On their third try of the year, the Tennessee Lady Vols finally beat a Big Ten team. UT dominated the Rutgers Scarlet Knights 94-54 at Paradise Island in The Bahamas Saturday to win their first Battle 4 Atlantis matchup, rebounding from a 12-point loss to the Indiana Hoosiers at home this past Monday.
Ranked No. 11 in the AP Poll and No. 12 in the Coaches Poll, Kellie Harper’s team never trailed, roaring off to a 7-0 start. UT was pulling away already, but up 29-19 in the second quarter, they went on an 11-0 run to take complete control, and Rutgers was never able to make it much closer.
With the win, Rocky Top improves to 2-1 on the year. They will take on the UCLA Bruins Sunday. UCLA beat the South Dakota State Jackrabbits 72-65 Saturday. Rutgers will face South Dakota State Sunday. Here are three things we learned from the Tennessee Lady Vols’ victory.
1. Three-point shooting was incredible.
Welcome back Jordan Horston! She only played 15 minutes in this game, but she made them count, scoring 12 points and dishing out four assists. Key to those 12 points, though, was her going 2-of-4 from outside. That was the story on the day for UT, which went 12-of-28 from beyond the arc on the day.
Jasmine Powell was actually the biggest star in the backcourt, as she went 4-of-5 from three, also scoring 12 points, and dished out eight assists. Tess Darby, Justine Pissott, Rickea Jackson, Sara Puckett, Marta Suárez and Jordan Walker all drilled one too. Suárez had 10 points.
2. Dominance down low was re-established.
Elite three-point shooting helped here, but this is how the Tennessee Lady Vols are built. It’s the Pat Summitt way. They dominate in the post. Well, they managed to do that in this one. In addition to her three, Jackson hit 10-of-11 field goals inside the arc, and she led the team with 26 points.
Tamari Key only had four points, but she returned to herself with an incredible five blocks. Most importantly, UT outrebounded Rutgers 47-24. Nobody had more than seven rebounds, but everybody made sure this would be the team’s advantage in the paint.
3. Suffocating defense offset more risky offense
With 24 assists as a team, Rocky Top moved the ball well thanks to Powell and Horston, and Jackson also added three assists. There was also a turnover problem once again, though, as the team had 21. Suárez led the way with four, but Puckett had three.
It didn’t matter, though, since the Tennessee Lady Vols were so dominant on defense. They held Rutgers to 20-of-59 from the field and 2-of-10 from three, and they forced 21 turnovers, including 10 steals. Add in Key’s blocks, and Rutgers had no chance.