Jillian Hollingshead vs. South Carolina//Photo via Tennessee Athletics
KNOXVILLE, Tenn.– The Tennessee Lady Vols fell to top-ranked South Carolina 73-60 on Thursday night in Thompson-Boling Arena.
After a big first quarter from Tennessee in which they outscored the Gamecocks 19-10, the Lady Vols fell behind prior to halftime and were unable to ever regain the lead in the second half.
South Carolina outscored Tennessee 23-10 in the second quarter and carried a 17-3 run into the locker room at halftime.
The Gamecocks dominated the board battle in the second quarter, and South Carolina’s performance on the offensive glass significantly helped them take the lead.
South Carolina grabbed 10 offensive rebounds in the second frame and scored six points off of them. On the other hand, Tennessee recorded five offensive boards and didn’t score a second chance point. Overall in the second quarter, the Gamecocks out-rebounded UT 18-10.
Tennessee’s offense wasn’t helping matters, either, shooting 3-16 from the field and 1-13 from two-point range. The Lady Vols struggled to get good looks at the basket and couldn’t find clear lanes to the hoop.
The Lady Vols managed to show some life in the fourth quarter, but after South Carolina had taken an 18-point lead heading into the third quarter, it was too little, too late.
Here are three quick takeaways from the Lady Vols’ 10th loss of the season.
Offensive Rebounds: South Carolina 20, Tennessee 11
South Carolina did a terrific job at attacking the offensive glass all night long, out-rebounding the Lady Volunteers 20-11. South Carolina’s size certainly overwhelmed Tennessee on multiple occasions, leading to more offensive rebounds for the purple and black.
The Gamecocks’ ability to get offensive rebounds were key in their 17-3 run, and it thwarted any chance Tennessee had of getting on a run after the first quarter.
In total, South Carolina scored 18 second chance points, and Tennessee scored just five.
“We had a few offensive boards, and I mean, we looked so excited to get them that we just threw the ball over the basket,” Lady Vols head coach Kellie Harper said when asked about how her team rebounded. “So we have to be able to settle and focus and finish in those moments… About cleaning up mistakes, when you get layups or shots around the basket, you have to make them.”
Gamecocks End First Half on 17-3 Run
Tennessee’s lead after the first quarter quickly went up in flames as the Gamecocks found their rhythm in the second frame.
South Carolina ramped up the intensity on defense and Zia Cooke began heating up. The Gamecocks ended the half on the pre-mentioned 17-3 run, as Tennessee had nothing for Dawn Staley’s top-ranked squad on either end.
The Lady Vols may have entered halftime only down four, but with the momentum South Carolina carried into the break, Tennessee was clearly at a disadvantage entering the second half.
South Carolina Keeps Responding Late in Second Half
Tennessee’s best quarters bookended the game, as the Lady Vols played their best in the first and fourth quarter.
South Carolina had built off their four-point halftime lead in the third quarter, extending the gap to 18 points. Despite Tennessee trailing nearly 20 points heading into the final frame, the Lady Vols continued to fight.
However, no matter how many times Karoline Striplin sparked Tennessee, South Carolina seemingly always had an answer.
“We had some momentum, but they were scoring during a lot of it,” Harper said. “We had some breakdowns in that time, too, and you can’t have those mistakes at that time. You have to be great in every other area because you know they are still going to make plays. I think they hit a couple tough jumpers during that stretch as well where we are making a run, really fighting, but they kept scoring.”
Despite getting outscored by five in the fourth quarter, South Carolina was able to do enough to coast to the victory.
Tennessee will finish regular season play on Sunday against Kentucky in Lexington. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. ET.
Lady Vols Stats vs. South Carolina
-Rickea Jackson logs another 20-point game, her 13th of the season.
-Two of Karoline Striplin’s three-pointers came in the fourth quarter.
-Despite the double-double, Jordan Horston was visibly frustrated throughout the night on the court.
-Tennessee did well in the turnover margin, turning the ball over only nine times.
-South Carolina out rebounds Tennessee 48-34.