Lady Vols open Harper era with exhibition win over Carson-Newman

By  | 

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- In head coach Kellie Harper's exhibition debut at the University of Tennessee, the women's basketball team held Carson-Newman to 29-percent shooting in a 70-44 victory at Thompson-Boling Arena.

The Lady Vols, who played multiple lineup combinations and made personnel changes throughout the game, moved to 16-0 against Carson-Newman in exhibition games and to 49-4 all-time in preseason exhibition play.

Junior Rennia Davis, who was named to the SEC Coaches' Preseason All-SEC First Team earlier in the day, led her squad with 20 points and eight boards. Sophomore Rae Burrell also nearly collected a double-double with 14 points and nine rebounds in the contest.

The Lady Vols opened up the game with a 12-0 run against the Lady Eagles with four different Tennessee players contributing. The Big Orange also had its best shooting percentage in the opening quarter, going 10-for-26 (.385) on field goals.

After the first stanza, UT had a 26-9 lead behind Burrell, who led the team with eight points. Both Burrell and sophomore Zaay Green also collected four boards throughout the first 10 minutes of play.

At the end of the second quarter, Tennessee had eight different players on the scoreboard and led 36-13, with 20 of those points coming from UT's bench. The Lady Vols also forced 11 turnovers by Carson-Newman compared to Tennessee's five and only allowed the Lady Eagles to score four points in the quarter.

During the third quarter, Davis hit a clutch three-pointer halfway through the period to spark another scoring streak for the Lady Vols and brought the lead to 46-22. Tennessee finished the third frame with a last-second bucket from sophomore Jazmine Massengill, extending UT's lead to 52-31.

In the last quarter of play, the Lady Vols reached their biggest lead of the game at a 32-point advantage with just over seven minutes remaining. At the end of regulation, UT had held the Lady Eagles to zero free throw opportunities and only allowed 13 points in the final 10 minutes.

Six Lady Vols made their debut and combined for 22 points with three of them all scoring six points. That group included freshmen Jordan Horston and Tamari Key and junior transfer Jaiden McCoy. Horston led the group in minutes, playing more than 22 minutes in her first game for the Big Orange, and freshman Jessie Rennie was right behind her with 20.

Tennessee finished the game with 31 points from the bench and 42 from inside the paint. The Lady Vols also only committed 11 turnovers and forced 19 by Carson-Newman, scoring 15 points off those opportunities. The Big Orange led the entire competition and never allowed the Lady Eagles a chance to tie the game.

UP NEXT: UT opens the season vs. ETSU at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Nov. 5, at Freedom Hall in Johnson City. The Lady Vols return to Thompson-Boling on Nov. 7, playing their regular-season home opener against Central Arkansas with another 7 p.m. tip.