Jordan Horston//Photo by Tennessee Athletics
The Tennessee Lady Vols fell short of a double-digit comeback bid against old rival No. 5 UConn Thursday night in Knoxville, losing 84-67 to the Huskies in Thompson-Boling Arena.
After falling behind 16 at the end of the first quarter, Tennessee battled back to cut the Huskies’ lead to four points at half.
However, UConn regained their rhythm offensively out of halftime, going on a 15-8 run in the first 5:20 of the second half. UConn forward Aaliyah Edwards and wing Lou Lopez Senechal were key for the Huskies out of the break, scoring 22 of the Huskies 28 third-quarter points.
Tennessee star senior guard Jordan Horston returned from an illness and led Tennessee in scoring, posting 27 points and seven rebounds. Horston was the reason for the Lady Vols’ second quarter turnaround and made key shots in the second half to keep Tennessee within striking distance.
Ultimately, though, UConn’s offense proved too much for Tennessee, and the Lady Vols lost their seventh game of the season.
Here’s three quick takeaways from Tennessee’s third home loss of the season.
Tennessee Battles Back from First Quarter Deficit
Tennessee did not have an answer for UConn’s offense in the first half. The Huskies dominated the first 10 minutes, outscoring the Lady Vols 33-17 and scoring the most points of any team against Tennessee in the first quarter.
The Huskies were an incredible 15-21 (71%) in the first quarter compared to Tennessee’s 7-17 (41%). However, Kellie Harper’s squad came out of the quarter break with a new defensive intensity. The Lady Vols suffocated the Huskies to just seven second quarter points and outscored them 19-7 in the frame. Jordan Horston was the most significant for the team’s turnaround on both ends of the court, scoring seven points and grabbing five rebounds, with three coming on defense.
Although Tennessee’s defense played well the entire quarter, the Lady Vols continued to struggle offensively. However, Tennessee found their rhythm with just under four minutes to go in the first half.
A Jordan Horston three-pointer sent Thompson-Boling Arena into a frenzy and sparked an 8-0 run for Tennessee to end the half.
Just like that, the Lady Vols trailed the Huskies by only four points heading into halftime.
UConn Regains Offensive Rhythm in Third Quarter
The Huskies did not continue their offensive struggles in the third quarter, outscoring Tennessee 28-19 in the frame. Senechal and Edwards were especially dominant for the Huskies. Senechal shot 4-6 from the field and knocked down a pair of three-pointers while Edwards shot 3-5 from the field and went 6-6 from the line.
The Lady Vols, on the other hand, did not have the same success. Tennessee shot 7-20 in the third quarter, with Jordan Horston scoring over half of UT’s total points in the quarter.
Tennessee only went to the line twice in the third quarter after going five times in the second quarter. On the other hand, UConn made five trips to the line, making nine of 10 free throws as a team.
UT was not able to build momentum in the third quarter like they could before halftime, as Tennessee never went on a run of four points or more.
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Lady Vols Struggle to Find Any Rhythm Late
Jordan Horston made a key three-pointer in the final minute of the third quarter to keep Tennessee within striking distance heading into the final quarter, as the Lady Vols trailed 68-55 heading into the final 10 minutes.
Additionally, Horston opened the fourth quarter with a steal and score, giving Tennessee the most momentum they had the entire second half. But much like the third quarter, UConn had an answer.
The Huskies didn’t skip a beat and were able to shoot very efficiently in the final quarter. UConn shot well over 50 percent in the final frame and coasted to victory
Tennessee couldn’t make any noise offensively on the other end, as UConn’s defense made it incredibly difficult for the Lady Vols to get open looks.
In total, UConn made seven more shots than Tennessee with three of those coming from beyond the arc. When UConn seemingly needed to make a shot to keep a comfortable lead, the Huskies were able to deliver a majority of the time.
The Lady Vols did well at grabbing offensive boards in the fourth quarter and throughout the game, but UConn’s highly efficient offense proved too much for Tennessee.
Tennessee’s tough schedule continues as the Lady Vols will travel to face fourth-ranked LSU on Monday night at 7 p.m. ET. LSU will be Tennessee’s eighth ranked opponent so far this season, and the Lady Vols are yet to log a ranked win.