The No. 6 ranked Tennessee Lady Vols (16-2, 4-1 SEC) fell short to the No. 5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (17-2, 5-1 ACC) despite leading the Irish by 17 points after the first quarter. Notre Dame erased a 23-point deficit and out-scored the Vols 34-10 in the fourth quarter to pick up the 84-70 win at home. The Fighting Irish shot over 50 percent from 3-point range and recorded 15 steals to complete the comeback over Tennessee.
Here are the takeaways from the Vols second loss of the season.
Turnovers rear their ugly head again.
Tennessee has been struggling all season with cutting back on turnovers, and it came back to bite them in ugly fashion on Thursday. The Lady Vols tallied their second game this season with 28 turnovers, 15 of them coming in the second half. Freshman guard Evina Westbrook struggled once again with five turnovers on the night, and senior Jaime Nared had seven turnovers herself.
In all, every player that touched the court for Tennessee had at least two turnovers. The Lady Vols simply cannot play that sloppy and expect to win games over big opponents. Holly Warlick has to solve the turnover problem, especially before facing No. 3 Mississippi State.
Tennessee should still be undefeated.
Even though the two losses for the Volunteers have been very bad, they still came against the No. 5 Fighting Irish and No. 17 Texas A&M in overtime. If it were not for Tennessee’s poor ball security and problematic guard play, they would still be undefeated. Luckily for the Vols, they have a chance to bounce back against one of the most talented teams in the nation in Mississippi State.
However, Tennessee will need to play much less sloppy to pull off a win over the Bulldogs at home. The Lady Vols have the talent to have an illustrious season, they just need to limit their mistakes.
It’s not the end of the world for the Vols.
Although the Lady Vols couldn’t have lost in much worse fashion on Thursday night, they still have one of the most talented teams in the nation. With big wins over Texas and South Carolina, Tennessee has proven that they can stick with some of the best squads in the NCAA.
Consistency will be the key to success for the Vols moving forward as they dive deeper into SEC play. Tennessee will need more reliable play from its freshmen, and will need Nared to step up in the coming games. The Lady Vols normally have a tendency to dominate in the paint, but they need guard play to match. There is and should be a lot of pressure on Warlick to fix the mistakes that Tennessee has been repeatedly making this season.
Edited by Ben McKee
Featured image courtesy of Tennessee Athletics