Dan Fleser: Lady Vols Disappoint Before Big Crowd In Knoxville

Sunday, February 16, 2020 - by Dan Fleser

KNOXVILLE – The curtain shrouding the upper deck of Thompson-Boling Arena came down Sunday afternoon.

A season-high crowd of 12,738 turned out for Tennessee’s women’s basketball game against Texas A&M, thereby necessitating the makeover for seats that paralleled the sideline. The fans were drawn, in part, by discount tickets. Still, they reached full volume on several occasions.

“My pre-game speech was about our crowd,” UT coach Kellie Harper said. “What a great, big-time environment. That’s what it was today.”

The crowd got an eye-full of the Lady Vols’ ongoing plight. They suffered a fourth consecutive loss in falling to the Aggies 73-71. Did the fans also get a glimpse of a better future? UT’s overall effort suggested the possibility more so than the other three losses.

Rennia Davis and Rae Burrell combined for 37 points. The Lady Vols outrebounded Texas A&M 41-38 and recorded 21 assists. And they didn’t buckle when falling behind by 10 points midway through the third quarter.  

“I thought we competed the most in this four-game stretch,’’ Davis said.

UT coach Kellie Harper considered the performance in terms of the entire season and was encouraged as well.

“I thought it was one of our best games in terms of 40 minutes of effort,” she said. “I think we can build on that. You just have to clean up some of the stat-sheet items.”

The ongoing clean-up, though, continues to temper any sense of optimism about UT’s chances against tougher teams like No. 16 Texas A&M (20-5, 8-4 SEC).

For example, A&M guard Chennedy Carter went off for 37 points in her second game back from an ankle injury. She matched the total Kentucky’s Rhyne Howard scored against the Lady Vols earlier this season.

Tennessee struggled to stay with Carter as she ducked around screens and moved about the court. She coaxed UT freshman Jordan Horston into an ill-advised foul on a 3-point attempt in the third quarter and made all three free throws, part of A&M’s 28-for-33 shooting from the foul line.

No.  25 Tennessee (17-8, 7-5), on the other hand, shot a crippling 6 for 16 from the line.

Down the stretch, Carter set up Burrell for a foul and converted another free throw. Burrell didn’t distinguish herself on that play or afterward in saying of Carter: “Sometimes she flops.”

Horston and Burrell also didn’t stand out as ball-handlers. They combined to commit 11 of Tennessee’s 16 turnovers, which resulted in A&M’s 19-8 advantage in corresponding points.

After falling behind 48-38, the Lady Vols drew to within either four or three points on 10 different occasions. In those moments, they managed just one defensive stop while committing two turnovers. Texas A&M scored on six occasions. Davis’ layup to end the game amounted to UT’s only points scored.

“They’re going to get smarter as they go,” A&M coach Gary Blair said of Tennessee. “That’s all they need to do to go with all that athleticism.”

For the time being, that’s more of a hope than a certainty.

“I am so hopeful,” Harper said, “coming off this game that we’re going to do everything we can to correct some things. (And) we’re going to do everything we can to build off it.”

* * *

Dan Fleser is a 1980 graduate of the University of Missouri who covered University of Tennessee athletics for the Knoxville News Sentinel from 1988-2019. He may be reached at danfleser3@gmail.com


Gracelee Thornton Selected As FC Chattanooga's Champion Of Character

Live Dirt iRacing on Fox Sports Featuring Tennessee Racer Bloomquist Among Others

Dan Fleser: Chattanooga's Jazmine Massengill Leaving The Lady Vols


Gracelee Thorton has been named the Chattanooga Football Club’s Champion of Character. The award is presented by Trey Nelms - State Farm. Gracelee Thorton has been with CFC Academy since ... (click for more)

Mooresburg, TN (3/31/20) --- FOX Sports will throw a little dirt into its eSports lineup tomorrow, with the addition of World of Outlaws iRacing from the virtual Dirt Track at Charlotte on Wednesday ... (click for more)

KNOXVILLE – It took Tennessee five decades to finally land a women’s basketball player from Chattanooga. And now Jazmine Massengill is leaving after just two seasons. The 6-foot point guard, ... (click for more)




Sports

Gracelee Thornton Selected As FC Chattanooga's Champion Of Character

Gracelee Thorton has been named the Chattanooga Football Club’s Champion of Character. The award is presented by Trey Nelms - State Farm. Gracelee Thorton has been with CFC Academy since she started in the Chattanooga Identification and Development Program (IDP). She plays on the Chattanooga FC Academy 2009 Girls Navy team, coached by Heath Parham, and is in the 4th grade ... (click for more)

Live Dirt iRacing on Fox Sports Featuring Tennessee Racer Bloomquist Among Others

Mooresburg, TN (3/31/20) --- FOX Sports will throw a little dirt into its eSports lineup tomorrow, with the addition of World of Outlaws iRacing from the virtual Dirt Track at Charlotte on Wednesday at 8 p.m. on FS1. The race marks the beginning of a weekly FS1 series of iRacing events across multiple disciplines and various virtual racetracks. This week’s World of Outlaws iRacing ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Child Under 5 Dies From Coronavirus At Chattanooga Hospital; Tennessee Death Toll Reaches 24; Bradley County Up To 14 Cases

A child under five has died of coronavirus in a Chattanooga hospital, county officials said Wednesday. Becky Barnes, Health Department administrator, said the child had underlying illnesses. “It is our deepest regret to share with you today our first COVID-19-related pediatric death,” said Ms. Barnes, “As we mourn with the family, we also take this opportunity to urgently ... (click for more)

Georgia Increases From 125 To 154 Coronavirus Deaths; Cases Go From 4,117 To 4,748; Walker County Has 2nd Case

Georgia state health officials said Wednesday that 154 people in the state have died of the coronavirus - up from 125 the day before. The cases have spiraled to 4,748 - up from the Tuesday report of 4,117. Officials said 1,013 have been hospitalized in Georgia with the deadly virus. Whitfield County is up to 14 cases with one death. Walker County, which long resisted ... (click for more)

Opinion

Tennessee's Top Prosecutors Urge Public To Report Coronavirus And Disaster-Relief Fraud

The United States Attorneys for the Eastern, Middle, and Western Districts of Tennessee together with Tennessee’s Attorney General Make Prosecuting Fraud Schemes Top Priority Tennessee’s top prosecutors—three United States Attorneys and the Tennessee Attorney General—are coordinating their efforts to prevent Tennesseans from being victimized by fraud schemes and other unlawful acts ... (click for more)

Please Do Your Part

Each day in Georgia, physicians, nurses and other health care providers go to work in our hospitals, nursing centers or private office practices to care for patients with a variety of health needs. This practice of medicine occurs 24 hours per day, seven days per week, and 365 days per year; because illnesses and injuries don’t take a holiday. Without thinking twice, patients visit ... (click for more)