NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AFP) – Jordan Hurston scored 16 points and 13 rebounds to lead fifth-seeded Tennessee Lady Falls to a 65-51 victory over Vanderbilt Thursday night for his seventh straight win.
The Lady Vols (16-1, 5-0 Southeastern Conference) also won its seventh consecutive game at the Memorial Gym against its in-state competitor. They have won 13 of the last 14 and are now 31-7 in games played in Nashville in this series.
Ray Burrell had a season-high 11 points off the bench in her fourth game with Tennessee, and Tamari Key added 10 points.
Vanderbilt (10-7, 1-2) has now lost two goals in a row, this time having had his worst shooting performance of the season at 26.7% (20 of 75).
Ianna Moore led the Commodores with 16 points, and Brianna Alexander scored 15 before faltering.
It was the first time Tennessee coach and first-year Vanderbilt coach Shea Ralph met as coaches, though Harper was 3-1 against Ocon when she played guard for her alma mater. Ralph came in 6-6 against Tennessee as a player or assistant coach at Ocon.
In this game, Harper had a size advantage with only three Lady Vols under 6 feet tall. Ralph, who has four new players who have scored 36% of the Commodores’ points this season, has only three players above 6-foot-4.
Tennessee, the only team left undefeated in the SEC, used this volume to counteract the Commodores’ defensive speed and skills.
Vanderbilt led 6-4 on a jump by Kaylon Smith and tied it at a 9 on a 3 pointer by Ianna Moore. Hurston put Tennessee ahead to stay with two free throws, and Lady Falls finished the quarter-finals by leading 9-2 to lead 18-11 after 10 minutes.
They pushed their lead to double digits in the second quarter with Alexus Dye’s jump making it 28-18 with 6:15 left. Lady Vols maintained the lead, beating Vandy 23-12 in the second quarter to take a 41-23 lead at the break.
Vanderbilt missed the first 11 shots in the third as Lady Falls built their lead by up to 25. They advanced 53-33 through three.
Commodores outperformed Tennessee 18-12 in the fourth inning taking advantage of Lady Falls shooting struggles. The deficit was too great to come close.
The Big Picture
TN: The Lady Vols are the best bouncers in the SEC and the nation. They dominated the Vandy on the boards by 50-40 and used the specific size advantage to control the paint, outperforming the Commodores 28-10 inside.
Vanderbilt: Ralph has the Commodores playing improved defense ranked ninth nationally in thefts with Cambridge leading the country entering the game with 64 itself. They harassed Tennessee in 18 turns with 15 steals. But the Commodore should slow down a bit and finish the overclocking chances better.
Tennessee and Kentucky host No. 19 on Sunday.
Vanderbilt visits LSU on Sunday.
More AP Women’s College Basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
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