No. 5 Lady Vols beat UMass 74-65 in home opener
Transfer Rickea Jackson leads UT with 24 points and 11 rebounds
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Senior forward Rickea Jackson posted 24 points and 11 rebounds to fuel No. 5/4 Tennessee to a 74-65 victory against reigning A-10 champion UMass at Thompson-Boling Arena on Thursday night.
The Detroit, Michigan native went off in the second half, scoring 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting and grabbing seven rebounds. Jackson also added a pair of assists and two steals to round out her impressive performance. It was the seventh double-double of her career and marked the 20th time she’s eclipsed the 20-point margin.
The Lady Vols held the Minutewomen to 31-percent shooting from the field and just 8-of-30 from beyond the arc. UT forced 17 turnovers thanks to 10 steals and three blocks. Offensively, the Lady Vols found success attacking the paint, scoring 40 points down low. Tennessee also spread the ball effectively, assisting on 18 of its 26 baskets in the game. UT shot 42 percent from the field and 74 percent from the charity stripe.
Senior center Tamari Key just missed a double-double, tallying 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting, nine rebounds, three blocks, two assists and two steals in the all-around effort. Jasmine Powell and Jordan Walker ran the offense, combining for 11 assists. Powell finished with seven assists, four points, four rebounds and a steal, while Walker chipped in six points, four assists and two steals.
The Minutewomen (1-1) finished with four double-digit scorers, paced by Sam Breen, who recorded 18 points and 12 boards in the contest.
After a quick start by UMass, Tennessee ended the first quarter on a 12-6 run to take an early 17-15 lead. Jackson led the way on both ends of the floor, totaling four points, two rebounds and two steals in the period.
Senior Jordan Horston would leave the game early with an apparent knee injury.
UMass was just 5-of-23 shooting from the field in the period and missed 10 of its final 11 shots in the stanza. The Lady Vol offense, which was led by seven points from Jackson, had assists on five of their six baskets in the quarter. UT held a 54-44 edge going into the final frame.
Tennessee began the fourth quarter with an 11-2 run, but the Minutewomen wouldn’t go away quietly, using a 12-0 swing of their own to cut UT’s lead to single digits. UMass fought until the end, but Jackson’s 11 points in the stanza lifted the Lady Vols to the victory.
Up next, Tennessee hosts No. 11 Indiana for a big-time matchup in Thompson-Boling Arena at 6 p.m. The contest will be televised on ESPN2 and the radio call will be on the Lady Vol Network.
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