WBB vs. UTC

Jasmine Powell, No. 15, Drives through traffic in win over UTC on Tuesday, Dec. 6. 

Tennessee handled The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga handily on Tuesday, winning 69-39 in Thompson-Boling Arena. 

The story of the night was the defense for the Lady Vols. Tennessee was still without its top scorer, Rickea Jackson, on Tuesday, but the Lady Vols made up for any offensive woes on the defensive end. 

“I thought we were really active,” Kellie Harper said following the game. “I thought it started with our ball pressure and our activity on the ball, our awareness,” Kelli Harper said following the game. “Something we’ve really been really working on, our awareness off the ball, our communication, all those things were good. They were at a high level of intensity to start the game.”

Jackson remained out on Tuesday due to a “coach’s decision.” Jasmine Franklin remained sidelined as well as she deals with a concussion. 

Tennessee returned Jillian Hollingdshead from concussion protocol, but the Lady Vols added Tamari Key to the list of players unavailable. 

Tennessee is putting one of its strengths to use in surmounting injuries, its depth. With a roster of 15 active players, Harper is putting everyone to use. 

“It’s actually been quite difficult,” Harper said. “We battled some concussions early in the season already and then here again this week. It’s not always easy.”

Being down three forwards didn’t hold Tennessee back against the Mocs.

Karoline Striplin replaced Key at the five in her first career start, putting in good work on both ends of the floor for Tennessee. She finished with seven points and three rebounds. Striplin shot 1-2 from three.

“It’s pretty amazing, it kind of felt like we were back in AAU days,” Sara Puckett said of Striplin’s success. “She did great. She’s been putting in that hard work and it’s noticeable. To be able to see that pay off for her, I’m extremely happy for her. I’m glad she went out and just did her thing.”

Striplin did not only look good in the stat sheet, but she took a leadership role on the court on Tuesday. The 6-foot-3 forward was directing traffic and anchoring the defense all night. 

Harper was not surprised by Striplin’s leadership and commanding presence on the floor. 

“She knows what she’s doing out there and she’s a vocal player,” Harper said. “She’s got great energy and she has great want-to. She works really hard. Her teammates could not be happier for her right now.”

Jordan Horston led the Lady Vols offensively, dropping 14 points. Jillian Hollingshead wasn’t far behind, scoring nine and picking up five boards. 

It seemed like Hollingshead hadn’t skipped a beat for Tennessee despite battling a concussion for a week. 

“This is a pretty good game to come back to,” Hollingshead said. “My teammates gave me confidence and actually trusted me to score, it really helped me a lot. Just feeding off their energy throughout the game.”

Tennessee only gave up eight points in the first quarter, forcing nine turnovers. UTC ended the quarter on a 7:08-minute scoring drought. 

The second quarter was much of the same for Tennessee. The Lady Vols held UTC to just seven points and forced seven turnovers. The Mocs went into halftime on a 3:54-minute scoring drought. 

Already a blowout, Tennessee wrapped it up in the second half. 

The Lady Vols look to build on the win as the team moves into finals week and two more home games before traveling to California to face off with Standford. 

“Teams don’t become great without adversity,” Harper said. “They don’t, and our players have to understand that this is a moment that can define who they are. It’s not always easy, but that’s okay. We can figure it out even in the tough times.

Jordan Horston led the Lady Vols offensively, dropping 14 points. Jillian Hollingshead wasn’t far behind, scoring nine and picking up five boards. 

Tennessee only gave up eight points in the first quarter, forcing nine turnovers. UTC ended the quarter on a 7:08-minute scoring drought. 

The second quarter was much of the same for Tennessee. The Lady Vols held UTC to just seven points and forced seven turnovers. The Mocs went into halftime on a 3:54-minute scoring drought. 

UTC had more success in the third quarter, matching Tennessee and scoring 14. Both teams had three turnovers in the evenly-matched quarter. 

Tennessee wrapped things up in the fourth quarter, getting Edie Darby and Justine Pissott quality minutes down the stretch.

“Teams don’t become great without adversity,” Harper said. “They don’t, and our players have to understand that this is a moment that can define who they are. It’s not always easy, but that’s okay. We can figure it out even in the tough times.  

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