The Tennessee Volunteers (15-0, 3-0 SEC) came back in the final quarter to put away the Vanderbilt Commodores (4-13, 0-3 SEC) by a score of 86-73 in Thompson-Boling Arena. Volunteers senior Mercedes Russell tallied a career-high 33 points to go along eight rebounds.
Tennessee was able to fend off the Commodores by outscoring them 21-11 in the fourth quarter. Here are the takeaways from the Lady Vols third conference win of the season.
Tennessee limited turnovers
After turning the ball over a whopping 28 times in their 70-59 win over Auburn earlier this week, the Lady Vols bounced back nicely against Vandy. Tennessee turned the ball over 14 times, and forced 21 Vanderbilt turnovers. The Lady Vols have committed more turnovers than their opponents in the past two games, but Sunday’s turn around shows how much of a priority it was made at practice.
Had it not been for the drastic change in turnovers, Tennessee could have easily lost this game. Especially considering the Commodores shot 10-for-20 from beyond-the-arc and almost 50 percent from the field. Turnovers have been a major problem for this team all year, but they appeared to clean up their play some.
Lady Vols took over the paint
The Lady Vols were clearly having trouble keeping up with Vanderbilt’s lights out shooting, but its dominance in the paint helped them seal the victory. Tennessee was able to out-rebound the Commodores 42-28 and scored an impressive 56 of its 86 points in the paint. The Vols had six players that had five rebounds or more on Sunday. Russell was unstoppable, as she shot 14-of-20 from the field.
The Lady Vols were able to register 17 offensive rebounds to the Commodores six.
Vols have extraordinary toughness
Warlick and Tennessee may not always win in the prettiest fashion, but it still has yet to lose. The fourth quarter seems to always be the Lady Vols best, and they showed it by out-scoring Vanderbilt 21-11 in the final quarter and pulling away for the win.
Tennessee was able to hold a Commodores team that was shooting lights-out to just 33 percent from the field and 25 percent from 3-point range in the fourth quarter. To put this into perspective, Vanderbilt shot 71 percent from the floor and 75 percent from deep range in the previous quarter. It should not have been as close as it was with the Commodores, but the Lady Vols keep finding ways to win.
Edited by Ben McKee
Featured image courtesy of UT Sports