No. 14 Tennessee cruises past Lipscomb 85-51
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Fourteenth-ranked Tennessee enjoyed a bit of a home-crowd backing to earn its first road victory of the season, 85-51 at Lipscomb.
Cierra Burdick and Isabelle Harrison came off the bench to score 16 points apiece, leading the Lady Vols (6-2) to their second straight win. UT had dropped out of the top 10 with consecutive losses at in-state UT-Chattanooga and at No. 4 Texas.
''We talked a lot about playing with energy,'' Lady Vols coach Holly Warlick said. ''We've got the talent, we just have to play with that kind of heart as we did today.''
Harrison, in her second game back after a knee sprain, was playing in her hometown. Freshman Alexa Middleton, from nearby Murfreesboro, Tennessee, added 12 points and also was in the wave of subs that helped spark a 26-0 run after Lipscomb (2-6) led briefly 3-2.
''We needed that for sure,'' Burdick said. ''It was a great environment, especially with three of our players being from (middle) Tennessee. It was good to come here and kind of have a home-court advantage on the road.''
The Lady Bisons, who packed in a zone defense to try to stop UT's post players, were led by Ashley Southern's 12 points and 10 boards. Lipscomb was trying to become the first Atlantic Sun team to beat the Lady Vols.
Sara Bliss's 3-pointer put Lipscomb on top for 28 seconds before Nia Moore's putback started a 26-0 Tennessee run.
Burdick, who had her second straight double-double with 10 rebounds, scored nine of the next 11 points for the Lady Vols to make it 15-3. Ariel Massengale and Jasmine Jones hit back-to-back 3-pointers, then Middleton pushed it to 28-3 with a trey and a layup after a Lipscomb backcourt turnover.
''I think when you've got three seniors coming in off the bench, it gives you a little scoring burst,'' Burdick said. ''I feel like we play solid defense and we get the job done on the offensive end as well.''
Burdick finished 4 of 6 on field goals and 8 of 9 on free throws.
Lipscomb's Chandler Cooper ended the drought with a basket with 7 minutes left, but couldn't convert on a three-point opportunity.
Kelli Smith's 3-pointer cut it to 28-8, but Bashaara Graves sank a pair of free throws as UT hit its first nine from the line. The Lady Vols were 12 of 13 on foul shots the opening half, with Harrison 4 of 4 and Burdick 6 of 7.
''We played with some poise after we got that (run) out of the way, played tough, but that's what makes UT, UT, because they can make those runs,'' said Lipscomb coach Greg Brown, a former Lady Vols assistant. ''We showed resilience, we came back, we played physical and we played tough.''
Tennessee's biggest lead of the first half was 37-10 before Danay Fothergill had a 3-pointer. Middleton's 3-pointer pushed it to 32 points at 65-33 in the second half.
Tennessee: The Lady Vols' bench outscored their opponent's entire team for the second consecutive game, with a 58-19 advantage against Lipscomb's substitutes.
Lipscomb: Freshman starter Emily Eubank scored eight straight points including a pair of 3-pointers for Lipscomb to close within 52-29.
Tennessee: at No. 18 Rutgers on Dec. 14.
Lipscomb: vs. Wichita State on Dec. 16.
UT's Harrison, a preseason All-American, isn't at 100 percent yet after coming back in the previous game from a knee injury. She went 6 of 10 from the floor and 4 of 6 on free throws, plus grabbed six rebounds. Redshirt freshman Jannah Tucker is still sidelined.
Tennessee's Warlick offered a home-and-home series to Brown, who worked with Warlick on Pat Summitt's 2002-04 staff, instead of a 3-for-1 or 2-for-1 when the Lady Vols needed a game scheduled last year. Lipscomb, hosting the Lady Vols for the first time, lost 110-42 in Knoxville last December.