Libscomb women routed 110-42 by No. 5 Tennessee

Lipscomb coach Greg Brown knew his team was physically

outmatched against No. 5 Tennessee, so he tried a little baiting

and switching.

However, the Lady Bisons’ attempt to trick the Lady Vols into

trapping the post players on the perimeter in order to open up

scoring opportunities for the guards inside didn’t work as

Tennessee easily cruised to a 110-42 win on Sunday on the strength

of its taller, more physical players.

”That’s exactly what we talked about, the kind of David and

Goliath thing,” said Brown, who served as an assistant coach at

Tennessee from 2003-04. ”We were trying to play a different game

than them. In the first half, we didn’t make any shots.”

The Lady Vols (11-1) scored first against Lipscomb and never

trailed, using a 17-0 run early to build a 25-4 lead with 12:29

left in the first half in the first-ever meeting between the two

programs.

Isabelle Harrison led Tennessee with 26 points and 15 rebounds

in just 18 minutes of play. She had notched a double-double by

halftime with 12 points and 10 rebounds and outscored all Lady

Bisons in the second half 14-13.

Lipscomb (3-8) managed to create some traffic in the lane on

defense, but Tennessee played right through it, outshooting them

57.9 to 22.4 percent and outscoring them 66-16 in the paint.

The Lady Bisons struggled to get clean looks of their own inside

as half of their baskets from the field before halftime came on

3-pointers. It wasn’t enough to keep up, and the Lady Vols pushed

the margin to as many as 35 points and took a 62-29 lead into the

locker room.

The strong paint presence created opportunities on the perimeter

for Tennessee’s Meighan Simmons, who responded to the Lady Bisons’

3s with baskets of her own. Simmons scored 14 of her 15 in the

first half.

Cierra Burdick added a double-double of her own for Tennessee

with 13 points and 10 rebounds, and the Lady Vols finished with a

61-31 advantage on the boards.

”Physically they’re superior,” Brown said. ”Tennessee did a

good job of exploiting and doing what they had to do. They did not

take a possession off. In the end, they were still demanding the

ball inside, they were still working angles.”

Danay Fothergill scored a team-high 13 points for Lipscomb

before fouling out with 13 minutes left.

Tennessee limited Lipscomb’s Ashley Southern, who entered the

game ranked seventh in the nation with 12.4 rebounds per game and

was averaging 16.1 points per game.

Southern picked up her first foul 13 seconds into the game and

her third with more than 6 minutes left in the first half. She

finished with just eight points and five rebounds.

Though Harrison and Simmons led the offensive charge for

Tennessee, the Lady Vols managed to share the load, with the bench

scoring 48 points. Mercedes Russell added 12 and Bashaara Graves

and Nia Moore each had 11.

Lipscomb has lost four out of its last five games, including an

81-46 loss at then-No. 16 Georgia on Dec. 17.

”It was a great experience playing an SEC team like that,”

Fothergill said. ”You learn the little things that we need to get

better at.”

A dominating game is just what Tennessee coach Holly Warlick was

looking for after the Lady Vols suffered their first loss of the

season, 76-70 at then-No. 6 Stanford on Dec. 21.

With Thursday’s Southeastern Conference season opener against

No. 16 LSU on the horizon, Warlick returned to Knoxville with a

laundry list of things to fix against the Lady Bisons.

”Very pleased with the outcome,” Warlick said. ”We had a

pretty tough practice the day we came back. It was mentally

testing, it was physically testing, it was up and down. . I’m

really not surprised the way we played. I think Stanford maybe got

us focused a little bit more.”