I kind of hate that I called most of this game earlier, but sometimes that's how it goes. Some of the details were a bit off - Tennessee, for whatever reason, decided that they were going to get into a three-point shooting contest instead of taking advantage of their copious interior size - but the end result was the same. Still, that doesn't preclude the fact this game was sloppy on the part of the Lady Vols. Maybe it was the layoff, maybe it was knowing they could just out-talent UT-Martin, maybe it was just the unfortunate return of Bad Tennessee for a little while; regardless, this wasn't the same team we saw in the SEC Tournament.
Even with that, once Tennessee went up 8-7 with 14 minutes to go in the first half, there were no runs (unless you count an 8-0 run over four minutes early in the second half, which isn't really a run as much as it is a plod) until the game was well in hand; It was just a steady stream of "we're better than you", which is like the SEC Tournament, getting two-for-one scoring opportunities and eventually getting a lead that the Lady Skyhawks couldn't come back from. As it goes, that's about it, really. Sometimes the story is simple.
Still, that doesn't do justice to the team defensive effort the Lady Vols did on the two biggest threats on the Lady Skyhawks. Heather Butler and Jasmine Newsome took 43 shots combined and only scored 24 points. The rest, at that point, was window dressing. If the Skyhawks couldn't shoot from downtown (20% on the day), they weren't going to do anything of note. Tennessee's rebounding advantage was what you expected - +13, with strong offensive board numbers.
The offensive spark came from Meighan Simmons (20(!) points on 13 shots, including 4 of 7 from beyond the arc) and Glory Johnson (ho-hum 14 point / 12 board performance). Simmons nets the breadsticks this time, though.
Survive, advance. The Lady Vols play the winner of BYU / DePaul, set to tip off shortly. Game notes, as always, are below.
- STOP SHOOTING SO MANY THREES
- NO REALLY
- STOP IT
- Seriously, this team isn't going to win by launching all day from beyond the arc, not with this interior presence. Glory's too good to get stranded, and Shekinna Stricklen was only 3-12 from the floor. I could tell you that won't get it done, but you know that.
- Combined assist-to-turnover ratio: 15-8. All credit to Stricklen (4/0), Ariel Massengale (4/0), Kamiko Williams (3/1), and Vicki Baugh (3/1). Glory, on the other hand, turned in an 0/4. Oops.
- Block party alert: 10 blocks on the day, 8 different players. Only Taber Spani, Massengale, and Brianna Bass ( :-( ) didn't record one. For the record, if Bass ever gets a block, end the game. She's getting the breadsticks.
- Still, even with that she was a liability on offense. Not to put too fine a point on it, but Bass shouldn't take 7 shots unless there's nobody within 30 feet of her. And she should still look to pass.