Lady Vols vs. Georgia College

Kaiya Wynn (5) with a layup against Georgia College at Thompson Boling Arena. November 3, 2021.

The Lady Vols basketball team opened the 2021-22 campaign against Kellie Harper’s brother Ross Jolly and his Georgia College squad. Tennessee dominated the Bobcats in the exhibition, cruising to a 108-44 victory in Thompson-Bowling Arena. 

Here’s how the Lady Vols graded out. 

Backcourt 

Tennessee’s backcourt was led by senior Rae Burrell. The Las Vegas native led the Lady Vols in scoring with 18 points on an efficient 7-of-9 shooting from the field, including 1-of-3 from three-point range. She also racked up 4 boards, 2 assists and a steal.

Junior Jordan Horston filled up the stat sheet with her performance on Wednesday night. She was second on the team in points with 14, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and was tied for second on the team in steals with 3. She drained 2 three’s from downtown and finished the night 6-of-14 from the field. 

Jordan Walker got the start at point guard, racking up 11 points, 4 boards, 3 assists and 3 steals. Walker and Horston tied for the team high in steals Wednesday. 

Tess Darby, the lone Tennessee native on the team added 8 points off the bench, including draining 2 three-pointers. She also added 2 blocks and a rebound. 

Freshman Brooklyn Miles was a menace on defense, as she led the team with 5 steals and was a facilitator on offense with her team-leading 5 assists. 

Grade: A-

Frontcourt 

The 2021 Sun Belt Player of the Year Alexus Dye led all frontcourt players in her debut for the Big Orange. Dye was hot early, racking up 6 points in the first quarter to jumpstart the offense, finishing the game with 12 points. She shot 6-of-10 from the field and added 6 boards during the game. 

In her triumphant return from injury, Keyen Green did not skip a beat, as she led the bench in scoring with 11 points. Green was 3-of-4 from the field and 5-of-9 from the free throw line. She also hauled in 6 rebounds and a steal. 

Starting center Tamari Key wasn’t too productive on the offensive side of the ball, as she only tallied 6 points. However, she was excellent at defending the rim, racking up 3 blocks and grabbing 5 boards. 

Sara Puckett led all players in minutes and rebounds, staying on the floor for 22 minutes and hauling in 9 boards. The freshman scored 5 points, dished out 3 assists and even had a block in her debut. 

Off the bench, Karoline Striplin put in 6 points, 5 rebounds, an assist, 2 steals and a block in her season debut. 

Grade: A

Offense

Although the matchup on Wednesday night wasn’t evenly matched, the box score is still nice to look at if you’re Tennessee. The Lady Vols reached the century mark, scoring 108 points, shooting over 50% from the field and over 40% from behind the arc. 

Five Lady Vols finished the game in double figures and every player scored at least 4 points over the course of the game. Tennessee dominated in the paint, overpowering the Bobcats down low. 

The Big Orange scored a whopping 78 of their 108 points in the paint. They scored 27 second chance points, as they secured 31 of their massive total of 64 rebounds on the offensive side.

The speed of the Lady Vols was evident as well, scoring 27 points on the break. Georgia College had no answer, as Tennessee led wire-to-wire. 

The only aspect from the game that needs some improvement moving forward is free throw shooting. Tennessee shot below 50% from the charity strike, only sinking 9-of-23 attempts. Against a more evenly matched opponent, missing those free points could come back to bite them. 

Luckily, Tennessee was the far superior opponent, and can work on the free throw shooting leading up to a much more evenly matched contest. 

Grade: A-

Defense

Tennessee had no problems stopping the Bobcats. They held Georgia College to under 30% from the field shooting and under 15% from three point land. 

They wrecked havoc on the defensive side, forcing the Bobcats to have 25 turnovers and Tennessee scored 34 points off of their turnovers. The Lady Vols stole the ball 18 times and sent back 8 shots from the Bobcats. 

The lead was never in doubt, as the defense held the Bobcats under 10 points in the first and fourth quarters. 

The Lady Vols' size and depth was on full display against Georgia College on Wednesday, and it will be a storyline throughout the remainder of the season if they can keep the defensive intensity up. 

Grade: A+

Coaching

Harper got the upper-hand in the sibling affair against her brother on Wednesday night in dominating fashion. She was able to play every player that was available and seek out potential rotational pieces for the remainder of the season. 

The game was never in doubt for Harper and company. 

Grade: A

Overall

Not much debate here. Lady Vols won by 64 and led the entire ballgame. Still plenty of things to work on, as always, but a great start to the season. 

Grade: A

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