GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The No. 24/25 Lady Vols picked up their third-straight SEC win on Thursday, defeating the Gators in Exactech Arena, 78-50.
Junior Rennia Davis, playing in front of family and friends who made the drive over from Jacksonville, led the effort for Tennessee (14-3, 4-1 SEC), finishing the day with 18 points and five rebounds. Sophomore Rae Burrell was also in double digits with 11 points.
Freshmen Lavender Briggs and Brylee Bartram led Florida (11-7, 2-3 SEC) with 11 points each.
Florida scored on its first three possessions to jump out to a 6-2 lead, but Davis and Jordan Horston combined to tie it up at six by the 6:39 mark. Rae Burrell converted on a three-point play to give the Lady Vols the lead at 9-6, but Florida countered with a layup by Williams to pull within one heading into the media timeout. Davis poured in six points coming out of the break and Burrell knocked down a pair of free throws, while UT held Florida without a field goal for the remainder of the quarter. Zada Williams hit a free throw for the Gators in the final minute to end the dry spell and cut Tennessee’s lead to 17-9.
The Lady Vols picked up where they left off in the second quarter, extending their run to 11-1 off a Massengill old-fashioned 3-point play on their first possession. Davis and Brown also got in on the action, hitting jumpers on back-to-back possessions to put UT up 24-9 with 8:29 remaining in the period. Nina Rickards broke the slump for UF, knocking down a jumper just under two minutes into the quarter. Six different Lady Vols poured in buckets to help their squad lead by 20 with three minutes remaining, but Florida knocked down two long-distance jumpers to close out the half down 16 at 40-24.
The second half started out slow with neither team finding success offensively until Lou Brown hit a jumper two and half minutes in. UF remained scoreless, while Horston and Brown each hit treys to put UT up 48-25 by the media timeout. Bartram ended the drought for the Gators with 4:15 left in the period, hitting back-to-back buckets for five points to pull UF within 19 at 48-29. UT answered with an 8-0 run to lead by 27 with 1:41 remaining in the quarter. The Gators countered with four fast points to enter the fourth quarter down 56-33.
At the start of the fourth, Burrell and Kasiyahna Kushkituah combined for four quick points, putting UT up by 27 just over 30 seconds into the final stanza. Midway through the period, Bartram hit back-to-back threes to give UF a spark, but the Lady Vols stayed hot offensively, closing out the game 78-50.
The Lady Vols return home for a Monday match-up against Alabama. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. and the contest will be broadcast on the SEC Network.
Who Says You Can’t Go Home?
Junior Rennia Davis, a Florida native from nearby Jacksonville, put on a show for her home state, knocking down 10 points in the first quarter alone. She went on to finish with 18 points and five rebounds in 28 minutes of action.
Turning The Tables: After falling behind 6-2 in the opening minutes of the game, Tennessee put together a 26-5 run over 10 minutes to lead 28-11 by the 7:19 mark of the second quarter.
Cashing In On Turnovers
Tennessee forced 16 turnovers against UF, turning them into 27 points to account for more than a third of the UT’s total points on the night.
Thunder From Down Under
Freshman Jessie Rennie continued her sharp-shooting ways, going 2-of-4 from beyond the arc against Florida. She is averaging 60.9 percent over the last nine games. Her season 3-point shooting average of .447 leads the team.
Owning The Line
UT hit nine of 10 free throws against Florida and is 57 of 71 in SEC play, shooting 80 percent from the free-throw line in conference games.
The Lady Vols shot 53 percent on the night, marking the eighth time this season and the third time in SEC play they have hit at least half of their shots. That occurred only three times during the 2018-19 season.