The Tennessee Lady Vols (18-9, 8-6 SEC) defeated the Vanderbilt Commodores (13-14, 3-11 SEC) 67-63 on Sunday to snap a five game losing streak dating back to Feb. 2. The win extends Tennessee’s dominance over Vanderbilt to 12 wins in their last 13 meetings. Tennessee also holds the all-time series lead 74-10.
The Lady Vols took the court in pink uniforms against the Commodores as a part of the annual “Live Pink, Bleed Orange” game that raises awareness for breast cancer. The cause was started by former Tennessee coach Holly Warlick and current LSU coach Nikki Fargas who are both former Lady Vols.
The Lady Vols got off to a solid start taking an 18-14 lead at the end of the first quarter. The charge was led by freshman Jordan Horston who scored 7 points in the period. This is her third straight game off the bench after starting all of her previous games except for the season opener against Eastern Tennessee State. She finished the game with 16 points, four rebounds, five assists and two steals.
“I was able to come off the bench and bring that energy. I couldn’t do it without my teammates’ help, though,” Horston said.
Tennessee stretched out their lead in the second quarter, going on a 10-0 run to go up as much as 14 points. They failed to hold on though, as Commodore guard Chelsie Hall scored 11 points in the final three-and-a-half minutes of the quarter and scored a team-high 13 points in the half. Forward Mariella Fasoula added 12 points for Vanderbilt and finished the half with a putback basket while being fouled with only 0.2 seconds left. She was not able to sink the free throw, but the lead was cut to only five at 38-33.
“They didn’t get down on themselves when Vanderbilt was making a run; they hung in there. I thought it was all pretty positive,” Tennessee coach Kellie Harper said on the team’s attitude in the face of adversity.
The two teams traded baskets for most of the third quarter resulting in a 51-47 lead for the Lady Vols. Rennia Davis was able to get it going this quarter, though, resulting in 10 of her 18 points on the game. She shot 9-of-23 from the field in a double-double performance that included 10 rebounds and three assists.
Vanderbilt came out hot in the final frame taking the lead at 56-55 with 6:02 left in the game off of a Koi Love layup. Tennessee immediately responded by going on an 8-0 run to retake the lead at 63-56 with 4:04 left. Vanderbilt was later able to get within one off of another Love layup, but with 45 seconds left Horston was able to get a fast break layup to extend the lead to three.
In what appeared to be Vanderbilt’s last chance to tie while it was still a one possession game, Love was called for a traveling violation. Love’s travel gave the ball back to the Lady Vols with 19 seconds left. However, on the ensuing inbound pass Davis turned the ball over with a bounce pass hitting the out-of-bounds line. Vanderbilt took possession and immediately called a timeout.
The Commodores were able to get two good looks from 3-point range out of their timeout, but neither Kaylon Smith or Jordyn Cambridge were able to hit the shot. Jazmine Massengill was then fouled and sent to the line for two free throws. She sunk the first one giving the Lady Vols a four-point lead. She missed the second shot, but the Lady Vols held on to win the game.
“We executed, we had two really good looks, Vanderbilt coach Stephanie White said on the final shots. “We got the ball to Kaylon. She didn’t knock it down. We got another opportunity and it just didn’t fall for us.”
Tennessee will be in action next on Feb. 27 at home against Ole Miss for Senior Night. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. and will be aired on SECN+.
Edited by Christian Knox and Ben Gleason
Featured photo courtesy of Lady Vol Basketball Twitter (@LadyVol_Hoops)