KNOXVILLE — The Tennessee women's basketball team lost 78-51 at top-ranked and undefeated Stanford late Wednesday night, the second loss in three game for the No. 23 Lady Volunteers.
Tennessee (8-2) continues its West Coast trip with a 5 p.m. game Saturday at Portland State.
Here are three observations from Wednesday's defeat.
1. Rennia volume: Much like in last month's matchup at Notre Dame, Rennia Davis was aggressive from the field, which is something Tennessee will need this season. She took 20 shots against the Cardinal, with half of those coming from 3-point range. She even hit four 3s, her second-most in a game this season after the five she hit in the Lady Vols' win over the Fighting Irish. However, she struggled inside the 3-point line at Stanford, making only one shot — a jumper 13 seconds into the game — before missing her final nine two-point tries. Too many times she settled Wednesday, evidenced by the fact she failed to get to the foul line for just the second time this season. Nobody wearing orange was good Wednesday, but for the Lady Vols to be competitive this season, Davis has to be better.
2. Ball quit moving: The Lady Vols' shot quality wasn't what it needed to be, and part of that was simply the fact that they weren't moving the ball. Tennessee doesn't have a wealth of offensive options right now and will have to win games led by its defense, but the Lady Vols can make things easier for themselves by moving the ball better than they did at Stanford and by creating better looks. This team isn't good enough to win a game with seven assists, which was a season low.
3. Necessary game: Tennessee got fat on victories early this season with a weaker schedule as even the win at Notre Dame came against a team that had lost its entire starting lineup from last season. In the Lady Vols' past three games, two of them against Power Five conference teams, the Lady Vols are 1-2 with a loss to Texas on Dec. 8. Only two nonconference games remain — Saturday at Portland State and a Dec. 29 home date against Howard — before Southeastern Conference play begins Jan. 2 with a visit from Missouri. First-year Lady Vols head coach Kellie Harper has been attempting to build the team in her vision, and games like Wednesday's — despite not producing the desired result on the scoreboard — will help speed that process up by painting a clear picture to players about what's necessary to be successful this season and beyond.
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