Tennessee and Vanderbilt share the state of Tennessee geographically, however, there is not much of a question as to which school’s women’s basketball team runs the Volunteer State.
The narrative of the Lady Vols’ dominance over their in-state rival stayed the same this season as Tennessee (20-5, 10-2 SEC) completed the series sweep with a 66-52 win over the Commodores (12-14, 3-9 SEC) on Sunday.
This win pushes the all-time series to 76-10 in favor of Tennessee. This includes a home record of 35-1 and wins in 14 of the last 15 matchups for the Lady Vols.
Despite the lopsided results for such a long period of time, Tennessee native, former Lady Vol player and current coach Kellie Harper still views the game as a rivalry.
“I think for someone who grew up in this state and watched the rivalry between Vanderbilt and Tennessee, I still have memories of that game and how meaningful it is,” said Harper. “Just proximity, Tennessee-Vanderbilt is always going to be a rivalry game.”
Harper has a dominant record against the Commodores while at Tennessee. This includes nine wins as a player and four as a coach. She was also a part of the only overtime game between the two squads in a 92-79 Lady Vol victory on Jan. 19, 1997.
Leading the way for Tennessee on this occasion was Jordan Horston. Horston finished the night with a double-double on 16 points and 13 rebounds along with an impressive seven assists and two blocks.
Horston posted a similar stat line of 16 points, 13 rebounds, five assists, three blocks and three steals against the Commodores earlier in the season. Her production on the court goes past her stats, though.
“The thing about Jordan (Horston), she gives our team confidence,” said Harper. “She makes plays on both ends of the court. She can go rebound. She makes so many good plays for our team while she’s on the court. Sometimes the little things are more meaningful than the big things.”
This is displayed through her outstanding +/- of +17 while on the floor in Tennessee’s most recent win over Vanderbilt. This was the team-high, with the next closest mark being +12 from Jordan Walker.
However, Horston was not without help offensively. Rae Burrell also put up a 15 point performance. This output comes from her new role as an off-the-bench spark. Although she does not start, she still logged the third-most minutes on the team at 26.
Despite the 15 points scored being enough to put the Lady Vols over the top, it was not enough to reach a personal milestone of 1000 points for Burrell. She is now just a single point shy of reaching the special mark.
“It’s a milestone for me in this program, being able to get to 1000 points,” said Burrell. “Just to see how far I’ve come from my freshman year, it’s special to me.”
Tennessee will be back in action on Thursday in Tuscaloosa where they will take on Alabama. Burrell will likely reach this achievement in her next outing as the Lady Vols hope to continue their positive play as they begin a two-game road trip. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. and will air on SECN+.
Ryan Sylvia is the Sports Editor at TNJN. He is a senior at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville majoring in journalism and electronic media. Although he spent most of his life being raised outside of Philadelphia, he was born in Knoxville, and he is happy to be back home. Ryan has had a love for sports from an early age, and he found his love for writing in high school while taking journalism classes. He hopes to find a job involving both his passions as a sports journalist after graduation. To reach Ryan, email him at email@example.com