KNOXVILLE – After suffering back-to-back losses to the No. 1 and No. 3 teams in the nation, Tennessee returned to the win column on Friday night with a 75-40 victory over Davidson at Thompson-Boling Arena. The No. 13/15 Lady Vols used an 18-2 run midway through the first half to break an 11-11 tie and never looked back.
The Lady Vols’ front court dominated as freshman Bashaara Graves and sophomores Cierra Burdick and Isabelle Harrison combined for 39 points and 29 rebounds for Tennessee (8-3).
With a game-high 16 points, Graves has reached double-figures in 10 of her 11 collegiate games. She also grabbed 10 rebounds for her fifth double-double of the season.
Burdick had and even 10 points and 10 rebounds for her second-career double-double. Harrison scored 13 points and corralled nine boards.
It was the second time this season Tennessee had two players with double-doubles, the other coming in the win over North Carolina.
Davidson (4-7) was topped by Sophia Aleksandravicious, who scored 12 points.
Tennessee dominated in many areas of the game. The Lady Vols held significant advantages in rebounding (48-26), points off turnovers (26-5), second-chance points (22-0), points in the paint (40-18), fastbreak points (10-0) and bench points (35-12).
Up 20 at halftime, Tennessee outscored Davidson 34-19 in the second half to run away with the win. The 19 points in the second half are tied for the fewest in a second half in Tennessee history.
The Lady Vols opened the second half on a 9-0 run to take a 50-21 lead on a Harrison jumper with 16:20 left in regulation. Davidson missed seven shots in a row and didn’t score for a 6:33 bridging the halves.
Tennessee doubled Davidson, 54-27, after a steal and layup by Ariel Massengale with 11 minutes left in the game.
The lead ballooned to 30 on a Kamiko Williams’ putback with 6:37 left in the game, making it 63-33.
Tennessee had its second-best defensive game this season in terms of scoring defense, allowing just 40 to the Wildcats. It was the third time UT held an opponent to less than 50 points.
It was also Tennessee’s fourth win by 35 or more points.
The Lady Vols, who are playing the nation’s most difficult schedule, came into the game having played four consecutive games against ranked teams, defeating North Carolina and Texas before falling to Baylor and Stanford.
Tennessee continues a two-game home stand on Sunday as long-time foe Rutgers (8-3)comes to Thompson-Boling Arena for a 1 p.m. tipoff. That game will air on SportSouth and the Vol Network.