AFC No. 1 Overall Seed Odds
Tennessee improved to 11-1 Monday night, dominating Chattanooga, 91-41, at Thompson-Boling Arena.
The Lady Vols jumped out to an impressive 22-5 lead in the first quarter and didn’t look back, coasting to a 50-point victory.
“I’m glad that we were able to play a lot of players,” Tennessee head coach Kellie Harper said. “I’m really proud of our team and the maturity that we had handling the Christmas break and handling this game. I thought we executed about as well today as we have executed all year. Offensively, obviously, when you pick up the stat sheet and you see 30 assists, you know something’s going right. I thought our team was focused, really proud of how they how they played.”
Perhaps the most impressive part of Tennessee’s win is that they did it without star Jordan Houston. The guard missed the instate matchup due to non COVID-19 related illness.
With Houston out a handful of Lady Vols stepped up. Center Tamari Key dominated the Mocs, recording 18 points, seven rebounds and two blocks while Alexus Dye added 15 points and eight rebounds.
A number of Tennessee freshmen had impressive performances include Karoline Striplin who scored 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
“I think, in the non-conference (schedule), it’s really the last two games they have gotten a lot of minutes, but it’s everything,” Harper said of UT’s freshmen. “It’s sometimes not getting minutes in a game. It’s sometimes getting a couple of minutes and being productive. It’s the whole entirety that has allowed them to grow. And you know, you don’t just get to step out on the court. I think they’ve learned how valuable experience is. Our veterans have that.
“The other thing is they have shown how hard they’re willing to work and how great of teammates they are. You know, in today’s society, it’s really easy for freshmen to get a little quick and a little bitter when their minutes aren’t what they want them to be. Our freshmen, all four of them have been amazing. They have been true teammates. They are team-first kids. They’re working hard; they understand what goes into it. They’re a big reason that our culture is so strong right now.”
Tennessee returns to the court Thursday when they host Alabama at Thompson-Boling Arena for the SEC opener.