It was another miserable outing for Holly Warlick and the 20th-ranked Lady Vols.
Tennessee (12-5, 1-4 SEC) lost to Alabama (10-8, 2-3 SEC) 86-65 on Thursday night in Tuscaloosa, marking the fifth-straight loss to the Crimson Tide. The Lady Vols trailed just 60-55 at the end of three quarters, but they were out-scored 26-10 in the fourth quarter.
On the evening, Tennessee led for just 1:34 while Alabama led for over 37 minutes of action.
The Crimson Tide led 22-18 at the end of the first quarter and despite Tennessee winning the second quarter 16-14, Alabama led 36-34 at halftime. In the first half, the Lady Vols shot 36 percent from the field and 20 percent from three. Zaay Green led Tennessee with 11 first half points while the Crimson Tide knocked down five 3’s.
Tennessee was even worse in the second half, being out-scored 50-31. Rennia Davis played just four minutes and didn’t make a basket while Meme Jackson contributed just two points. As a team, the Lady Vols shot 31 percent from the field and made just three field goals in the fourth quarter.
Here are the takeaways from Tennessee’s fourth-straight SEC loss. It’s the first time in program history in which the Lady Vols have lost four consecutive conference games, and it’s the first time since 1970 they’ve lost four consecutive games period.
Same old song and dance
Tennessee has lacked fundamentals all season long. Such was the case once again in Tuscaloosa.
The Lady Vols lost by 21 after shooting 33 percent from the field, 17 percent from the 3-point line, turning it over 14 times, not getting to the free throw line, and playing poor defense. Not a single Lady Vol recorded a positive plus/minus. To make matters worse, five of the eight players who played significant minutes recorded a plus/minus of -10 or worse.
Warlick mentioned on Wednesday that in order to get back on the winning track, it would take a tremendous effort on the defensive end of the floor and on the glass. While Tennessee out-rebounded Alabama 49-44 and grabbed 22 offensive rebounds, it’s defensive effort was pitiful.
The Lady Vols allowed Alabama to shoot 50 percent from the field, 43 percent from the 3-point line, score 40 points in the paint, 15 points off turnovers, and 14 second chance points. The Crimson Tide assisted on 16 of their 34 made baskets.
On a lot of Tennessee’s defensive miscues, it was simply mental mistakes due to a lack of communication or a lack of effort.
Stars didn’t show up
Davis, Jackson, and Evina Westbrook are without a doubt Tennessee’s three best players. But in Coleman Coliseum, two of them didn’t show.
Westbrook was the lone bright spot on offense, scoring 19 points on 8-of-20 shooting. But she did turn it over five times, and as a point guard, that’s unacceptable. Westbrook hit three 3’s on the night, though, and deserves credit for being one of the few players playing with effort.
Davis and Jackson were nowhere to be found against Alabama. The pair combined for four points on 1-of-10 from the field, and neither played more than 25 minutes. Davis didn’t make a shot for the first time all season. To make matters worse, it appeared through the television broadcast that Davis and Warlick got into on the sideline midway through the fourth quarter. Davis – a preseason All-SEC First Team member – played just four minutes in the second half.
Things don’t get any easier for Tennessee as it returns home to face a 13-5 Arkansas (2-2) team on Monday night. The game is the annual “We Back Pat” game in honor of Pat Summitt and will tip-off at 7 p.m. ET on the SEC Network.