Courtesy / UT Athletics


Courtesy / UT Athletics

Game Recap: Women’s Basketball | January 21, 2024 | Kimberly Hood

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee won for the eighth time in its last nine games and improved to 5-1 in SEC play on Sunday afternoon, defeating in-state rival Vanderbilt in front of a season-best crowd of 9,088 in Food City Center, 73-64.

The win marked Tennessee head coach Kellie Harper‘s 100th triumph while leading the program at her alma mater. Adding more meaning to the milestone was getting a victory in UT’s “We Back Pat” game that honored Harper’s (Jolly’s) college coach, Pat Summitt.

The Lady Vols (12-6, 5-1 SEC), who remain in a tie for second place in the SEC standings, were led by fifth-year seniors Rickea Jackson and Jasmine Powell, who each put up 16 points. Jackson added 10 rebounds to record her third double-double of the season, and Powell dished out a game-high eight assists. Senior Jewel Spear also had a productive outing with 12 points, and redshirt-senior Tamari Key put up a season-high 10.

Iyana Moore was the top scorer for Vanderbilt (17-3, 4-2 SEC) with 19 points, and Jordyn Cambridge was also in double figures with 12.

Vanderbilt won the jump and netted a baseline three on its first possession, but Spear answered with a trey of her own to tie the game up just over a minute into play. Moore hit the first of a pair of free throws on the next possession, but UT launched into a 9-2 run to lead 12-6 by the 6:22 mark. The Commodores responded with six straight points to tie the game at 12-all before a jumper by Jackson gave the Lady Vols the lead, which they clung to through the end of the quarter to take a 20-17 advantage into the second.

Tess Darby led off the second quarter with a three-pointer, but Moore countered with a Vandy three on the other end. Powell and Darby combined for six points to push the Big Orange on top by seven at the media timeout. VU outscored UT 9-2 following the timeout to knot the game up at 31 with 1:20 left in the half. Jackson got a steal and turned it into two points on the other end, but Oliver got loose and hit a reverse layup at the buzzer to send the game into halftime with the score tied at 33.

Vanderbilt reclaimed the lead off a Justine Pissott three-pointer 32 seconds into the second half, but the Lady Vols rattled off six straight points to lead 39-36 by the 7:34 mark. Pissott hit another trey to tie things up on the next possession, but Key and Spear combined for four quick points to provide UT a 43-39 advantage with 5:51 left in the third. Back-to-back buckets by Moore put the Commodores on top by one at the 3:53 mark, but UT outscored VU 8-3 over the closing minutes to take a 51-47 lead into the final stanza.

Cambridge opened the fourth with a three to pull Vandy within one, but Darby swished a trey on the other end to restore UT’s four-point margin. Moore scored a layup for Vandy, but Powell tallied four unanswered points for Tennessee to extend its lead to six with 7:03 to play. With 4:48 on the clock, Cambridge knocked down a layup to set off a 6-0 Commodore run that tied the game at 62-all and forced UT to call a timeout. Spear swished a three following the break to reclaim the lead for UT. Cambridge hit a jumper 30 seconds later to make it a one-point game, but UT strung together eight straight points while forcing Vanderbilt turnovers on three possessions to close out the win.

UP NEXT:   After enjoying a Thursday open date on Jan. 25, the Lady Vols head back on the road for two more games and continue a stretch that includes four out of five away from the friendly confines of Food City Center. UT ventures to Oxford next Sunday to take on the Rebels at 2 p.m. CT (3 ET) on ESPN. The Big Orange will then journey to Athens to face Georgia on Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. ET on SEC Network.

HARPER NOTCHES 100TH WIN AT TENNESSEE: Kellie Harper notched her 100th win as the head coach at her alma mater. With her team winning eight of its last nine contests, Harper’s record on Rocky Top now stands at 100-45 in her fifth season. She improved to 48-19 in SEC games, including 29-5 at home in league play. She also moved to 8-2 all-time vs. Vanderbilt, including 7-0 as head coach of the Lady Vols.  

BIG NET VICTORIES: Tennessee entered the game at No. 57 in the NCAA’s NET rankings and is sure to climb higher when those rankings update on Monday after defeating No. 50 ranked Vanderbilt on Sunday. The win marks the Lady Vols’ second straight over a Top-50 NET opponent after knocking off No. 32 Mississippi State on Thursday night in Starkville.

JACKSON POCKETS THIRD DOUBLE-DOUBLE: In all 10 games she has played this season, Rickea Jackson has scored in double figures. On Sunday, she turned in her third double-double of the year and 13th of her career, finishing with 16 points and 10 rebounds in only 29 minutes. She also tied her career high with four steals. UT’s leading scorer and rebounder sat out the final quarter after suffering from asthma symptoms.

JP SWISHING AND DISHING AGAIN: Jasmine Powell tied for the team lead in scoring with 16 points and dished out a game-high eight assists while pulling down five rebounds vs. Vanderbilt on Sunday. It marked Powell’s second-straight game and seventh overall of scoring in double figures, and she ran her total of assists to 15 over the last two games after notching seven at Mississippi State. Over the past eight contests, Powell has accumulated 46 dimes to average 5.8 apg. during that span.

TK IS ON FIRE: Tamari Key scored a season-most 10 points on Sunday afternoon on five-of-five accuracy from the field. That pushes the redshirt senior center to eight of eight over her last two contests and to 16 of 21 marksmanship in SEC play for a stellar 76.2 percent. In all games, Key is now up to 65.1 percent in 17 games, connecting on 28 of 43 shots from the field.

ACCURATE AT THE LINE: Tennessee was once again sharp at the free-throw line, firing in a season-best 94.4 percent of its shots. The Lady Vols were 17 of 18 for the game, including 10 of 11 (90.0 pct.) in the decisive fourth quarter. With the effort vs. Vandy, UT improved to 79.6 percent as a team in SEC play and 74.8 in all games.

Courtesy / UT Athletics

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