When the brackets were set two weeks ago, St. Mary's complained immediately that its seeding did not represent its season or its talent. The Gaels came into Thompson-Boling Arena for the opening rounds on a mission for respect.
After the March 18 matchup against St. Mary's, the Lady Vols have nothing but respect for the underrated ninth seed.
The Gaels jumped out to an early lead, pulling ahead by six at one point. Tennessee, though, used its trademark defensive pressure to turn the game around; Tennessee was up 49-41 at the half.
St. Mary's cut the UT lead to three before the Lady Vols put them away. A solid effort across the boards settled the game Tennessee had only nine turnovers, out-rebounded St. Mary's 44-28 and produced 21 assists.
First Round: Lady Vols 90, Austin Peay 38
In Tennessee's first round matchup against in-state opponent Austin Peay, the Lady Vols got off to a slow start, pushing ahead to only a 17-7 lead at the 11:29 mark. At the half, UT converted its rebounding edge into a 17-point scoring edge, 38-21.
Minutes into the second half a 3-pointer from sophomore guard Lawson settled her into the record books. Lawson broke the UT career record for three-point shots made, despite the season being only her second.
By the 13:34 mark, the Lady Vols had exploded to a 51-25 lead. Despite the cries of its fans of Let's go Peay, APSU could not overcome an awful shooting performance; it would take nearly 10 minutes before the Govs scored again.