Radio: Lady Vols Network
Live Stats (Georgia Tech site): GameTracker
The Lady Vols are coming off a very, very rare loss to UT-Chattanooga and a season-opening 0-1 deficit as they finish their first road tour by swinging into Atlanta to face #22 Georgia Tech. SBN women's basketball site Swish Appeal has more on the game, Georgia Tech, and the opening of McCamish Pavilion.
The diagnosis on the first-game loss is simple: a case of early-season jitters turned ugly when players responded to it poorly. Meighan Simmons went shot-happy with 25 field goal attempts for only 19 points from the floor. Isabelle Harrison had 6 turnovers, complemented by Simmons's 4. And as a partial result of the shot-happy gunner, Tennessee ended with only 6 assists on the night. Though they dominated the boards 49 - 27 (with 21 offensive rebounds), the 17 - 6 assist deficit, 47% to 38% shooting percentage gap, and 25 - 13 turnover margin all belie a team that attempted to win by individual athleticism rather than teamwork. Should that trend continue, this will be an incredibly disappointing season for the team.
Today's game is all about the teamwork. Having received a sharp lesson in individual humility on Friday, they need to focus on playing as a single unit, as they were undoubtedly taught to do in the offseason. There is no one player on this team that can take over a game at will, and they absolutely must trust other. The talent is certainly there to rebound and win today. It's all up to them.
This game will provide many Lady Vols fans the first opportunity to see the new players. Andraya Carter will likely start at point guard as Ariel Massengale continues to regain health. Bashaara Graves is just a beast on the floor and should grow into an utterly dominant interior player. She netter 29 minutes of play and was probably Tennessee's most reliable player in the season opener. Jasmine Jones played some brief minutes, but she, Jasmine Phillips, and Nia Moore are all still working their way into full-time production for the team.