By Chloe Levering
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Lady Volunteers were not taking another loss from an unranked SEC team they proved Sunday afternoon with their 86-59 victory over Vanderbilt.
After taking on the Commodores for the second time this season, Tennessee head coach Kellie Harper stated that her team went into this matchup with a primary goal in mind.
“We knew that we needed to play better against Vanderbilt than the first time we played them, and that’s been our focus,” Harper said.
Dominant performances from players such as Jordan Horston, Tess Darby, and, of course, Rickea Jackson took over during the third quarter to give Tennessee the lead after a close first half.
“It was just fun,” Horston said. “I was just letting my defense dictate how everything else was going to go and I feel like it’s a lot more fun playing that way.”
In fact, the game was tied up a total of 7 times after the Commodores forced turnovers in the first half, but the Lady Volunteers were able to stay in the game and pull forward to as much as a 29 point lead during the 4th quarter.
“This is always a fun place to play. I’m really proud of my team for coming here and playing the way they did in the first half,” Vanderbilt head coach Shea Ralph said following the game.
Sunday’s game also served as the PlayForKay game, spreading awareness towards breast cancer with pink jerseys on both teams. Although the Super Bowl was just hours away, fans showed up in their pink and ready to cheer on Tennessee.
“They got into it, they were loud, and I think they enjoyed it,” Head coach Kellie Harper said. “Again, I think you can enjoy watching this team I think, and just all the dynamics going on.”
Next up, the Lady Volunteers take on Arkansas on the road. This game will be a true test as to how Tennessee will fare in their remaining SEC matchups, as Arkansas is a team with a 19-8 record and similar size and skill.
The game will air on SEC network on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. EST.