The Lady Vols broke a two-game road losing streak on Thursday night, defeating Florida 84-75. Tennessee (13-7, 4-3 SEC) built on its 91-point outing against Vanderbilt on Sunday en route to another big offensive night, this time against the Gators (10-10, 1-6 SEC).
“We didn’t play our best game, but we got the win, and we needed it,” Lady Vols head coach Holly Warlick said after the win.
Junior guard Diamond DeShields orchestrated the Lady Vols’ big offensive night, scoring 27 points on 9-of-13 shooting. DeShields added five rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block in 38 minutes of action.
“When she’s in attack mode, nobody can stop her,” Lady Vol junior Jamie Nared said of DeShields after the game.
DeShields received plenty of help, too. Four other Lady Vols scored in double-digit against the Gators. Nared posted 16 points and seven rebounds and Mercedes Russell added 14 points and five rebounds. Alexa Middleton and Jordan Reynolds both added 11-point outings, with Reynolds falling one rebound short of a double-double.
Tennessee jumped out to a quick 12-4 lead, which was fueled by a 7-0 run. Florida closed the first frame on a 9-0 run, but the Lady Vols still led 29-19. Nared and DeShields ignited the quick start with nine and eight points, respectively.
The Gators 9-0 run climbed to a 13-0 run to begin the second quarter before Lady Vols’ guard Alexa Middleton knocked down a three to push the lead back up to 32-23. Tennessee went into the locker room with a 48-34 advantage after leading for the entire half.
Florida turned things around in the second half, outscoring Tennessee 41-36. However, the Gators’ offense took a big hit when senior Ronni Williams had to take a seat on the bench after picking up her fourth foul late in the third quarter.
Williams led the Gators with 31 points on 10-of-18 shooting. Junior forward Haley Lorenzen gave Williams her only support, posting a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Tennessee’s 20 points off of the Gators’ 17-turnovers kept Florida from threatening a comeback.
Tennessee travels to Columbia to play No. 5 South Carolina (18-1, 8-0 SEC) on Monday night. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. ET, and the game will be televised on ESPN2.
Edited by Nathan Odom
Featured image by Donald Page, courtesy of Tennessee Athletics