The seventh-ranked Stanford women's basketball team expects to win games when it holds opponents to fewer than 60 points. That was not the case during a trip to Tennessee this week.
Stanford lost to host No. 11 Tennessee, 59-40, in a nonconference contest on Saturday, turning in another sub-par shooting performance.
Lili Thompson scored 13 points for the Cardinal (6-4), which lost its second straight for the first time in four years. The Cardinal lost to Chattanooga, 54-46, on Wednesday.
"Well, we've played a lot better than that," Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer said. "It was a much more physical game than our team was ready for and their size really bothered us on their switching. Obviously, we turned the ball over a lot and we missed a lot of, I think, very make-able shots. So it's disappointing."
Stanford is off to its worst start since opening 4-6 in 1998, when the Cardinal started the season with games against six ranked opponents and seven of the first 10. Stanford, coincidentally, beat the No. 1 team in the nation (Purdue) that season.
The Cardinal also started 6-4 in 2001-02 and 2005-06, each time winning its next game. Stanford hosts UC Davis on Monday at 2 p.m.
"We have a lot of really young players and we have a lot of time to improve," VanDerveer said. "We're going to need them to learn from this type of game and get better."
It's first time Stanford has scored fewer than 50 points in consecutive games since the 1976-77 season.
The Lady Vols (9-2) led from start to finish and were in control in ending a three-game losing streak to Stanford, which went scoreless for an eight-minute stretch and made just one basket in the last 10 minutes of the first half.
The Cardinal fell behind, 27-15, by halftime. Stanford was 5 of 21 from the field and committed 12 turnovers in the first half.
"We're obviously struggling with our offense," VanDerveer said, "just passing the ball, moving the ball. We've got a lot of work to do. We really struggled on this trip, both at Chattanooga and here, just getting good shots."
Thompson's 3-pointer cut Tennessee's lead to 31-22 with 14:44 remaining, but that was as close as Stanford came the rest of the way.
The Cardinal shot below 30 percent for a second straight game. After shooting 27.7 percent in its loss to Chattanooga, Stanford shot 25.5 percent against Tennessee.