After a difficult stretch in the first half, the Lady Vols pulled away to comfortably defeat the Lady Sun Devils. Much was made of Arizona State's lack of quality shooting going into this game, and that was accurate. Even though the Sun Devils dominated the middle part of the first half, they ended up only shooting 26% from the floor once the first 20 minutes were up (and 40% for the game). Arizona State came back after a rough first few minutes (as Tennessee jumped out to a 10-2 lead) to lead 18-17 at 8:38 remaining. Those were the last points they scored in the first half, as Tennessee went on a 16-0 run to close it. From there, Tennessee let off the gas a bit, as the second half was relatively even.
Tennessee didn't play particularly well aside from Shekinna Stricklen and Glory Johnson. Stricklen in particular held the fort down with a 13-2-1-1 line at the half. Johnson didn't do as well scoring, but 8 boards (3 offensive) helped keep the margin respectable. Stricken ended up with 18-5, and Johnson ended up with 12-14. If it wasn't for Stricklen's first half and Johnson's second half, this game would've been uncomfortably close.
Where was Meighan Simmons, you ask? On the bench for nearly the entire first half after picking up two early fouls and ineffective in the second half until the game was well out of hand. Of course, she went on a tear once the game got out of hand, hitting four shots in a short timespan to at least get to double digits again. Basically, her game was foul-foul-foul-score a lot-foul-foul. On the whole, it was a day to forget for her. Angie Bjorklund came back to earth, too, going 0-for-4 from beyond the arc.
Oddly, it was Kamiko Williams who provided the surprise of the night. She turned in a very solid night at the backup PG spot with a 12-5-2-2 - although, like Simmons, a good chunk of her points came in garbage time. Taber Spani chipped in with a nearly identical 10-4-2-1.
This may be the kind of game we'd like to ignore going forward, though - it was just generally ugly. Tennessee ended up shooting 45% (didn't get close to that until very late), didn't play well in the for long stretches of the second half (although admittedly, the game was never really in doubt; ASU never got within 13 and then started fouling out), spent a good portion of the game being outrebounded, and shot a positively Kentucky-men's-team-like 54% from the line. Maybe they were getting ahead of themselves, as the Paradise Jam is going to present a much tougher challenge than an overmatched Lady Sun Devils team traveling cross-country.
Glory Johnson is your player of the game. The next set of games takes place over Thanksgiving weekend, as the Ladies head to St. Thomas for the Paradise Jam. Games against Missouri, Georgia Tech, and top-15 Georgetown are coming up.