Lady Vols surge to a season-opening victory

LVFL Bridgette Gordon returned to Rocky Top in her head coach debut with Florida A&M
Lady Vols' Kellie Harper and Bridgette Gordon, LVFL and FAMU Women's Head Basketball Coach...
Lady Vols' Kellie Harper and Bridgette Gordon, LVFL and FAMU Women's Head Basketball Coach hugging postgame(wvlt)
Published: Nov. 7, 2023 at 11:21 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Kellie Harper’s fifth season at the helm of Lady Vols basketball officially began Tuesday night. The program hosted Florida A&M for game one of the 2023-24 season.

The match-up was a full circle moment for Lady Vol legend Bridgette Gordon, who returned to Rocky Top in her debut as Florida A&M’s head coach. An introduction she hopes made her former coach Pat Summitt proud.

“I’m a part of her legacy. And being back I didn’t know how I was going to react walking past the chair that I know she sat in for so many years. Got pretty emotional today. Just wanted to make sure I made Pat proud with the product I put on the court that she’d be happy for and I think she would,” said Gordon.

For the Lady Vols, their 93-64 victory marks their 24th straight home opener win. A part of that was a 20-point night from transfer Jewel Spear in her debut as a Lady Vol.

Which was the second-highest total by a transfer in their debut.

“Thought my teammates were looking for me. Whether it was Rickea [Jackson] getting doubled or Karol on the X out pass, Kaiya [Wynn] making the extra pass. I just think me making those shots was a credit to my teammates,” said Spear.

Tennessee outrebounded FAMU 47 to 25 and four Lady Vols finished in double-digit scoring. Also checking in for her first regular season game since Dec. 4, of 2022 was Tamari Key. In seven minutes of action, she accounted for 3 points.

Coach Kellie Harper said, “It’s not exhibition games anymore, it’s real. And those things matter. I thought she did a good job while she was out there.”

The 11th-ranked Lady Vols are 1-0 on the season and now turn their attention to Florida State who they’ll face Thursday.