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“We Started to Play Passive”: Lady Vols 1-2 in Tough 4 Game Stretch

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Kellie Harper said it best after a disappointing loss to Notre Dame on Wednesday, “I thought we
got passive, and we don’t play well passive.” That quote could be used to describe two of the last
three games in this tough stretch of four straight against ranked teams. There was very little to
take away from the Indiana game on Thanksgiving as there will rarely be a team that shoots so
well while the Lady Vols can’t hit anything, but Tennessee was able to bounce back to eke out a
win over Oklahoma in their final game over the Thanksgiving tournament, however it was not to
be against Notre Dame with the Lady Vols giving up a 16-point lead in the third quarter. What is
most disappointing about the Notre Dame game is that the first two-and-a-half quarters were by
far the best basketball the team has played this season. So, what have been the common
denominators in this stretch and where does that put them going into the game against Ohio State
on Sunday?


Three Point Shooting a Mess


For the past three games the Lady Vols have shot 28 percent from the three-point line. That
wouldn’t be so much of a problem if the three ball didn’t account for 40 percent of their total
shots. This team has some very talented shooters, but they have missed a lot of opportunities to
get the ball into the paint and have settled for threes. If Tess Darby can get out of her funk it
would go a long way to opening things up on the inside and give the team a lot more options
offensively.


Clean up the Boards


This team thrives on second chance points which means they must out rebound their opponents
particularly on the offensive end. Tennessee has been out rebounded in two of the last three
games and only pulled one more board than Oklahoma. That disparity makes sense against a
team like Indiana who lives on their transition offense, but to only pull down 7 offensive boards
for the game against Notre Dame is a stat that had Kellie Harper visibly disappointed in her postgame interview.

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Turnovers Still a Problem


In the last three games UT has given up 11, 18, and 17 turnovers respectively. This is a huge
concern going into the Ohio State game with their full court press. This is one stat that they have
to clean up moving forward and the more time that Destinee Wells and Jasmine Powell can have
on the floor together the better it should be as long as they can play loose.


Play loose, have fun


Tennessee came out on a mission in the Notre Dame game. They were back at home and it
looked like they were ready to put on a show, and they did…in the first half. This was by far the
best half of basketball that the team has played all season. There was movement on offense, they
were aggressive in the way they played and there was just a looseness about the team that was
palpable. If they can play a whole game the way they played that first half, they can play with
just about anyone in the country.


Fans anxiously await Rickea Jackson’s return


Rickea Jackson has now missed five games with a lower leg injury. The team is figuring out how
to play without her with multiple players filling the void. However, it is undeniable the
difference she makes when she is on the floor. She is the leading scorer and has the ability to be
a beast on the boards. Her presence on the floor is a calming for the team and it will be a
welcome sight when she is available again.

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