The 13th-ranked Lady Vols lost their third-straight game on Sunday afternoon, falling to Georgia 66-62.
Times are hard for Holly Warlick. For the first time in 33 years, the Lady Vols (12-4, 1-3 SEC) are on a three-game losing streak. Not only are they on a three-game losing streak, but it’s the first time in program history in which the Lady Vols have lose three consecutive SEC games.
Against Georgia, Tennessee jumped out to an early 17-point lead – leading 34-17 with 2:20 remaining in the first half following two free throws from Rennia Davis. But they still managed to let Sunday’s game slip away.
The Lady Vols led 22-10 at the end of the first quarter and entered the half with a 36-24 lead. Evina Westbrook scored eight points in the first half to lead the Lady Vols while Meme Jackson made two 3-pointers. Rennia Davis added just four points in the opening 20 minutes.
Following the break, Georgia blitzed Tennessee, out-scoring the Lady Vols 25-11 to take a 49-47 lead in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs would go on to out-score Tennessee 17-15 in the fourth quarter as well to close out the win.
Caliya Robinson finished with 16 points, six rebounds, five assists, and six blocks for Georgia.
Here are the biggest observations from the Lady Vols’ third consecutive loss.
Third quarter woes
Tennessee’s performance in the third quarter was by far the difference in Sunday’s loss.
After being aggressive in the first half, the Lady Vols weren’t near as aggressive in the third frame. As a result of shying away from taking the ball to the basket, Tennessee scored just 11 points in the third quarter and blew a 17-point lead. At the final buzzer of the frame, Georgia led 49-47 after out-scoring Tennessee 25-11 in the quarter.
In the period, Georgia was 4-of-8 from the 3-point line while the Lady Vols were just 1-of-4. As a team, Tennessee made just two field goals in the quarter – a Zaay Green three and a Rennia Davis layup. The Lady Vols finished the quarter shooting 2-of-16 from the field.
Georgia’s Taja Cole scored 10 points in the third quarter.
Once again, Tennessee lost a close basketball game because it didn’t take care of the small things and lacked fundamentals.
After losing by two points to both Missouri and Kentucky at home, the Lady Vols lost to Georgia by four because it didn’t shoot the ball well, turned it over too many times, and lacked the correct mental edge.
Tennessee shot just 35.9 percent from the field on 23-of-64 shooting while making just 33.3 percent of its 3-point attempts (3-of-9). At the free throw line, Tennessee made only 59.1 percent of their attempts and missed nine free throws (13-of-22). As for turnovers, the Lady Vols had 17, which believe it or not, is below its season average.
On the boards, Tennessee dominated, out-rebounding Georgia 54-44. But the Lady Vols only assisted on 10 of their 23 made shots. On the day, they had just four blocks and four steals. Georgia blocked eight shots.
Not getting enough from its stars
Evina Westbrook scored 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting, but she was the only one who had anything going on offense. The Lady Vols’ point guard added six assists.
But Westbrook’s contributions weren’t enough and haven’t been enough over the last couple of games. In order for the Lady Vols to be successful, the trio of Westbrook, Davis, and Jackson have to all be good. As of late, they haven’t been – particularly on Sunday.
In 35 minutes, Davis was 2-of-12 from the field for just six points. The sophomore missed all three of her 3-point attempts. Davis did have an impact on the glass, pulling down 12 rebounds.
Jackson also finished with six points. The senior guard took just six shots on the day, making two of them. Jackson was 1-for-4 from the 3-point line and spent most of the fourth quarter riding the pine.
Tennessee will be back in action on Thursday night in Tuscaloosa. The Lady Vols’ matchup with the Crimson Tide is set to tip at 9 p.m. ET on the SEC Network.