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Lady Vols Throttle Golden Eagles as UT Sweeps TTU in 2021

The Lady Vols had their largest margin of victory against Oklahoma State in Las Vegas, and they topped it one game later against TTU in TBA.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.– The No. 11 Tennessee Lady Vols (6-0) returned to action in Thompson-Boling Arena to take on the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles (2-4), and Kellie Harper's squad remains undefeated with a 76-48 win.

This year, the win marks the most significant margin of victory for the Lady Vols with 28 points, beating the previous record of 25 points in Las Vegas last weekend against Oklahoma State.

Horston has been the MVP for Tennessee this season in the absence of Rae Burrell, but the junior took a backseat in production against the Golden Eagles. Tamari Key continued her solid 2021-2022 campaign with a double-double against the Golden Eagles, yet again serving as a force down low on offense and having four blocks on defense. 

The story of the night, however, was Alexus Dye and Tess Darby.

Dye had a very productive first half with 14 points and finished with a team-leading 20 points. Dye's point total marks the third time a Lady Vol has scored 20+ this season, and it is the first time someone did it not named Jordan Horston. Dye has played tough all year, and her physicality against the Golden Eagles and nose for the hoop led to a big night for the Troy transfer. Dye played balanced offense, hitting four jumpers and getting three buckets in the paint in the first half. The Birmingham, Alabama, native finished with 12 points in the paint, contributing to UT's total of 52 paint points against Tech.

At halftime, the Lady Vols led by only eight points as Tech had four threes in the first half, so Dye's dominance, specifically in the second quarter with eight points, loomed large in Tennessee's ability to lead going into the break. 

Dye was the Jordan Horston for the Lady Vols against TTU, and tonight's performance for No. 2 is a great sign that Kellie Harper's squad can look to other players when Horston is not as sharp. 

Sophomore guard/forward Tess Darby set a career game-high with 12 points against the Golden Eagles, and all of the points came from beyond the arc. The Lady Vols have struggled from three-point range this season. While they only shot 33% from beyond the arc against TTU, Darby shot 66% from that range and allowed the Lady Vols to find their offensive footing in the second quarter before Alexus Dye took it to another level. 

Dye and Darby led the UT offense to 76, but the defensive play in the second half cannot be ignored, as the Lady Vols shut down the Golden Eagles after the break. TTU managed to muster up only seven points in the first 15 minutes of the second half, as the shutdown defense was the culprit of Tennessee's ability to expand the lead by such a wide margin in the late stages. 

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Tamari Key finished with her fourth double-double of the season, one of only four women in the SEC to have three or more double-doubles this season. 

So, a Dye season-high, Darby career-high, Key double-double, and shutdown defense in the second half keep the Lady Vols undefeated at 7-0. 

Additionally, the Lady Vols mark the fourth Vol sports team to beat Tennessee Tech this calendar year, giving UT a clean sweep of the Golden Eagles in all major sports.

Up next for Kellie Harper and co. is a date with the Virginia Tech Hokies in Blacksburg, Virginia, on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. ET. Virginia Tech is unranked, but the Hokies boast a 7-1 record going into Sunday, so Tennessee will yet again have to remain stout defensively and continue to bring the offensive energy.

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