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Offensive balance leads No. 5 Lady Vols past No. 19 Kentucky, 84-58

Rae Burrell
Rae Burrell(Tennessee Athletic Communications)
Published: Jan. 16, 2022 at 6:28 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Scoring 73 points in the final three quarters, the No. 5 Tennessee women’s basketball team used a balanced offensive effort to down No. 19 Kentucky, 84-58, Sunday afternoon at Thompson-Boling Arena. The game marked the annual We Back Pat game, bringing awareness and recognition to the Pat Summitt Foundation in its fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

With the win, the Lady Vols improved to 17-1 overall and 6-0 in SEC play. It’s the best season-opening overall record since UT started the 2007-08 campaign at 22-1. The 6-0 league beginning is the program’s best since going 13-0 in 2014-15.

Rae Burrell and Keyen Green tied for the team lead in scoring, dropping 14 points apiece. Burrell was white hot from beyond the arc, going 4-of-4 on 3-pointers in the game. It was a defining day for Green at Tennessee, as she tied her UT high in points and rebounds, pulling down seven. She added three assists, her most since joining the Big Orange in 2020.

In total, 10 of 13 Lady Vols taking the court scored. Four players finished with double-figure scoring, as Jordan Horston (11) and Jordan Walker (10) joined Burrell and Green.

The balance showed in the stat sheet, as Tennessee was 10-of-20 from beyond the arc. The Lady Vols also outscored UK in the paint, 40-28. UT pulled down 21 offensive boards, its fifth game this season with more than 20. That translated to a 22-8 advantage in second-chance points. Led by Burrell and Green’s contributions, Tennessee recorded 39 bench points to Kentucky’s nine.

Tennessee and Kentucky traded baskets early, with neither team taking more than a two-point lead. The Lady Vol offense then went cold, but UT’s defense kept it within range. Tennessee went on a five-minute scoring drought, but as the buzzer sounded in the first quarter, UT trailed by only six, 17-11.

The Lady Vols came back with a complete second quarter performance, outscoring the Wildcats 27-10 in the period. UT opened the quarter on an 11-2 run, as Burrell drained a pair of 3-pointers. Walker also made one from deep, and Tamari Key laid one in from under the hoop. Burrell was on fire for the stanza, scoring 11 points on 4-of-4 shooting and a perfect 3-of-3 marksmanship from beyond the arc. The Lady Vols were 11-of-17 (64.7 percent) from the floor and made all four of their 3-point tries, taking a 38-27 lead into the break.

Tennessee epitomized offensive efficiency through the middle part of the third quarter, scoring on nine consecutive possessions. Horston and Green both posted seven points in the quarter, but Burrell drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer from way downtown to give the Lady Vols a 64-43 lead going to the fourth.

The fourth quarter saw more balance on the offensive end from Tennessee, as six Lady Vols logged points and 12 different players checked into the contest. Sara Puckett and Walker both scored five while Green pulled down two boards.

After the quick turnaround of Thursday’s road game and today’s home tilt, the Lady Vols will have time to rest and recover, as they enjoy a bye on Thursday and face No. 18/15 Georgia in Athens next Sunday.

SECOND QUARTER COMEBACK: The Lady Vols poured in 27 points in the second quarter. It’s their highest point total of any quarter during conference play this season and ties their season high for second-quarter points. With three periods of 20+ points vs. UK, UT now has scored 20+ points in 20 of its last 32 quarters.

MAKING IT RAIN: Tennessee shot a scorching 50 percent from behind the arc, hitting a season-high 10 threes. It was the most 3-pointers scored by a UT team since dropping 14 on Furman on Dec. 10, 2020. The percentage was the highest since the Lady Vols connected on seven of 10 for 70 percent vs. Ole Miss on March 5, 2020, in the SEC Tournament.

DOMINATING THE BOARDS: The Lady Vols out-rebounded the Wildcats 50 to 29, marking the 15th time through 17 games that UT has managed a double-digit rebound margin. Tennessee has now had 50+ rebounds in 11 games this season, and it’s the 29th time the Lady Vols have collected 50 or more rebounds during the Harper Era.

POINTS FROM THE LINE: UT went 10 of 12 from the free-throw line, posting its highest free-throw percentage of the season at 83.3 percent.

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