By Chloe Levering
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. –The Tennessee Lady Vols (8-6) dominated against the Wofford Terriers (9-4) 92-53 on Tuesday evening in Thompson-Boling Arena.
The game came right after Christmas and snow storms across the country, although Lady Vol fans still showed up with their support, as there were approximately 8,000 in attendance, according to ESPN. For Wofford, head coach Jimmy Garrity even revealed the team had a bit of trouble with their bus breaking down and sliding on snow during their trip down to Knoxville. However, both teams came ready to play and Lady Vol nation came ready to cheer on their team.
The game came after a close loss to No. 2 Stanford on the road, which head coach Kellie Harper says the team was able to get “closure” from afterward.
“What we did after our game at Stanford was stayed in Palo Alto for the evening, practiced the next day, and we were able to have closure from that game,” Harper said. “If we hadn’t stayed over, that would’ve eaten on everybody this entire break.”
The closure certainly paid off, as the Lady Vols were ready to go come Tuesday at tipoff time.
Jordan Horston was quick to score to start the match, with the first 7 points being her own. Wofford went almost the entire first quarter without scoring until Ja’Rae Smith made two free throws with 1:51 remaining.
Tennessee, however, was quick to score threes in the first half, including threes from players such as Sara Puckett, Tess Darby, and Horston. Rickea Jackson led in overall scoring for the Lady Vols with 16 points, followed by Horston with 13.
Freshman Justine Pissott scored three back-to-back threes in the second quarter, a huge moment for the freshman and the team overall. After Pissott’s third three, the Lady Vols led 35-6, prompting a Wofford timeout.
“I’m very proud of Justine,” Horston said. “Her confidence is building day by day.”
“Before she even got the ball I was clapping,” Harper said.
Tennessee went 11-14 as far as free throws in the fourth quarter after multiple fouls from Wofford.
Garrity attributed the win to Tennessee’s sheer athleticism and talent.
“This is, without a doubt, one of the most talented teams in the country,” Garrity said.
If the Lady Vols are going to prove they are the most talented in the country, now is the time to do so as they enter SEC play on Friday. At this pivotal point in the season, every game matters, especially for a team that has never missed the NCAA tournament.
Harper says that she’s looking for the team to play to win in Gainesville and the rest of conference play.
“I think the first lesson is this is the SEC,” Harper said. “You better not take a night off because if you take a night off you don’t come home with a win.”
Tennessee takes on the Florida Gators (12-2) on Thursday in Gainesville. The game will start at 6 p.m. EST and air on SEC+.