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Tennessee coach Kellie Harper on early-season losses: ‘We’re too nice’

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(Photo by Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Kellie Harper wants her team to be a little more mean.

While Tennessee is without Rickea Jackson, it doesn’t account for what was the team’s worst loss of the season – a 71-57 loss to No. 19 Indiana. They never led, and the Hoosiers shot 50 percent or better after the first quarter.

As Indiana got more physical, the Lady Vols were unable to muster a response.

“I still think we’re just too nice,” Harper said. “We’re just a group of nice, young women, and when you step out on the court you can’t have that mentality. You can’t have that personality, that persona. So we’ve got to find that, and understand it’s going to be a physical game. You have to expect it and I don’t think we handled that very well.”

The Lady Vols are now 11-30 against ranked opponents in Harper’s five seasons at Tennessee. And defensively, “everyone that was out there had breakdowns,” according to the head coach.