No. 15 Tennessee won its second game of the season in another close game that came down to the last few minutes. The Lady Vols are still without star Rae Burrell but managed to get past a solid UCF team, 49-41.
Tennessee had a strong first half, but the Knights crawled back in after the Lady Vols let up in the second half.
Here’s how the Lady Vols graded out.
The Lady Vols had a hefty void to fill in the backcourt with Burrell being out after an injury in Wednesday night's game against Southern Illinois.
Returning to the lineup to help fill that void was Jordan Horston.
The junior guard missed Wednesday night’s game due to an injury but was back in the lineup Friday. She put up a double-double, notching 14 points along with 11 boards. She also contributed on the defensive end, bringing in a steal and denying one shot.
Horston was great in every aspect Friday besides one — turnovers.
She turned the ball over 11 times, a number that contributed to UCF’s second half comeback.
Jordan Walker joined Horston in the backcourt and had a quiet night, taking just 3 shots and making one of them for just 3 points on the game.
Brooklyn Miles played a team-high 34 minutes off the bench but didn’t contribute much in her time. She took just one shot, which she missed, and had 3 assists and a pair of boards.
Kaiya Wynn only played for three minutes and had 2 turnovers in her few minutes in the game.
Tennessee’s frontcourt didn’t contribute much on offense but was able to offer some defensive presence.
Alexus Dye was a little quieter than she was in her debut, but still put up 5 points, 8 rebounds and 3 steals. She wasn’t great shooting wise, going 2-12 on the game.
Tamari Key was an efficient 2-4 for 4 points with 6 boards, a block and a steal. Key was once again limited in her minutes because of foul trouble. She played just 19 minutes because of a few quick fouls.
Tess Darby got the start Friday and put up 8 points on a sloppy 3-10 shooting. She nailed 2 three-pointers on the game.
Freshman Sara Puckett got some valuable minutes Friday, playing for 26 minutes of the game. In her time, she was 2-3 from the field for 8 points, going 1-2 from deep. She also pulled in 4 boards and recorded a block.
Keyen Green played just 14 minutes but made the most of her time, recording 7 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals.
The Lady Vols’ offense seemed to still be getting acclimated to the season in Friday’s game.
The shooting was shaky, making 18-53 shots from the field, including 4-15 from deep. The Lady Vols also once again struggled from the free throw line, shooting 56% from the stripe.
Tennessee will need to clean up its shooting before getting into the nitty gritty of the season.
The Lady Vols also did a poor job of taking care of the ball, with 28 total turnovers.
While still not great, Tennessee’s defense looked stronger than its offense.
The Lady Vols held UCF to 14-52 from the field, allowing just 3 three-pointers. The Lady Vols also forced 24 turnovers, including 11 steals.
Tennessee was in foul trouble all night, however. The Lady Vols had 15 total personal fouls and UCF was able to hurt Tennessee from the line, making 10 of 11 free throws.
The Lady Vols have proved they can defend well but will need to learn to do it without fouling if they want to have success this season.
The Lady Vols came out strong in this game, limiting the Knights to just 14 first half points.
Tennessee went into halftime after a 13-2 run, giving the team momentum going into the second half.
However Tennessee’s strong first half was followed up by a slow third quarter that allowed UCF to get back into the game and the Lady Vols led by just 4 points heading into the fourth quarter.
Tennessee was able to close out the game in the fourth quarter, but just by 8 points, a number head coach Kellie Harper probably wishes was higher.
The Lady Vols got the win, but playing a full four quarters is going to be a point of emphasis for the Lady Vols heading into the rest of the season.