The Lady Vols fell in overtime 79-73 to West Virginia on Sunday afternoon, suffering their first loss of the season.
Junior Rae Burrell and sophomore Jordan Horston combined for 17 fourth quarter points to give the Lady Vols a 66-61 lead with 1:13 remaining despite trailing for the majority of the game. West Virginia then hit a three and got an easy layup to tie the game with just a few seconds remaining. Both teams had a chance to win the game, but neither could get a shot off, sending the game to overtime.
Here’s three observations from the Lady Vols’ loss to West Virginia:
Tennessee falters in overtime
Things did not go well for the Lady Vols when the game finally reached overtime. The game was knotted at 66-all when regulation ended. When overtime ended, the Lady Vols had been out-scored 13-7.
“They made shots and we didn’t,” Lady Vols head coach Kellie Harper said following the loss. “That’s what it looked like. We were pressing a little bit and they made a few, then we came up empty. To me that was the biggest deal. We didn’t get where we needed to in order to put points on the board.”
West Virginia used a 7-0 run in the middle of overtime to claim a 73-68 with 1:43 remaining. Rennia Davis and Marta Suarez added buckets, but Tennessee could not get a stop defensively, leading to a six-point win for the Mountaineers.
Turnovers plagued the Lady Vols once again. Tennessee turned it over 20 times, leading to 19 points off of turnovers for West Virginia. Horston, Jordan Walker and Tamari Key each had a team-high four turnovers. Davis and Suarez each had three, while Keyen Green had two.
“We had a variety (of turnovers),” Harper said. “We had a couple because of ball pressure and denial. We didn’t handle it. I thought our spacing was poor in the first half and that caused a couple of turnovers. Most of them carelessness. We had some walks that need to be cleaned up. Need to have good feet.
“It wasn’t one specific thing that caused those, but obviously we knew going in if we turned it over, they were going to convert. Especially if it was a live-ball turnover because they’re good in transition.”
The Lady Vols are averaging 19.0 turnovers through their first three games this season. They’re averaging 18.0 points off of turnovers, but only scored eight points off of 15 West Virginia turnovers.
Not enough Rennia Davis
The Lady Vols go as Rennia Davis goes. Davis’ performance against West Virginia was one that the senior forward will look to quickly forget about.
Davis finished with just eight points on 4-of-19 shooting from the field. She was 0-for-5 from behind the 3-point line to go with four personal fouls and three turnovers.
“She got great looks,” Harper said of Davis’ struggles. “She really did. She got great looks that Rennia Davis knocks down. It was a tough night to have that performance, but there’s no excuses. We just have to bounce back, whether that’s somebody else picks her up, or that’s here finding a way to be a little bit better.”
The Lady Vols will return home to face Furman on Thursday at 7 p.m. ET. They’ll then travel to Texas on Sunday to take on the Lady Longhorns at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN.