LSU (13-6, 5-3 SEC) upset No. 10 Tennessee to give the Lady Vols its first loss to an unranked opponent this season. Tigers guards Chloe Jackson and Raigyne Louis combined for 39 points and 17 rebounds in the win. Tennessee was outscored by 10 points in the third quarter to record its third loss in four games.
Here is what to take away from the Vols terrible loss in Baton Rouge.
Lady Vols got rocked in the paint
Despite having the senior duo of Jaime Nared and Mercedes Russell in the post, Tennessee still failed to dominate in the paint. The Lady Vols were out-rebounded 44-32 on the night and gave up 23 offensive rebounds to LSU. Tigers forward Ayana Mitchell tallied 16 rebounds in the post on her own, as well as a combined 16 from Jackson and Louis.
“We can’t give up 23 offensive rebounds and expect to win the basketball game,” Tennessee head basketball coach Holly Warlick said. “They were gritty, they were tougher… They just outworked us.”
Considering Tennessee has elite talent at the posts, being dominated in the post is something they cannot afford. The Lady Vols haven’t had much success with their guard play this season, so not receiving consistent post play makes it tough for Tennessee to succeed. The Vols need much better play inside, especially when they are shooting 22 percent from 3-point range.
Tennessee has to shoot more efficiently
The Lady Vols have struggled from beyond-the-arc all season, but their shooting from inside keeps them afloat. However, when Tennessee is shooting 38 percent from the floor like they did on Sunday, it’s tough to beat anyone. The Volunteers shot 9-of-30 from the field in the last 20 minutes of the game.
Tennessee shot 53 percent on its field goals and logged seven assists on eight buckets in the first quarter. However, the Lady Vols must remain more consistent with their shooting to put teams away. Nared especially has to be more efficient for the team, as she shot just 4-of-10 from the field after starting out 3-of-4 after the first quarter. Holly Warlick and Tennessee usually don’t have too much of a problem closing out games, but they sure did on Sunday.
Lady Vols had more balanced attack
Despite having poor shooting from the field, Tennessee had decent contributions from each player in the starting five. Only execution was missing. Nared was the only player in the starting five with less than 10 points, but she was in foul trouble. Meme Jackson, Rennia Davis and Westbrook all combined for 34 points on the loss, including 14 points from Russell.
The one thing that the Lady Vols didn’t see much scoring off the bench. Freshman Anastasia Hayes recorded 20 minutes in the game, but did not score on 0-of-4 shooting from the floor. The rest of the bench combined for just two points and 0-for-8 shooting in the loss.
“It’s uncharacteristic of us, because we’re a rebounding team, but we must have left it in Knoxville,” said Warlick. “It has something to do with going up against a team that wanted it more than you.”
Edited by Ben McKee
Featured image courtesy of Tennessee Athletics