The Tennessee women’s basketball team defeated Carson-Newman 70-44 in head coach Kellie Harper’s debut at Thompson-Boling Arena.
First Day on the Job
In her Tennessee coaching debut, Harper was able to lead the Lady Vols to a win. She made multiple lineup changes throughout the game and relied on her veteran players to lead the way.
Junior and a member of the SEC Coaches’ Preseason All-SEC First Team Rennia Davis, led the Lady Vols with 20 points and eight rebounds. Sophomore Rae Burrell tacked on 14 points and recorded nine rebounds.
“It was cool,” Harper said. “I tell people this all the time and it’s kinda hard to put into words that I am here and back at my alma mater. A place with such rich tradition and I do not take that lightly. It is just really cool and there is really no way to explain it. You walk out their and to see our fans and to hear Rocky Top is just so great.”
Tennessee recorded their biggest lead of the night in the fourth quarter, which stood at 32 points. The Lady Vols kept the Eagles off of the charity stripe and only gave up 13 points in the final quarter.
Tennessee kept Carson-Newman at a 29-percent shooting percentage throughout the entire game. The end of the first quarter saw Tennessee up 26-9. In the second quarter, the Lady Vols were able to produce 11 turnovers and held the Eagles to just 4 points.
“We played zone quite a bit in the third quarter, but I do not know how many possessions but we wanted to play it quite a bit and we even did it in the fourth,” Harper said. “The length that we can have defensively in the zone is a nice change up for our man-to-man defense.”
By the end of the game, Tennessee racked up 19 forced turnovers and was able to generate 15 points off of them. The Lady Vols took the lead first and never gave it up for the entire duration of the game.
Harper implemented several different lineups in tonight’s match. Tennessee saw six players making their Lady Vol debut and they all combined for 22 points and three of them scored at least six points. Those players were freshman Jordan Horston and Tamari Key, along with junior transfer jaiden McCoy.
“I think it’s super important, because when I was a freshman I felt most comfortable being out there with people who have already experienced the game,” said Davis. “That is just when I felt most comfortable, and I think that being out their with those four new people was easy for me because they were communicating out there really well and wanted to listen.”
All six played a combined total of 95 minutes and also attributed 19 rebounds and five steals.
Tennessee begins their season away against ETSU on Tuesday, Nov. 5. After that, the Lady Vols play their home opener against Central Arkansas on Nov. 7.