KNOXVILLE – The scoring started with a Meighan Simmons 3-pointer 24 seconds into the action and it never stopped as No. 20/15 Tennessee cruised to a 90-37 victory on Sunday at Thompson-Boling Arena. Simmons led six Lady Vols in double-figures with 12 points.
All 11 Lady Vols scored for the first time all season for Tennessee (4-1), which has won four straight after a season-opening loss at Chattanooga. Five players finished with 10 points including three freshmen: Bashaara Graves, Jasmine Jones and Nia Moore. Also scoring 10 were Taber Spani and Isabelle Harrison.
Tennessee coach Holly Warlick was pleased with that kind of balanced scoring.
“That means we’re sharing the basketball and playing together, and we’re not relying on one person,” Warlick said. “I love it. I would say I think our offense is a little ahead of our defense, but we work more on our defense so I don’t know what kind of coaching I’ve been doing. We’re putting them in position to score and get good looks. I thought at times we haven’t given them good looks. It’s been tough shot in the pass. We’re putting them in position to get good looks and scoring off our defense.
“That’s what I want. Second half, all we cared about was scoring in transition and just spreading the floor and playing together. I thought in the second half we settled down and did that.”
Alcorn (0-4) was led by Tierro Frost, who had nine points. The game marked the return of former Lady Vols star Tonya Edwards, who is in her fifth year as the head coach of the Lady Braves. Edwards was the Most Outstanding Player in the NCAA Final Four when the Lady Vols won their first title in 1987.
Before the game, Edwards reunited with her former coach.
“Tonya wanted to know where coach (Pat) Summitt was,” Warlick said. “She was going to go across the floor and couldn’t see her. Tonya Edwards has helped build this program, tradition and wanted to help Pat with wins. She was anxious to see her. I thought it was important that I took her over there to make sure she saw Pat. I have a lot of respect for Tonya and what she is doing. She will get her team turned around.
“She loves this program and actually I think she is coming by practice tomorrow to watch us. I thought it was important for Tonya to get the chance to speak to Pat and visit with her. I wanted to make sure she did that. I wouldn’t walk too many people over to see coach Summitt.”
Tennessee shot 55.7 percent for the game while Alcorn was limited to 22.6 percent from the floor. UT forced the Lady Braves into 34 turnovers, which the Lady Vols converted into 37 points.
“Our defense held Alcorn State to 22 percent (shooting),” Warlick said. “That’s the best we’ve done thus far, but we can get better. We can always get better. We shot the ball, I think, well, but in the second half, we shot a lot of layups. That’s what we’re trying to do, to run an offense to score quickly and score in transition.
The Lady Vols continue their three-game home stand on Wednesday night as Middle Tennessee State comes to Thompson-Boling Arena for a 7 p.m. tipoff. That game can be viewed on UTSports.com and heard on the Lady Vol Network.