No. 20 Tennessee defeated Air Force in the schools first ever contest, 81-54 on Sunday in Thompson-Boling Arena. With the win, the Lady Vols open the season 7-0, which is the fifth time in 10 years that they have accomplished this feat. This was also head coach Kellie Harper’s 500th game of her career as a coach. Air Force, after today, falls to 1-7 on the season.
Tennessee’s offense was firing on all cylinders as they had nine players score. The Lady Vols also dominated the paint as they scored 56 points inside. Tennessee forced 22 turnovers and scored 23 points off of them. Tennessee shot 54.8% in Sunday’s match, its best shooting percentage all season. They also shot over 60% in the second and third quarters, 66.7 and 64.7, respectively.
Rennia Davis led the way for Tennessee as she ended with 18 points and nine rebounds. Rae Burrell, Kasiyahna Kushkituah, Jazmine Massengill, and Tamari Key all reached the double digit point total with 18, 13, 11, and 10, respectively.
Burrell’s and Kushkituah’s point totals stand as the fourth-straight game that the two Lady Vols have notched double-digit point totals off of the bench. Burrell’s 18 points stand as her season-high. This is the second straight game in which she has tallied a new season best in points. Against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, she scored her previous best of 17.
Riley Snyder of Air Force, scored a game-high 20 points and grabbed six boards. Kaelin Immel scored the second most points for the Falcons as she dropped 13. Overall, Air Force’s offense shot 29.6% from the field. They did however, out-rebound Tennessee 40-39, marking the first time all season the Tennessee has been out-rebounded.
Turnovers were the deciding factor in the game as Tennessee snatched a season-high 15 steals, while converting those into a season-high 21 fast break points. While Tennessee gave away the ball 19 times, they were able to only give up 15 points off of the Falcon’s fast break.
The Lady Vols ball distribution has been aided by the play of Jordan Horston and Jazmine Massengill. Horston leads the team in assists with 33 and Massengill is in second with 32. If they keep this pace up, Horston would average 4.7 assists per game, which would rank second all-time for a Lady Vol freshman behind Ariel Massengale’s 4.9. Massengill would finish with 4.6 assists per game, which would put her at fifth all-time for Lady Vol sophomores.
Next up for Tennessee is a home match against Texas on Sunday at 2 p.m. at Thompson-Boling Arena.