Tennessee defeated Virginia Tech 64-58 on the road Sunday to nab its eighth win and remain undefeated.
The Lady Vols’ win came after a fourth quarter comeback and a game that came down to the final minute.
Jordan Walker led the way for Tennessee with 17 points on an efficient 60% from the field.
“She can shoot the ball,” Sara Puckett said. “She is a very good floor general, she does a very great job of keeping everybody under control, settling us down when we need to. I think that feeds into her game.”
“I have full confidence of her. She was feeling it, she was confident and we just kept getting the ball to her.”
Puckett also stepped up with 15 points off the bench on 7-for-11 shooting.
“Offensively, everyone put their confidence in me, so I just stepped up for them,” Puckett said. “I wanted to just do what I could to provide for the win. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
The Lady Vols and the Hokies were neck and neck all game, with Virginia Tech getting the edge heading into the fourth quarter and up until late in the game. Tennessee went on a scoring run in the final five minutes and picked up the lead with around four minutes to play.
“We always huddle at free throws or at a dead ball, so we really just calm ourselves down there,” Puckett said. “We kept telling ourselves ‘this is our game, this is our game,’ we just have to push through. I think that was our focus, focusing on that one possession at a time and then going to the next.”
Tennessee’s fourth quarter run was fueled heavily by Tamari Key’s 8 points on 4-for-4 shooting late in the game. Puckett also had 8 points in the final quarter.
Key ended the night with 11 points, 12 rebounds and 5 blocks.
“I just felt like Tamari was always there, always giving her that one extra nudge,” Puckett said. “She was really on top of her game today. I think she did really great.”
Jordan Horston, who has been the Lady Vols’ spark on offense this season, had a slow game. Dealing with foul trouble, Horston was limited to 21 minutes and had 9 points on 3-of-13 shooting.
Despite a shaky performance, Horston came up big win the team needed her, getting two huge baskets late in the fourth quarter.
“Jordan had a tough night,” head coach Kellie Harper said. “She was in foul trouble, and we were able to squeeze some minutes out of her. I think it was hard to get her back in the rhythm and the flow of the game. At the end of the game she made some plays that we absolutely had to have.”
The Lady Vols' win is followed up by a week of no play before Sunday’s contest at home against Georgia State at 2 p.m. EST.
One of Tennessee’s biggest challenges of Sunday’s game was limiting Virginia Tech’s offensive threat Aisha Sheppard, who is averaging 12.5 points per game this season. Sheppard managed to torch the Lady Vols with 30 points, but the Lady Vols defensive efforts paid off late in the game.
“There were times where I don’t know what else we could’ve done defensively,” Harper said. “I want to give credit to Brooklyn Miles and Jordan Walker. They made her work for everything. She earned it, but I do believe she missed her last two and I do think them wearing on her finally paid off.”