LADY VOLS WIN BIG OVER RAZORBACKS, 81-55

Courtesy / UT Athletics

LADY VOLS WIN BIG OVER RAZORBACKS, 81-55

Courtesy / UT Athletics

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A 53-percent shooting percentage from behind the arc and a 21-point effort by Rickea Jackson lifted the Lady Vols to their seventh straight home triumph in a dominant 81-55 victory over Arkansas in Food City Center on Thursday night.  
 
The 55 points represented the fewest scored this season by Arkansas, which entered averaging 73.1 per contest. It also tied as the fewest allowed by Tennessee in 2023-24, matching the total Liberty scored in a 90-55 loss to UT on Dec. 31.
 
Junior Jillian Hollingshead recorded her second double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 rebounds, and senior Jewel Spear was close behind for Tennessee (15-8, 8-3 SEC) with 13 points, eight rebounds, and a career-high seven assists on the night. Their efforts helped move Kellie Harper‘s squad back into a tie for second place in the SEC standings.
  
Taliah Scott was the high scorer for Arkansas (17-9, 5-6 SEC) with 23 points, and Maryam Dauda turned in 10.
 
Jackson sank a 10-footer 30 seconds into play, and Spear followed it up with a trey as the duo went on to combine for 12 points in putting the Lady Vols up 12-0 by the 7:10 mark. Scott drained a three for UA’s first points of the game 15 seconds later, but Tamari Key countered with a layup on the other end to maintain Tennessee’s double-digit advantage. A pair of layups by Jackson put UT ahead 18-5 with 4:35 left in the first and proved to be the first points of a 13-5 run that gave Tennessee its largest first-quarter lead of the season at 27-10. Jenna Lawrence knocked down a three for the final points of the quarter, sending the game into the second period with UT on top, 27-13.
 
Dauda cut the Arkansas deficit to 11 with a trey to open the second quarter, setting off an 8-2 Arkansas run that had the Razorbacks within eight with 4:42 to go in the half. Jasmine Powell hit a layup to end the drought, and an old-fashioned three-point play by Jackson stretched UT’s lead back to 13. Hollingshead added a jumper to make it 36-21, and Scott hit a three for Arkansas on the next play before the Lady Vols ended with four straight points to lead 40-24 at halftime.
 
Powell kicked off the second half with a baseline three, as UT outscored the Razorbacks 7-2 over the first two minutes to lead by 21. Makayla Daniels responded with a three for UA at the 7:10 mark, but an 8-2 Lady Vol run stretched the score to 55-31 by the midway point. Scott and Daniels combined for buckets on back-to-back plays to pull Arkansas within 20, but UT expanded its lead to 26 off treys from Spear and Karoline Striplin to take a 63-37 advantage into the fourth quarter.
 
Scott hit the first points of the fourth with a mid-range jumper, and the teams traded buckets through the media timeout, with Tennessee leading 70-44 with 4:38 left in the game. Daniels drained a three eight seconds later, and Scott followed it up with a jumper to cut the score to 70-47, but the Lady Vols outscored the Razorbacks 11-6 to close out the contest.
 
 UP NEXT: Tennessee has a tight turnaround before No. 1/1 South Carolina rolls into Knoxville on Thursday night. The Lady Vols and Gamecocks are slated to meet in a 7 p.m. match-up on ESPN.
 
RICKEA HANGS ANOTHER 20: Rickea Jackson finished with 21 points vs. the Razorbacks to tally 20 or more for the sixth time this season and for the 22nd time in her career. She ranks sixth all-time at UT and stands one game behind fifth-place Rennia Davis, who had 23 such efforts from 2017-21. Tennessee is 19-3 (.864) in all games and 12-2 (.857) in SEC contests when Jackson scores 20 or more.
 
NICE REBOUND BY JILL: Jillian Hollingshead had arguably her best performance of the season, finishing with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds. It marked her first double-figure scoring effort since Nov. 19, which actually was her last double-double as well with 18 points and 10 boards vs. Troy. Hollingshead now has three double-double efforts for her career when factoring in last season’s 18/12 performance at Mississippi State. The effort vs. UA also marked her fourth game with 10 or more rebounds in 2023-24, including additional efforts vs. Florida A&M (12) and Wofford (10).
 
PULLING DOWN 50+: Tennessee recorded its sixth 50-rebound game of the 2023-24 campaign, pulling down 57 vs. Arkansas for its second most of the year. During the Harper era, UT has recorded 50 rebounds in a contest on 46 occasions in 150 total games, including six with 60+ boards. The Big Orange’s previous year-by-year totals of 50-rebound games during Harper’s tenure include 11 in 2019-20, 7 in 2020-21, 15 in 2021-22 and 7 in 2022-23. UT’s 2023-24 games with 50+ boards:  63 (TROY), 57 (ARK), 56 (MEM), 52 (LIB), 50 (WOF, FLA)
 
STARTING FAST: Tennessee raced to a 27-13 score after the game’s opening quarter, beating Arkansas 12-2 in the paint, 9-0 on fast breaks and 7-0 on second-chance points. The Lady Vols led by as many as 17 over the Razorbacks (27-10, :53), marking UT’s biggest first-frame lead of the season. UT hit 10 of 20 shots (50 pct.) from the floor and four of six (67 pct.) from beyond the arc, with Rickea Jackson tallying 10 points and Jewel Spear eight over the first 10 minutes for the contest.
 
DOMINATING IN THE PAINT: Tennessee used its size to dominate inside, out-performing Arkansas by a 34-16 points-in-the-paint advantage for the game. The Lady Vols burst out to a 22-4 scoring advantage in the lane in the first half, including 12-2 differentials in the first and second quarters. The Razorbacks’ 16 paint points represented the lowest total by any team all season long, with 20 by Middle Tennessee and Wofford ranking as the previous low.
 
SLOWING DOWN THE HOGS: The Lady Vols limited Arkansas to 55 points and 31.9-percent shooting. The point total was UA’s lowest of the season, and the 55 allowed tied for UT’s fewest given up this year with Liberty also tallying that total. The field goal percentage was the second lowest UT has surrendered, ranking second to Liberty (31.0) in that stat as well. In the first half, Tennessee held the Razorbacks to 24 percent shooting and only 24 points. That halftime score tied for the fewest by an opponent this season, matching the 24 of Liberty on Dec. 31 and Georgia on Feb. 1.

Courtesy / UT Athletics

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