Well that was a quick fall. After an offseason of incredible hype and entering the year ranked No. 5 in both polls, the Tennessee Lady Vols fell on the road to the Ohio State Buckeyes 87-75. UT built a 31-19 second-quarter lead but saw it evaporate over the next quarter and a half.
Ohio State, ranked No. 14 in the AP Poll and No. 15 in the Coaches Poll, outscored Rocky Top 30-13 in the third quarter to take control. They closed that quarter on a 12-0 run and extended it to an 18-0 run in the fourth quarter to take complete control. UT was never able to come back.
Up next for Kellie Harper’s team is a visit from the UMASS Minutemen for their home opener on Thursday. Meanwhile, Ohio State will next visit the Boston College Eagles this coming Sunday. Here are three takeaways from the Tennessee Lady Vols’ loss.
1. Turnovers plagued this team again.
This has been a problem for Rocky Top ever since Harper took over as head coach and the offense went through Jordan Horston. UT had 29 turnovers on the night to only 10 assists. Ball movement remained atrocious, and they had three straight turnovers to spark that 18-0 run by Ohio State.
Horston was obviously the biggest culprit, which was to be expected, as she had seven turnovers. However, Jasmine Powell, the new transfer, wasn’t much better, as she had five turnovers. Now, those two were the leading scorers with 20 and 19 points respectively, but that scoring didn’t outweigh their turnovers.
2. Foul trouble plagued the inside game.
It went both ways, to be fair, as Ohio State had three starters with at least four fouls, including one who fouled out. However, given the way the Tennessee Lady Vols rely on dominating the inside game, the foul trouble that went both ways cost them in much greater fashion.
Rickea Jackson and Tamari Key both finished with four fouls, and Powell fouled out. This was part of the limitations of the inside dominance, as UT only finished with one block on the night, very uncharacteristic of what they usually do with Key. They did outrebound OSU 40-30, but that was due to Horston’s aggression. The post players were neutralized.
3. Outside shooting is limited in the starting lineup.
Tess Darby picked up where she left off last year, as she went 3-of-5 from the three-point line. However, she did it coming off the bench, as Powell, Horston and Jordan Walker were the starters in the backcourt. That limited a huge advantage UT should have.
Powell was the only starter to hit a three, and she went 1-of-3 from outside. As a team, the Tennessee Lady Vols went 4-of-11 from the outside. That’s not horrible, but it needs to be better. Harper’s style is all about going inside-out, but that involves dominating inside and from the perimeter. UT did neither in this one down the stretch.