The Tennessee women’s basketball team typically makes its living playing inside-out, preferring points in the paint over deep shots from beyond the arc. The Lady Vols are not an effective three-point shooting team, making just 31-percent of their shots from deep this season.
The narrative was different when they travelled to Austin, Texas to take on the 12th ranked Texas Longhorns for the 40th consecutive season. Tennessee utilized excellent shooting from beyond the arc, and career performances from two of its guards, to down the Longhorns for the second year in a row, 88-82.
The Lady Vols only make about five three-pointers per game, a relatively low mark for any team. On Sunday, they made 10 total shots from beyond the arc, accounting for almost half of their total points.
They converted 55.6-percent of those attempts, over 20-percent higher than their average mark. Evina Westbrook was 3-for-4 from three-point range, a career high for the sophomore guard. She also set a career high in threes made, with three, and attempted, with four.
The Salem, Ore. native was one of two Lady Vols that provided a huge spark for Tennessee in its winning effort. The other was Meme Jackson, another guard. Between the two of them, they accounted for 56 of the 88 total points. Westbrook finished with 23 points.
Jackson had a career day as well, finishing with 33 points, surpassing her previous mark of 21. It also marked the first time in the senior’s career that she surpassed 30 points. She was responsible for four of the three-pointers made by the Lady Vols, one short of her career mark.
For the first time in five games, Tennessee led at halftime, taking a 40-35 advantage after the first 20 minutes, largely due in part to an 18-6 run to close the half. From that point forward, the Lady Vols would not trail.
As well as three-point shooting, another area that has plagued Tennessee all season has been free throw shooting. Though it was a crucial part of its second half surge against Stetson, the charity stripe has not been kind this season. The Lady Vols make just 63.6-percent of their free throw shots.
Against Texas, they were able to get to the line 32 times, good for their second highest mark this season. 24 of those attempts found their mark, for a 75-percent clip. Westbrook was 4-of-5 from the line, while Jackson made nine of her 11 free throw attempts.
Following the big win, Tennessee will have over a week off before it returns to the court on Dec. 18 for a matchup against the 11th ranked Stanford Cardinal in Knoxville. Last season, the Lady Vols got the edge over the Cardinal on the road, winning 83-71.