The second half was a complete reversal from the first as the Lady Vols turned up the dial on defense. The defense was switched to a full-court press, immediately accounting for several forced turnovers by the Mocs, eventually leading to a 80-56 Lady Vol win at Thompson-Boling Arena on Thursday. UT-Chattanooga's discomfort was immediately noticeable as its first half shooting percentage of 40.7 took a drastic hit in the second half, decreasing to a lowly 22.9 percent. This was the third time this season the Lady Vols held an opponent to under 30 percent or less shooting.
The Lady Vols struggled out of the gates after the early departures of Ariel Massengale and Bashaara Graves. Within the first five minutes, Massengale found herself in foul trouble, and Graves closely followed her to the bench after picking up her second foul.
Freshmen step up
Fellow Oregonians and lone freshmen on the Lady Vols squad saw a dramatic increase in playing time, due in part to early foul trouble. With Massengale picking up two early fouls, guard Jordan Reynolds saw herself playing a larger role at the point guard position, logging 22 minutes, while registering nine points on 4-of-6 shooting. Similar to Reynolds, center Mercedes Russell was called on early in substitution for Graves. Russell proceeded to dominate the paint, totaling 15 points.
Moore playing time
Nia Moore saw the court for the first time this season after not tallying a single minute in the first two games of the season against Middle Tennessee State and North Carolina. She logged 12 minutes of play with four points and five rebounds, contributing essential minutes for the Lady Vols with the other forwards exiting due to early fouls.
Coming into the game only hitting 5-of-20 for the season and 1-of-8 from beyond the arc, senior guard Meighan Simmons continued to struggle on the year. After another slow start to the night, Simmons was only able to hit 4-of-13 shots on the evening, accumulating a meager 10 points. On the season, Simmons is now 9-of-33 (.273 percent) shooting. She is fourth on the team in scoring and has now only hit 2-of-13 from three-point range.
Massengale, who returned from foul trouble in the second half, hit three shots from beyond the arc to give her four on the night and a total of 16 points. This gave her nine 3-pointers on the season, a change in fortune from last season where she only accumulated 11 all season.
Revenge is sweet
The Lady Vols exacted revenge on the Lady Mocs for an 80-71 upset from last season. The then-No. 20 Lady Vols were playing in their first game under Holly Warlick.
Seven players came up with four or more rebounds for the Lady Vols, leading to a decisive advantage at rebounds with 50-33.