Lady Vols vs LSU

No. 25 Tennessee continued its recent skid, dropping matches to both LSU and No. 16/18 Texas A&M. After the past week, Tennessee stands at 17-8 on the season and 7-5 in the SEC play. They now sit in seventh place in the SEC and have just four games remaining until the SEC Tournament.

Here is how the Lady Vols graded out over the past week.

Backcourt

Jazmine Massengill got the start at point guard over Jordan Horston and was the only starting guard against LSU and Texas A&M.

During the game, Massengill scored just six points on 3-9 from the field. She recorded four rebounds, three assists, a block and a steal. She also did not turn the ball over during her 35 minutes of play.

Massengill played even better against the Aggies in 25 minutes. The sophomore went 4-7 from the field, and made one three-pointer for nine points. She also recorded four rebounds, one block and three steals. Massengill also finished tied for first on the Lady Vols with six, along with Rennia Davis and Horston, and she did that without turning the ball over.

Massengill played near-perfect basketball over these two games. She led her team in assists in both games and never turned the ball over. She shot an efficient 43.8% from the field and remained active on the glass. The only part of her game that needed improvement was her aggressiveness. She did not go to the line once in the two games played.

Grade: B+

Frontcourt

Davis picked up right where she left off after being sick with the flu and missing Tennessee’s game against No. 8 Mississippi State.

Davis led her team in scoring against the Tigers. She scored 19 points on 8 for 13 shooting and she even made one three-pointer. She grabbed six rebounds, recorded two assists, two steals and four turnovers.

Against Texas A&M, Davis shot slightly worse. She scored 18 points on 7 for 16 shooting, and 2-8 from behind the arc. She did however finish with five rebounds, six assists and three blocks.

Davis continues to be the Lady Vols’ best player. She is able to score at a high clip and can get teammates involved throughout the game. She played 39 minutes in both games and showed no signs of lingering sickness.

Rae Burrell struggled against LSU but made up for it in her game against Texas A&M.

Burrell scored just two points against LSU. Her points came from her only two free throw opportunities, she went 0 of 7 from the field. She also only recorded three rebounds and an assist in 15 minutes.

The sophomore got another chance at starting and played well against the Aggies. She finished with a team-high 19 points, seven rebounds and also recorded a block. However, she finished second on the team in turnovers, with five in 33 minutes.

Burrell’s past week was very night and day. She was almost nonexistent in the contest against LSU, but became the offensive focal point against the Texas A&M. She has played well in two of her last three starts and has most likely earned her fourth consecutive start against Arkansas on Thursday.

Lou Brown looked as if she returned to form after a string of uninspiring starts.

Brown scored nine points on 3 of 7 shooting and 1 of 2 from three against the Tigers. She also tallied a rebound, assist, turnover and steal, in 22 minutes.

Against Texas A&M, Brown again shot 3 of 7 from the field but scored seven points in 35 minutes. She was more active on the glass, securing five boards, and she even finished with two assists and a steal.

Brown has shown that she is good for a couple of points a game, including a made three-pointer or two. She will be relatively active on the glass and can find a few open teammates during play. She may lose a ball or two, but she makes that up by getting a steal. She is consistent and the hope that she can improve upon this is most likely gone, given the fact that regular season play ends in four games.

Tamari Key continued to be efficient on the offensive end for Tennessee.

Key played just 18 minutes against LSU, but made the most of her time on the court. She went 3-6, and made all three of her free throw attempts to end the game with nine points. Key did only finish with three rebounds, but she also got a team-high two blocks.

The freshman’s rebounding numbers improved against Texas A&M, as she finished with six, but everything else took a step back. Key did shoot 3-4 from the field, but she only tallied seven points. She recorded an assist, but turned the ball over three times in 22 minutes.

Key has the potential to put a complete game together. Given her height, 6-foot-5-inches, she can wreak havoc on both ends of the floor. Unfortunately, she hasn’t quite gotten there. It will be interesting to see how she finishes the season before the SEC Tournament.

Grade: B-

Offense

Tennessee’s offense was working these past two games, as the team averaged 68 points per game. Unfortunately, they were just unable to close out, and gave their opponent too many chances.

The Lady Vols shot 40.4% from the field, and 72.7% from the charity stripe against LSU. Their best shooting quarter came in the second, where they shot 46.7% from the line, went 1-1 from three and 5-8 or 62.5% from the free throw line.

Tennessee tied LSU in the first quarter, and outscored them in the third. However, Tennessee was outscored 34-28 in points in the paint, and 26-17 in the final frame, which may have been the deciding factor in the game.

Tennessee’s bench performed better than LSU’s, as they outscored the Tigers, 20-15. Tennessee also turned the ball over just 12 times, which ties their lowest turnover total in conference play since they played Ole Miss on Jan. 9.

The offense for the Lady Vols was much less efficient against the Aggies. While they did score 71 points on 46.8% shooting, they made just six of their 16 free throw attempts.

Tennessee tied Texas A&M in scoring in the third quarter, and outscored them in the first and fourth quarters, with the fourth quarter being their best shooting quarter, as they went 10-15 from the field, 2-5 from three, but just 2-7 from the line.

Tennessee even outscored the Aggies in points in the paint, 34-20. Other than the lack of free throw shooting, the other deciding factor was Tennessee’s 16 turnovers which turned into 19 points for Texas A&M.

Tennessee scored points but shot themselves in the proverbial foot by not making their free throws and turning the ball over against Texas A&M. These mistakes can not continue, and need to be ironed out before playoffs.

Grade: B

Defense

While the offense stumbled here and there against Texas A&M, the defense struggled to stop the opponent when the game got tight.

The Tigers shot 44.8% from the field, only made 38.5% of the shots from behind the arc and only made 62.1% of their free throws. LSU also scored just one more point than Tennessee through the first three quarters. But, then came the fourth quarter.

LSU shot 58.3% from the field, 66.7% from three and 62.5% from the field, outscoring Tennessee 26-17.

Tennessee also relinquished 34 points in the paint and allowed LSU players Awa Trasi and Khayla Pointer to score 22 and 24 points, respectively. The former going 5 of 10 from three.

Tennessee did a much better job stopping Texas A&M compared to LSU.

The Aggies shot just 35.7% from the field for the entire game. They also could only muster 20 points in the paint and their bench chipped in just two points for the entire game. The Aggies only outscored Tennessee in the second quarter 24-15. Texas A&M apparently didn’t need to do better than that cause they have Chennedy Carter.

Carter scored a career-high 37 points on 10 of 22 from the field, 3 for 5 from three and 14 of 16 from the free throw line, as a team, Tennessee went 6-16 from the charity stripe.

The Lady Vols were unable to stop her for the entire game. Not only that, with time winding down to end regulation, and only down by three, they decided to foul Carter to stop the clock instead of the two other players who touched the ball before her. She of course, iced the game at the line.

Grade: C-

Overall

Tennessee is on a four-game skid and are 5-5 over their last 10 games. These two matches were crucial to the playoff standings and they were unable to get the job done.

Overall, the Lady Vols played well. The offense was clicking, the players were efficient and they out-performed their opponents in multiple categories.

However, they had a few missteps here and there, and those ultimately cost them wins. They can take away good things from this week, but will be left with disappointment about not being able to close out, which is all that matters.

Grade: C

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