Jordan Horston vs. Saint Louis//Photo via Tennessee Athletics
KNOXVILLE, Tenn.– The Tennessee Lady Vols (24-11) blew past Saint Louis (17-18) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday afternoon, dominating the Billikens 95-50.
Tennessee used a tremendous second-quarter performance to take a 24-point lead at halftime and never looked back. Rickea Jackson and Jordan Horston were once again key for Tennessee, combining to score 39 points, and Jordan Walker and Tess Darby each scored in double figures.
Here’s a few quick hitters on the Lady Vols’ blowout win to advance to the second round of the tournament.
Lady Vols Take Massive Lead Entering Halftime
After a back-and-forth first quarter, Tennessee blasted SLU in the second quarter 28-9 to double up the Billikens at half, 48-24.
The Lady Vols ended the first half on a whopping 21-0 run, keeping Saint Louis scoreless for the final 6:35 of the half.
Jordan Horston and Rickea Jackson were unsurprisingly the driving forces in Tennessee’s run, as they ended the half with a combined 27 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Tennessee played well on both ends of the floor in the first 20 minutes. Offensively, the Lady Vols shot 62 percent from the field and 50 percent from three. On the other end, Saint Louis struggled to handle Tennessee’s defensive pressure. The Lady Vols forced eight turnovers and limited the Billikens to a 28.6 shooting percentage.
The Lady Vols led by just five after the first quarter, as Saint Louis hung around well, but Tennessee essentially put the game out of reach with their 21-0 run to take a 24-point lead.
Jordan Horston, Rickea Jackson Dominate
Jordan Horston was phenomenal for the Lady Vols on Friday afternoon. Saint Louis couldn’t handle the senior’s physicality all game in the paint, and Horston was shooting an incredible clip to boot. The Columbus, Ohio, native shot 9-11 from the field and made all three of her free throws.
Horston finished the game with a team-high 21 points and added a team-high eight rebounds on the day. Additionally, Horston filled up the stat sheet by tallying four assists and a pair of steals.
Horston’s counterpart, Rickea Jackson, turned in another big game for Tennessee. Jackson totaled 18 points, marking her 23rd consecutive game scoring in double digits.
The Mississippi State transfer also added three rebounds, three assists, two steals and made a three-pointer on the day. Jackson and Horston were instrumental in Tennessee’s 29-0 run to end the first half and begin the second half, scoring 18 of the 29 points.
Horston and Jackson were the highlights for Tennessee on Saturday, but the team as a whole performed well offensively, finishing the game with a 53 percent shooting percentage from the field.
Tennessee Sets Season-High in Margin of Victory
Tennessee’s 45-point win over Saint Louis marked the biggest margin of victory for the Lady Vols in the 2022-2023 season. The fact Tennessee’s largest blowout victory came against a conference champion in the NCAA Tournament is a telling sign of how the Lady Vols are playing their best basketball at the right time.
The Lady Vols earned the privilege to host the first two rounds thanks to a huge SEC Tournament Semifinals win over (at the time) one-loss LSU. Before that, Tennessee bulldozed their way through SEC play, effectively rebounding after a poor start to the season against a tough non-conference schedule.
Now, Tennessee has earned their biggest win of the season to kickoff NCAA Tournament play.
Tennessee will face the winner of No. 5 Iowa State (22-9) vs. No. 12 Toledo (28-4) on Monday night in Knoxville in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.