Lady Vols advance to SEC semifinals with win over Kentucky
The Lady Vols (22-10, 13-3 SEC) opened SEC Tournament play with an 80-71 victory over Kentucky (12-19, 2-14 SEC) Friday at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina.
Tennessee, the tournament’s No. 3 seed, opened a 27-17 lead in the first quarter only to see the Wildcats, the No. 14 seed and defending tournament champions, pulled to within, 38-30, by halftime and trailed, 53-48, heading into the fourth quarter.
Kentucky cut Tennessee’s lead to four points in the final frame, but the Lady Vols pulled away after Kentucky’s Ajae Petty was ejected after pulling Karoline Striplin’s hair.
Tennessee head coach Kellie Harper opted to have Rickea Jackson shoot the free throws. She converted both and the Lady Vols received the ball.
Jackson, who was 14-for-14 from the free throw line, finished with a game-high 34 points, setting a Tennessee SEC Tournament record.
Jordan Horston totaled 21 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and a career-high seven blocks.
Tess Darby scored 12 points as she made four 3-pointers. she also posted six rebounds for the Lady Vols, who advance to play No. 2 LSU in Saturday’s semifinals.
Tipoff is slated for 6:45 p.m. EST.
The Tigers defeated Tennessee, 76-68, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana Jan. 30.
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