“We have to learn from this,” said Tennessee junior guard Meighan Simmons, one of only three upperclassmen on the roster.
The biggest lessons came when Tennessee was on defense.
Tennessee spent the preseason adjusting to an uptempo style designed to utilize Tennessee's speed and compensate for its relative lack of size. The Lady Vols believed their energy would harass opposing offenses and force turnovers.
“We're not going to outscore anybody,” Warlick said. “We're not going to outshoot them. We've got to get them to turn the ball over to get easy looks.”
That didn't happen Friday.
While Tennessee struggled to take care of the ball all night, Chattanooga collected 17 assists and committed only 13 turnovers. The Lady Mocs scored 52 points and shot 56.3 percent from the floor in the second half.
“Our defense was non-existent,” Warlick said.
That defense will have to play much better for the Lady Vols to avoid their first 0-2 start since 1970. Georgia Tech went 26-8 and reached a regional semifinal last year and should get an emotional lift Sunday from playing the first women's game at the new McCamish Pavilion. The Yellow Jackets had to play their home games off campus last season.
“As long as we learn from this, it's OK,” Warlick said. “If we keep making the same mistakes, we're not going to get any better.”
There's one history lesson that could encourage Tennessee. When the Lady Vols last dropped a season opener back in 1999, they lost only three more times the rest of the season and went on to reach the NCAA final.