Davis, No. 23 Lady Vols ease past Georgia 73-56

Tennessee forward Lou Brown (21) gets the pass while guarded by Georgia guard Kaila Hubbard (12) during an NCAA college basketball game in Knoxville, Tenn., on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020. (Saul Young/ Knoxville News Sentinel via AP)

KNOXVILLE — With all but one player on the Tennessee basketball team six-feet or taller, the No. 23 Lady Volunteers have used their size and post play all season long to get out to the 12-3 record they carried into Sunday’s contest against Georgia.

That is why Sunday’s performance against the Lady Bulldogs came as a surprise to even them.

Using their 3-point shooting, UT picked up their third SEC win of the season at Thompson-Boling Arena, taking down UGA 73-56. The Lady Vols (13-3, 3-1) were 8-of-12 from the 3-point line in the game with Lou Brown, Rennia Davis and Jazmine Massengill each hitting two threes.

“When you make shot, you’re really good,” Tennessee coach Kellie Harper said. “I think, for us especially, when we make shots, we’re a really good team. We just took open shots (tonight). We did a good job of finding the open person.”

Up by 10 in the fourth quarter, Tennessee’s 3-point shooting allowed them to put the game away. Davis hit a three to make it 60-47 and then Brown hit another right after, forcing a Georgia timeout as the crowd went wild.

“Those threes were huge for us,” Davis said. “I feel like that sealed the game for us, especially Lou’s three. That was just great momentum and confidence for her to catch and shoot. That was good for us.”

Brown had a season-high 12 points to go along with three assists. It was the first time Brown had double-digit point totals since the very first game of the season against ETSU.

It was a normal day for Davis on the court, leading the team with 17 points as well as totaling six rebounds and four assists. Jordan Horston had 14 points along with six rebounds and seven assists. Horston is averaging 10 points, six rebounds and five assists this season as a freshman.

“We feed off each other,” Horston said. “When one person hits a shot, it just motivates us. And we stay in the gym too. Our coaches stay on us about taking good shots too.”

Tennessee shot 52 percent from the field and assisted on 20 of their 28 made baskets. Defensively, the Lady Vols held Georgia to 39 percent from the field and 4-of-21 from the 3-point line. They also forced 15 turnovers.

After giving up 20 points in the first quarter, Tennessee’s defense was on lockdown for the remainder of the game. UT held the Lady Bulldogs to nine points in the second quarter and 27 total in the second half.

“They shot 69 percent in the first quarter, so I would hope that you have 20 points off that,” Davis said. “I think that a lot of looks they have in that quarter were open, we ran into a lot of screens. But after that quarter, we were able to adjust.”

Georgia falls to 10-7 on the season and 1-3 in SEC play. Maya Caldwell led the Lady Bulldogs with 13 points while Gabby Connally had 11.

The Lady Bulldogs were the team to get off to a quick start on Sunday, scoring 20 points in the first quarter and leading UT 20-19. Tennessee came out in the second quarter flat, failing to score for over five minutes as Georgia built their lead to four.

However, Tennessee turned the table with four minutes to go in the half. The Lady Vols went on a 14-4 run to close out the frame. Davis had four during the run and Horston had five straight that gave Tennessee a lead they would keep for the remainder of the game.

“I think that we are playing with confidence (offensively),” Harper said. “I think they understand the big picture right now. They understand what needs to happen offensively. The calls that Jazmine and Jordan are calling out on the floor right now makes sense. They have a good understanding what needs to happen to score the ball.”

The run continued out of the locker room to start the third quarter, scoring 12 of the first 17 points of the quarter. Brown had five during that stand and she and Massengill each hit 3-pointers. The lead stayed around 10 for the rest of the quarter and the start of the fourth quarter until Davis and Brown hit their back-to-back 3-pointers.

Tennessee will be back in action on Thursday, travelling to Gainesville to take on Florida. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network +.