UK gets good look at Lady Vols’ best
Posted: Tuesday, February 14, 2012 7:00 pm
By BETH RUCKER
AP Sports Writer
KNOXVILLE (AP) — Tennessee associate head coach Holly Warlick realizes it may be hard to recognize the 13th-ranked Lady Volunteers in their first solid win after two Southeastern Conference losses this month.
After their 91-54 victory over No. 7 Kentucky on Monday night, Warlick said they looked like the team she sees in practice and the team she expects to see on the court.
“You can look at how we played those two (losses) and see how we played against Kentucky and wonder, ‘What team is this?”’ Warlick said. “That’s the team we’re confident we need to see all the time, and that’s the team that can be there. They’ve just got to carry over the things we do in practice to the game.”
Meighan Simmons scored a season-high 25 points, and Shekinna Stricklen added 18 points for the Lady Vols, who shot 59 percent while holding Kentucky to 33.3 percent and held a 45-27 rebounding advantage. Glory Johnson scored 10 points.
Tennessee (18-7, 9-3) never trailed. Simmons hit consecutive 3-pointers to make it 10-2 and blocked a 3-point attempt by Keyla Snowden at the other end, one of six rejections by Tennessee in the first half.
The Wildcats (21-4, 10-2) pulled within 21-16 on a steal by Azia Bishop and a transition layup by Bernisha Pinkett with 9:20 in the first half, but they wouldn’t get any closer.
The loss marked the first time this season Kentucky has lost consecutive games.
“It probably should count as more than one loss, but it only counts as one,” Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell said. “We are leaving town in first place, and we need to find some way to get it together and see if we can earn a victory. We’ll have to see what we’re made of and see if we can bounce back.”
Vicki Baugh scored on a putback and was fouled by Bishop. She missed the free throw but charged through the lane and converted the rebound that put Tennessee up 29-18.
Those baskets launched a 14-0 run by the Lady Vols across a 3:21 stretch. During that time, Kentucky missed two free throws and two shots from the field and turned the ball over four times.
“I think we stayed composed during the game and just continued to keep our pedal to the metal,” Simmons said. “We just ran on them.”
Tennessee led 46-28 at halftime after shooting 60 percent.
Both teams had 10 turnovers in the first half, but the Lady Vols had scored eight more points off giveaways than the Wildcats.
The 18-point halftime deficit was Kentucky’s largest of the season, but it only grew worse in the second half, with Tennessee’s lead reaching 40 points with 4:37 to play.
Published in The Messenger 2.14.12