The No. 7 ranked Tennessee Lady Vols (14-0, 2-0 SEC) snapped the Auburn Tigers (10-4, 1-1 SEC) seven-game win streak by a score of 70-59 on Thursday night. The last time the Vols started 14-0 was the 2005-06 season when they finished with a 31-5 record and a trip to the NCAA Regional Final.
Freshman Evina Westbrook and senior Jaime Nared combined for 37 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists to lead Tennessee to a win in its second conference game of the season.
Here are the takeaways from the Lady Vols late rally win over the Tigers.
Turnovers still loom over the Lady Vols
The only thing separating this Tennessee team from being something truly special is its frequent turnovers. The Lady Vols had a season-high 28 turnovers and committed 12 of them in the final 12 minutes of the game. This is the second contest in a row that Tennessee has logged over 20 turnovers, and Westbrook has racked up 16 turnovers herself in the past two games.
It was anticipated that the Auburn defense would be a tough test for the Vols, but 28 turnovers is unprecedented. Warlick and Tennessee may truly have a special team this season, but the inability to play clean basketball could play out of its favor in conference games. Especially since the Lady Vols face four ranked opponents in their next five games, including No. 4 South Carolina and No. 2 Notre Dame.
Tennessee is resilient.
Auburn has proven to be one of the most dominant defenses in the SEC this season. After going on a 30-4 run in the fourth quarter to beat Florida last week, Auburn was able to tally 26 points off turnovers. However, the late basket by Westbrook with under two minutes left to break the tie was the game changer, as she finished with 11 of her 18 points in the fourth quarter.
The Lady Vols already showed their toughness in their last home win over No. 2 Texas. However, the ability to commit nearly 30 turnovers and still win the game shows how durable they really are. While the game was sloppy and gritty, it still is yet another reminder of how tough this Tennessee team is.
Westbrook has finally broke through.
Although she has had turnover problems in the past few games, Westbrook has proven why she was the No. 2 player in the nation last year. Westbrook finished with eight points in the final few minutes of the game, showing her capability to lead the Lady Vols in late-game situations.
Westbrook registered a career high in points against Auburn, and has scored over 15 points in five of her last six games. The young talent on this Tennessee team has continued to impress, but Westbrook is starting to set herself aside as a true superstar. The Lady Vols will certainly need her to keep her streak of solid play alive in the next handful of games against top-ranked teams.
Edited by Ben McKee
Featured image courtesy of Tennessee Athletics