Second-year Lady Vols head coach Holly Warlick has not hit the panic button yet, but rest assured that her team wants to get back to their winning ways as soon as possible.
After Tennessee strung together a 10-game win streak to tip-off the season, the No. 12 Lady Vols (13-3, 2-2 SEC) have dropped three of their last six games and two of their past four in SEC play.
Despite UT's coaches stressing defense, it has been lacking the most, especially in recent losses to LSU at home and Vanderbilt on the road. Over the last four games, the team has surrendered over 70 points in each outing.
"We have got to make the other end important again and make rebounding our priority," Warlick said before practice Tuesday afternoon. "The past two days we've gone back to the drawing boards and worked on our fundamentals and basics."
The Lady Vols head coach, who spent 27 years as an assistant coach to Pat Summitt, has seen firsthand how defense can not only win games, but championships.
"I've been around it and I see success in the defensive end and rebounding," she said. "It's difficult at times because you recruit these kids and they average 25-30 points a game in high school and it's great they are offensive minded, but they've got to be able to do some things on the other end of the floor."
Warlick was a three-time All-American when she played for UT, and she said she feels it is her responsibility to coach up the point guards to be able to make more defensive-minded decisions on the court.
"I'm going to try and focus on our point guards and get them more prepared for the game and rely on them to make more defensive calls and decisions," she said. "Being out on the court, they may see things that I don't."
Despite being two games behind the SEC-leading No. 8 South Carolina Gamecocks and falling out of the top 10 ranking for the first time this season, Warlick admitted the team believes it can put its recent rough stretch of play behind them.
"The girls have been hard on themselves," Warlick said. "They know what they need to do to turn things around, it's just a matter of them taking initiative to change it now. They have basketball savvy and they are all basketball smart. They know what they should've done and what they didn't do. As long as these losses are learning experiences and can help us to become a better team, we will take it."
Tennessee will look to start a new win streak when they travel to Mississippi State (14-3, 1-2) to play Thursday night at 9 p.m.
"I think any game is tough," Warlick said. "Mississippi State is very athletic and they are what we are having trouble with. It's just another night at the office with the SEC and you're going to see athletes, quickness and people being physical. We just have to match that and it's something we are very capable of doing, but we've got to get a better mindset and do it."