Warlick: ‘It’s time to grow up’
By Grant Ramey | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
KNOXVILLE — Holly Warlick was admittedly in disbelief watching Tennessee lose to No. 1 Stanford Saturday afternoon.
After the game, a visibly upset Warlick sent a message to her team.
“This program was built on rebounding and defense, and that is not a typical Tennessee team out there,” Warlick said after her team’s 73-60 loss at Thompson-Boling Arena.
“That is not going to get it done. That is not acceptable. I’ll take the blame for that, if I didn’t have them ready. They will be ready.”
Stanford out-rebounded Tennessee 28-20 on the offensive glass, scored 18 second-chance points and ran an uninterrupted offense throughout the afternoon in a game where the Cardinal never trailed.
Meanwhile, Tennessee shot just over 31 percent from the field, making 22-of-69 attempts, and started 0-for-12 before making its first 3-point attempt, as the Lady Vols struggled to keep the game within 10 points.
“You’re not going to make every shot, but you can control your effort on the defensive end and rebounding,” Warlick said. “And we talked about it. I don’t know. I guess they were putting their fingers to their ears. We didn’t get it done. And we had a great opportunity to play the No. 1 team on our home floor.
“And quite frankly, we were never in the game. It’s a learning moment for us, and it seems like there’s been a lot of learning moments for us and for us as coaches as well.”
Tennessee lost Tuesday on the road at No. 3 Baylor, snapping a seven-game win streak. But Warlick said the loss didn’t carry over to Saturday’s poor performance.
“I felt really good the last two days at practice,” Tennessee’s first-year head coach said. “I felt good about our attitude. Playing with no effort, I don’t care who you play, it’s an excuse.
“I don’t care if you play teams that are better than you, you can still have effort.”
Tennessee tied the game at 8-all with 14:44 left in the first half on a Cierra Burdick jumper, but Stanford went on a 13-2 run to put the game at arm’s length as the Lady Vols settled for and missed one perimeter shot after another against the Cardinal’s physical defense.
The Lady Vols made just 10 field goals in the first half, shooting just over 25 percent from the field. Stanford, not slowed down by Tennessee’s defensive effort, shot 46 percent.
“You’re not going to shoot every shot, but you can make an effect on the defensive end,” Warlick reiterated. “And until they get that point, until they get that across, we’re going to keep doing this, because we’re going to shoot in the 40s and 50s (percent) and the next night in the 30s, because they scout us and they know what we’re going to do, but we scout them too.
“But we had no effect on what Stanford did today. None.”
Tennessee cut the Stanford lead down to 10, at 50-40, with 10 minutes left in the game, but the Lady Vols only managed three points over the next 3 minutes, 20 seconds as Stanford built the lead back to a comfortable distance in the closing minutes.
“The whole game I was in disbelief,” Warlick said. “Because we didn’t affect Stanford one bit. And credit them. If you don’t take them out of something (offensively), they’re going to shoot 47 percent, whatever they shot.
“It’s a hard learning experience for them and for me. Your offense should have zero effect on what you do on the defensive end.”
Warlick wasn’t ready to use her team’s young roster — four freshmen and four sophomores among just one junior and two seniors — as an excuse.
“It could be maturity. It could be youth,” Warlick said. “But we can’t change our youth ... We’ve had great practices, but this will change. And as coaches, we’ll make changes too.
“But it’s time to grow up.”