UT Athletics Department
Knoxville, TN – Tennessee relied on its stingy defense and a strong third quarter to remain undefeated at home against Vanderbilt, improving to 31-0 all-time in Knoxville against the Commodores with a 58-49 victory Thursday night at Thompson-Boling Arena.
The Lady Vols had to withstand a late fourth-quarter rally from their in-state rivals after leading by as many as 13 points in the final frame.
Freshman guard Te’a Cooper led Tennessee with 13 points and Tennessee forced the Commodores into 23 turnovers while holding them to just 37 percent shooting for the game.
UT took a three point lead into the half after forcing 14 Vanderbilt turnovers in the opening 20 minutes. The Lady Vols were also able to convert those miscues into points, scoring 17 of their 28 first-half points off turnovers.
Tennessee Lady Volunteers guard Te’a Cooper (20) scores 13 points in win over Vanderbilt Thursday night. (Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports)
Diamond DeShields led the Big Orange with nine points in the first half and had 11 for the game, extending her double-digit scoring streak to nine consecutive games. She also tied a career high with three blocks on the night.
The Lady Vols put together a strong third quarter thanks to a 16-3 run powered by the hot shooting of Cooper. After Vandy cut the lead the two, Cooper answered with nine straight points for UT. Tennessee led by as many as 14 points before ending the quarter with a 44-32 advantage.
Vanderbilt didn’t go away though, battling all the way back to within three points with less than two minutes to play. That would be the closest the Commodores would get, however, as the Lady Vols iced the game away at the free throw line, making six straight down the stretch. The win snapped a two-game skid for Tennessee.
Vandy’s Rebekah Dahlman led all scorers on the night with 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting, including three makes from behind the arc.
With the win, Tennessee remained perfect at home against its in-state rivals, improving to 31-0. The Lady Vols also improved to 66-9 overall in the series and recorded their fourth straight win against the Commodores.
The Lady Vols held the Commodores to a season-low 49 points. It was also the third straight game in the series that they have held Vandy to 49 points. UT also forced Vanderbilt into 23 turnovers, marking the eighth time the Lady Vols have forced more than 20 turnovers in a game this season.
With six rebounds on the night, Bashaara Graves moved into ninth on UT’s all-time rebounding list with 916 career boards, passing Nicky Anosike (914) and Bridgette Gordon (915).
Freshman guard Te’a Cooper provided a big boost for the Lady Vols with a team-high 13 points, including nine straight at one point in the third quarter. It was the sixth time Cooper has scored in double-figures this season and her first time leading the team in scoring.
The Lady Vols tough slate of games continues on Monday, January 25th as they travel to Lexington to take on No. 9 Kentucky. Tennessee is 53-10 all-time against the Wildcats and will look to extend a four-game winning streak in the series.
Monday’s game will air live on ESPN2 at 7:00pm. As always fans can also listen to Mickey Dearstone call the game on the Lady Vol Network.
SectionsAssociations, Basketball (Women), Colleges, Featured Story, NCAA, Southeastern Conference, Sports, University of Tennessee, Vanderbilt University
TopicsBashaara Graves, Bridgette Gordon, Commodores, Diamond DeShields, ESPN2, Kentucky, Knoxville TN, Lady Vol Network, Lady Vols, Lexington KY, Mickey Dearstone, Nicky Anosike, Rebekah Dahlman, Te'a Cooper, Tennessee, Tennessee Lady Vols, Thompson-Boling Arena, UT, UT Basketball, UT Lady Vols, UT Women's Basketball, Vanderbilt, Wildcats