FanPost

Duke @ Tennessee: The more things change...

Chest-bumped to the front.  Major props to Graysnail for a dedicated effort in the live game thread.  --hooper

Coach Summitt can't be happy with this.  Sure, the loss isn't the end of the world, but it's how it happened that burns.

Outrebounded by 15.

Some completely inappropriate amount of turnovers that I can't give you because Yahoo still thinks the game is at halftime and ESPN didn't include it.

Think about that; Summitt teams preach controlling the glass and limiting mistakes, neither of which happened tonight.  Those numbers aren't flukes, inflated by some who-cares turnovers like a ball strip after an offensive board and leaving the entire interior unpopulated after three-point shots.  These are legitimate.  The rebounds in particular are inexcusable; Duke had at least 6 offensive rebounds off of missed free throws.  (I suspect there were more, but I'm not going to pare through the play-by-play to figure that out.)  How many Summitt teams allow that in a month?

There were some rough spots on the team; Shenikka Stricklen spent the entire game in foul trouble, picking up her fifth foul with just over 4 minutes remaining in the game.  Alicia Manning followed her a couple minutes later.  Angie Bjorklund couldn't buy a shot all game, finishing 2-13 (1-7 from 3).  Alyssia Brewer didn't hit a FT all game, which isn't too bad if you only shoot 1 or 2; she shot 5.  The stars were gals you don't normally hear about.  Kelley Cain had the kind of game that would have everyone oozing praise if it came from JP Prince; 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting, 6 boards, 2 blocks..  Briana Bass, all 5'something of her, led the Vols with 14 points (and 6-of-6 from the line) and basically took the game into her own hands at points.

That being said, there were nice things about this game; once again the Baby Vols took over for an extended stretch in the first half.  We saw this against Oklahoma too, and this time the kids went on a 13-3 run to tie the game.  Before that, though, it was sloppy on both ends; turnovers abounded on both sides, and the shocking thing is that even with all the Tennessee turnovers, Duke coughed the ball up almost as much.  Like Oklahoma, the golden girl on the inside - in this case, Chante Black - fouled out late.  Also like Oklahoma, the Baby Vols had problems keeping up in the second half, as Duke pretty much dominated until about the 5 minute mark.  Also like Oklahoma, Tennessee did win the last 5 minutes.

What are we going to take from this?  In a lot of respects, this is the same team that we saw miss the opportunity against Oklahoma.  But they're getting older and they're getting better.  This was - well, is - a very experienced Duke team they went up again, and after the way the game unfolded, the fact the Baby Vols were even in a position to foul at the end of the game in an attempt to come back is a good thing.  Tennessee was outplayed pretty badly.  By outplayed, I mean outhustled and outgritted; by no means did Duke shoot well from either the line or behind the arc, but they left TBA 3-0 all-time there.

The good news is that we're seeing the embryo of a quality team.  It's just coming along in fits and starts - well, still coming along in fits and starts.  They'll get there; they can't be the Baby Vols forever.

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