What has been an awful start to the season for the men’s and women’s Tennessee basketball programs continued into Monday, as the Tennessee Lady Vols lost to a second ranked team to open the year. This time, they fell at home after dropping to No. 11 in the AP Poll, where they were No. 4 last week.
Kellie Harper’s team fell 79-67 to the Indiana Hoosiers. Led by Teri Moren, Indiana came in undefeated and ranked No. 12 in the AP Poll. An 11-0 run put the Hoosiers up 20-10 in the first quarter, and Rocky Top, who was playing without Jordan Horston due to an injury last game, was never able to recover.
With the win, Indiana improves to 3-0 and will next host the Bowling Green Falcons Thursday. UT, meanwhile, falls to 1-2 and will head to The Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament, which they’ll open up with Saturday by facing the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Here are three things we learned from the Tennessee Lady Vols’ loss in this game.
1. There was nowhere near enough dominance in the post.
Indiana runs four guards, so this game screamed for UT to take over the inside game with its length. They didn’t do it. Tamari Key, to her credit, hit all four of her shots and had 14 points, and Rickea Jackson added 17 points. However, they should’ve been even more dominant than that.
UT got outrebounded 35-33 be the Hoosiers. Jasmine Powell led Rocky Top in rebounding with 10, which is unacceptable. Jackson, meanwhile, had six turnovers. On the other side, Mackenzie Holmes was the only starting forward for Indiana and dominated down low with 16 points and 10 rebounds. This nullified a huge edge.
2. Shooting was awful inside the arc.
Outside of Key, who had a huge advantage that she still didn’t exploit, the Tennessee Lady Vols were horrible on non-three-point shooting plays. They were 9-of-24 from the outside, which should have been enough. However, they went 13-of-32 inside. Jackson was 4-of-11 on two-pointers, Tess Darby was 0-of-2, and Jordan Walker was 1-of-3.
Powell, who as we mentioned, was aggressive, was the best outside of Key and only went 2-of-7. She had 16 points. Free throw shooting from Walker didn’t help, as she was 1-of-6 from the foul line. UT was 14-of-22 overall from the stripe. That nullified Darby going 3-of-7, Jackson going 2-of-3 and Powell going 3-of-8 from three.
3. Defense was atrocious.
Indiana was 8-of-29 from three and 15-of-18 from the free throw line. Those are generally about what the other team does, not the defense. However, they were far to effective on two-point plays, going an incredible 20-of-34. That was all about the Lady Vols and how awful they were.
On top of that, the Tennessee Lady Vols only had four steals and three blocks. They only forced 10 turnovers, which nullified a dramatic improvement for them on ball security, as they only had 15 turnovers. Perhaps they missed Jordan Horston’s aggression, but all of these issues proved extremely costly, and the defense can’t look like that again.