No. 9 Lady Vols’ balanced offense bests Georgia State, 84-60
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (UT Athletics) – Five Lady Vols finished in double figures in a balanced offensive effort, as the No. 9/9 Tennessee women’s basketball team defeated Georgia State, 84-60, Sunday afternoon at Thompson-Boling Arena.
A pair of Lady Vols secured double-doubles, as junior center Tamari Key finished with a team-high 16 points and 11 rebounds and recorded her sixth double-double of the season and fourth in a row. Junior guard Jordan Horston added 10 points and 10 rebounds for her fourth of the season and fifth career.
Three other UT players secured 10+ points, as graduate forward/center Keyen Green tallied the highest scoring output since coming to Rocky Top with 14 points. Freshman guard/forward Sara Puckett finished with 12, and freshman guard Brooklynn Miles added 11. Taniya Worth had 13 points to lead the Panthers (4-5).
Tennessee (9-0) tossed in 21 of 29 attempts (72.4 percent) from the free-throw line. It was the first time the Lady Vols made more than 20 charity shots since last year’s upset of No. 2 South Carolina, 75-67, on Feb. 18, 2021.
UT dominated the glass, pulling down 62 rebounds, 26 of which came on the offensive end. It was the most rebounds the Lady Vols had in a game since the 2019 season opener when Tennessee had 62 at ETSU.
Tennessee and Georgia State traded blows early and were tied at 11 at the media break, but a basket right before the media timeout helped the Big Orange compile a 14-2 run spanning over five minutes until Georgia State’s Tehya Lyons sank a pull-up jumper as the horn sounded. Tennessee led, 23-15 at the end of the quarter, the most points UT has scored in the opening stanza this year.
The Lady Vols continued to get it done on both ends in the second quarter, topping GSU, 19-9, in the period. UT went to the locker room leading, 42-24, and Key was critical to that success, scoring 12 points, nabbing seven boards, adding two assists and a block. Puckett was a force in the paint, already grabbing a career-high eight rebounds by the end of the first half.
A long third quarter saw a combined 17 fouls and 21 free throws between the two sides. The Lady Vols were locked in from the charity stripe, sinking 10-of-13 (76.9 percent) from the line. Puckett finished the quarter with a splash, draining a 17-footer as the horn sounded in the third. Tennessee led 67-38 after three quarters of action. A balanced offensive attack propelled UT to 25 points in the frame, as seven different Lady Vols found the score sheet.
Nine different Lady Vols saw the court in the final quarter, as Tennessee finished off a dominant night on the glass. Seven UT players logged a board in the fourth quarter, with Green and freshman forward Karoline Striplin pulling down three rebounds, respectively. Nine of Tennessee’s boards in the fourth were on the offensive end, leading to seven second-chance points.
The Lady Vols will be back in action next week for a top-10 matchup, as they host No. 4 Stanford on Saturday at Thompson-Boling Arena. Tip-off is slated for 5:15 p.m., and tickets are available at AllVols.com.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE TIME: Tamari Key and Jordan Horston each recorded double-doubles against Georgia State. Through nine games UT has logged 11 double-doubles, and at least one Lady Vol has had a double-double in every game this season.
TK MAKING MOVES: With three blocked shots against Georgia State, junior Tamari Key tied Michelle Snow at sixth on UT’s career blocks list with 194. She trails No. 5 Mercedes Russell by only one and No. 4 Ashley Robinson by six.
BALANCED ATTACK: Nine of the Lady Vols’ 10 active players logged a bucket against Georgia State, and five Lady Vols turned in a double-digit effort (Horston, Miles, Puckett, Key, Green). It’s the first time during the 2021-22 campaign that five UT players have scored 10+ points.
BIG-TIME BENCH POINTS: Tennessee’s bench scored a season-high 44 points against the Panthers. Through nine games, UT’s bench is averaging 21.2 points per game.
CLEANING THE GLASS: The Lady Vols pulled down a season-high 62 rebounds while only allowing Georgia State 33. Tennessee has out-rebounded every opponent this season is averaging 50.0 rpg. while holding opposing teams to 32.7 rpg. UT is tops in the nation in rebounds per game.
PUCKETT GETS “BUCKETTS”: Freshman Sara Puckett added 12 points in UT’s win over the Panthers. She has now scored in double digits in three of the last four contests.