Las Vegas, NV – No. 11/10 Tennessee women’s basketball improved to 6-0 on the season, shooting 55 percent from the field to defeat Oklahoma State at the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout on Saturday, 80-55.
The Lady Vols, who opened with six straight wins for the second time in three seasons under Kellie Harper, were led by junior guard Jordan Horston, who narrowly missed a triple-double with 17 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists. Junior center Tamari Key turned in a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, and freshman guard/forward Sara Puckett and graduate forward Alexus Dye both tallied 11 points.
Dye opened the scoring for the game, putting UT on the board 11 seconds in, and graduate guard Jordan Walker followed it up with a three a minute later to put the Lady Vols ahead by five. Fields hit a free throw to get OSU on the board, but sophomore guard/forward Tess Darby knocked down a 3-pointer on the next possession to give UT its largest lead of the quarter at 8-1. Collins converted on the three-point play on the Cowgirls’ next trip down the floor to cut the deficit to five, and the teams traded buckets through the 2:39 mark when Oklahoma State closed out the quarter with a 6-2 run to send the game into the second period with UT ahead 18-16.
Key was the first to score in the second stanza, hitting a layup to set off a 13-2 run that put the Lady Vols ahead by 13 at the media timeout. Fields hit a jumper with 3:26 left in the half to give the Cowgirls some momentum, and she and Collins combined to pull OSU back within 11 by the 1:51 mark, but the Lady Vols finished the half with an 8-0 run to forge a 44-25 lead at the break.
Tennessee picked up where it left off in the second half, opening with eight unanswered points from Horston, Darby and Dye to go up 52-25. Tracey Bershers ended the OSU drought with a three at the 7:38 mark, and the teams swapped baskets through the media timeout.
Key hit a pair of free throws following the break to put the Lady Vols up 58-33, and N’Yah Boyd responded with a jumper before Key and graduate forward Keyen Green scored on back-to-back plays to extend UT’s lead to 27. Collins knocked down a layup for the Cowgirls with 1:33 left in the quarter, but freshman guard Kaiya Wynn and Walker combined for three points to send the game into the fourth with Tennessee up 67-39.
Lexy Keys scored on a fast break to cut UT’s lead to 26 at the start of the final stanza, but Wynn responded with a layup on the other end to set off a 7-0 Tennessee run that saw that Lady Vols move ahead by 33 with 7:18 to play. Tennessee’s reserves got to see some quality action in the closing minutes, with all 12 active players playing at least eight minutes in the game as UT closed the contest out with a comfortable 25-point victory.
Taking An Early Lead In The Big 12 and ACC
Tennessee improved to 3-0 vs. Big 12 Conference schools, taking care of No. 12/21 Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma State in succession. Prior to that, the Lady Vols defeated American Athletic Conference schools UCF and No. 23/22 South Florida in back-to-back contests to go 2-0 vs. that league.
Tamari Key logged her third double-double of the season against the Cowgirls with 12 points and 11 rebounds to tie Jordan Horston for the team lead. A Lady Vol has logged a double-double in every game thus far this season.
Four UT Lady Vols turned in double-digit scoring (Horston, Key, Dye, Puckett), while 11 of 12 active players scored at least one point. After missing the opener due to injury, Horston has led Tennessee in scoring in all five contests after that.
Outshooting The Cowgirls
Tennessee had its best shooting effort of the season by far. The Lady Vols hit 54.7 percent of their field goal attempts, soaring past their previous best of 42.6 vs. Southern Illinois in the opener. Their 69.2 effort at the free-throw line also was a season-best.
Owning The Glass
Tennessee out-rebounded OSU, 52-26. The Lady Vols have won the rebounding battle against every opponent this season, averaging 39.2 rpg. while holding opposing teams to 27.8 rpg. on average. UT posted 50+ rebounds vs. all three Big 12 schools it faced, including 56 against Texas, 55 vs. Kansas, and 51 against Oklahoma State.
Next Up For Tennessee Lady Vols Basketball
The Tennessee women’s basketball team will return home to host Tennessee Tech on Tuesday at 5:30pm CT. The game will be available for streaming on SECN+.
Oklahoma State 55, Tennessee 80