No. 7 Tennessee kicked off SEC play with a 63-49 win over Kentucky (8-7, 0-1 SEC) on Sunday afternoon. The Lady Vols improve to 13-0 and 1-0 in SEC play, and are now one of five undefeated teams remaining in the country.
As the Lady Vols now turn their attention to Auburn, we take a look at what we learned about Holly Warlick’s squad in their win over the Wildcats.
Tennessee comes ready to play.
Tennessee has consistently gotten off to great starts this season and that trend continued on Sunday against Kentucky.
The Lady Vols jumped out to an early 10-0 lead in Rupp Arena and didn’t allow Kentucky to score until midway through the first quarter. Tennessee would go on to possess a 26-7 lead at the end of the first frame.
Evina Westbrook and Meme Jackson got things going early, as they both knocked down threes in the opening moments of the game. In building the 19-point lead, Jackson and Westbrook would combine for five 3’s. Westbrook was 3-of-4 from three on her way to 11 first quarter points.
Tennessee is now outscoring opponents 308-162 in the first quarter of games this season. Per a Tennessee press release, Sunday was the fourth start of 10-0 or better by the Lady Vols this season. Against Alabama State and Troy, Tennessee jumped out to a 12-0 lead. Against Marquette, they jumped out a 10-0 lead.
Evina Westbrook is legit.
The former No. 2 overall player in the country arrived in Knoxville with high expectations, and through 13 games this season, Westbrook is living up to the hype.
On Sunday, Westbrook led Tennessee in scoring with 17 points, tying her career-high that she set in her last outing against No. 18 Stanford. Against the Cardinal, she added an assist and four rebounds before adding four rebounds, three assists and three blocks against the Cats.
Westbrook currently leads the team in assists per game at 4.8, but is starting to heat up in the scoring department. Over the last four games, the Oregon native is averaging 15.8 points per game compared to just 7.2 points in her first nine games.
Too many turnovers.
Tennessee has done a good job of coming out of the locker room ready to play this season, but there have been games this season where Warlick’s team hasn’t finished all that well. This was evident against Kentucky.
In the first quarter against the Cats, Tennessee scored 26 points in the first quarter, but went on to score just 10 points in the second, 12 points in the third and 15 in the fourth. The lack of offensive performance against the Cats can be credited to far too many turnovers.
The Lady Vols turned the basketball over 21 times on Sunday, which is six more than they average per game. In the second quarter alone, they turned it over seven times before turning it over eight times in the third quarter. As great as Westbrook was scoring the basketball against Kentucky, she turned it over seven times.
Edited by Seth Raborn
Feature image courtesy of Tennessee Athletics