Lady Vols crush Carson-Newman in exhibition opener
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (UT) - No. 3-ranked Tennessee women's basketball team used a 27-2 run across the end of the first half and start of the second to pull away from Carson-Newman in a 105-40 exhibition win at Thompson-Boling Arena on Tuesday evening.
"I thought we did some good things tonight," head coach Pat Summitt said. "It's always good when you get to play everyone. Exhibition games are great to get the kinks out and to get some game footage you can use in teaching. Our players will learn a lot from watching the tape (Wednesday). Across the board, I was pleased with the way we played."
Led by senior Alicia Manning's 23 points, the Lady Vols had six players in double-figures: Cierra Burdick (15), Meighan Simmons (14), Taber Spani (13), Shekinna Stricklen (12) and Vicki Baugh (10).
Leading 31-15 with 6:13 remaining in the opening half, the Lady Vols scored the final 17 points of the first period to take a 48-15 lead into intermission. The scoring spree was bolstered by seven points from Manning, who shot 10-of-14 from the floor.
Tennessee came out of the locker room continuing its run, scoring 10 of the second half's first 12 points, cumulating in an overall 27-2 spurt as UT led 56-17. In her Tennessee debut, Burdick took advantage of her opportunities at the free-throw line to record 15 points as UT's second-leading scorer.
Outrebounding Carson-Newman 65-30, Tennessee was led by Baugh, who pulled down a game-high 14 boards.
Tennessee never allowed the Lady Eagles to get into an offensive flow, forcing 34 turnovers and blocking 10 shots. Manning also led the Lady Vols with five steals, while freshman Isabelle Harrison was disruptive in the paint with half of UT's rejections (five).
Freshman Ariel Massengale also made her UT debut, draining one of Tennessee's four three-pointers to score five points off the bench.
As a whole, UT's freshman class combined for 25 points and 16 rebounds in its debut.
"These three freshmen are so passionate about the game," Summitt said. "They are going to help this team. They listen...they want to improve daily and they are invested in everything we do. At the same time, I have to credit the upperclassmen for taking them under their wing and getting them prepared."
The Lady Vols' scoring started early as they took the lead before the opening tip with a free throw on a Carson-Newman technical foul. The Lady Eagles were late turning in their starting lineup and Spani took advantage, sinking one-of-two free throws for the 1-0 advantage.
The final score, 105-40, was Tennessee's largest lead. The advantage ballooned to 50 (80-30) with 9:28 remaining in the game on a pair of Glory Johnson free throws. Tennessee will play its second exhibition game next Tuesday, Nov. 8, against Union at 7 p.m., before beginning the regular season by hosting Pepperdine on Sunday, Nov. 13 at 4 p.m.