this team.

2. Basic fundamentals are not being coached

Not to bring this on Holly Warlick again, but perhaps she could focus on a little more to basketball than just defense and rebounding. How about coaching ball movement, clock awareness, and limiting turnovers?

On a night when outside shooting was fine for the Lady Vols, her team had 21 turnovers to Kentucky’s 10. Seriously?

So if they’re shooting well, they find other ways to not score. That was what happened Monday. Add in the end of the game, and somebody should be arrested for that. Kentucky missed to free throws, and the Lady Vols had a chance to win down by one with seconds left. But Te’a Cooper dribbled all the way to the basket and never got up a shot as time expired.

Perhaps she could learn to look at the clock. But then again, she’s only a freshman, and learning that would require coaching from Warlick. Not going to happen.

3. A little more tempo would do the Lady Vols some good

Down 57-47 with less than five minutes to go, Holly Warlick got desperate and turned to a full-court press. It worked to perfection for her basketball team.

While the Wildcats only had 10 turnovers, the Lady Vols were able to score transition buckets and get their offense back in rhythm to win the game. Maybe this is the key for them turning things around.

Warlick clearly is clueless on offense. Lots of college basketball coaches just turn to a full-court press and tempo when they can’t coach offense, so she might as well do it. Tennessee has the size, athleticism, and shooters to play up-tempo. If they can, they should. It might create a few more easy buckets for them.