KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) — Tennessee held off in-state rival Vanderbilt on Sunday afternoon, winning in Thompson-Boling Arena, 67-63.
Junior forward Rennia Davis led Tennessee (18-9, 8-6 SEC), posting a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman guard Jordan Horston was close behind with 16 points, while sophomore forward Rae Burrell finished with 12 points and nine rebounds.
Chelsie Hall and Mariella Fasoula were the high scorers for Vanderbilt (13-14, 3-11 SEC) with 20 and 18, respectively.
Early in the first quarter, the Lady Vols claimed a 6-2 lead with four of those points coming from freshman Tamari Key. Defensively, UT held Vanderbilt without a field goal until the 4:27 mark in the opening stanza.
Horston led the team with seven points, as the Big Orange led Vandy 18-14 after the opening 10 minutes of action. UT also out-rebounded the Commodores, 19-13, and held them to a 27.8 shooting percentage in the initial period.
Davis and Horston traded baskets at the beginning of the second quarter, providing Tennessee its largest lead at that point, 27-18. The offense would continue to produce points, as UT completed a 10-0 run to push the score to 32-18 with 5:33 to before the half. During that outburst, Vandy went zero for six in field goal attempts.
Vanderbilt, however, responded with its own run with a 6-0 burst. Freshman Jessie Rennie ended that streak, thought with a three-pointer to give Tennessee a 10-point lead. The Commodores finished the second quarter with five more points, cutting UT's lead to 38-33 going into the locker room.
At the half, the Lady Vols maintained a 30-25 rebounding edge and had forced 11 turnovers. Horston led the team with 14 points and three assists over the first 20 minutes, while Brown recorded a team high of eight boards. The bench contributed 19 of UT's 38 points for UT, and 24 of those came inside the paint.
Coming out of the break, Davis scored the opening points for Tennessee. Brown and Davis then went on to contribute to a 5-0 scoring run for the Big Orange, increasing UT's lead to eight with 5:44 to go in the third period.
Vanderbilt responded with its own 7-0 run to make it a one-point game, 45-44, with 3:49 left in the quarter. Davis ended the scoring drought with a jumper to increase UT's lead to three. Tennessee then ended the third stanza with back-to-back buckets from Burrell and Davis, giving the Lady Vols a 51-47 lead with one quarter left. The Big Orange also continued its supremacy on the boards, holding a 42-35 advantage.
With 6:02 left in the game, VU pulled ahead by one on the strength of a 5-0 run. The Lady Vols, though, took action and went on an 8-0 run of their own with buckets from three different players to command a seven-point lead.
The Commodores stuck around, however, as they went on a 7-2 spree and pulled within a point with 1:25 left. Horston gave UT a late cushion, though, making a lay-up in the paint on a fast break and giving Tennessee a three-point advantage with less than a minute to go.
Sophomore Jazmine Massengill sealed the win by draining a free throw in the last eight seconds, and Tennessee thwarted any last-second buckets by the Commodores.
Up Next: The Lady Vols will play their final home game of the season on Thursday, hosting Ole Miss at 7 p.m. for Senior Night. The game will be available for streaming on SECN+ and broadcast on Lady Vol Network radio stations.
Hot Start Horston: Jordan Horston got off to a fast start on Sunday, hitting three of four attempts in the first quarter and six of 10 in the first half to lead UT with 14 points at the break. She finished with 16 for the game, marking her best scoring effort since dropping 19 on Alabama on Jan. 20.
Double-Double Davis: With 18 points and 10 rebounds against Vanderbilt, Rennia Davis recorded her 27th career double-double. She is now just two double-doubles away from tying Bashaara Graves for 10th all-time among Lady Vols.
Lou Takes Charge: Lou Brown took her 11th charge of the season against VU. She accounts for 11 of the 15 charges taken by UT this season and is just one charge away from tying the team total of 12 from the 2018-19 season.
Picking Pockets: UT had six players combine for nine steals against Vanderbilt, tying the team high for the most steals by the Lady Vols in SEC play this season.
Turn 'Em Over: The Lady Vols forced 20 turnovers against Vandy, besting their previous SEC high of 17 turnovers forced. It is the third time this season Tennessee has forced 20 or more turnovers.