Not all has been easy ETS had a chance ? And to be fair some of the cupcakes we have played have been pounded, Vandy put 105 on Tenn State so i don`t think we can say we have not struggling to pull away from the cupcakes. I will agree with you on Texas and Stanford will tell alot about just how good this Tennessee team is.
The only thing I saw that was inferior considering the Lady Vols is the rebounding and the bigs getting their pockets picked way to many times after getting the rebound. They are bringing the ball down and looking to get it out on the break way to quick it resulted in several steals as Air Force was there to swipe it out of their hands. The fact Air Force got 20 offensive rebounds is inexcusable, but it takes more than a few games to break a lot of bad habits that have built up over a couple of seasons. I thought the half court defense was really good teams gonna be able to get an open three now and then but overall they were only 6 for 25 and will gladly take that number against any opponent. Forced them into several 30 second clock violations by really pressuring the ball and when they tried to drive on the extended defense they were met with a interior defense that could block or prevent them from finishing the play.
If you really want to look for improvement out of this team thus far it would be the half court defense and prevention of the dribble drive layup. We gave up lots of points to those plays last season not happening this year.
I watched again because I was disgusted that we were out rebounded. Hardly an excuse, but Air Force did shoot a TON of air balls or balls that clanged off the backboard. Those are tough shots to rebound sometimes. Our length really bothered them defensively. As it has bothered almost every team we’ve played.
Through 7 games last year our opponents were shooting 35% from the floor compared to 28% against similar competition this season.
That 35% opponent FG shooting ended up being 41% at the end of the season last year. Our defense steadily got exposed as competition improved. I suspect we will see the opposite this season.
Even when the effort looks poor for this team it’s still light years ahead of where we were this time last year IMO. In an early game last season if we had been out rebounded by an opponent like Air Force and they had started the game on fire like they did this year we would have allowed them to continue to play with us. This Lady Vol team put a lid on them in the second quarter and crushed their hopes like they should have.
I also love that Coach Harper has been openly disappointed with several aspects of their game in these big wins. A season ago if we won by 30 against a team like Air Force Holly would have been pointing to her Jersey in the rafters, doing a jig and praising every player on the team.
Maybe I'm looking at this with orange-colored glasses but I get the feeling Kellie is intentionally putting the team in difficult situations against lesser teams to see how they will react. New & different defensive formation, player combinations that are not the norm, ect... to get them ready for when more difficult teams come and maybe made them look worse than the really are. Is that possible?