You know the saying it was over before it started? It was made for games like this. Arkansas's first field goal (a three) came with 13:54 left in the first half. Their first field goal from inside the arc came with 5:43 left in the first half (why yes, that is 8:11 between field goals).
It was 25-5 by that point. All told, it was a record-setting night for a couple of reasons: Arkansas tied their record for the lowest number of points in a half with 11, and it was 31-11 at the break. The second half ...well, the Ladies tried on D in the second half and that was about it. The offense was lackluster, but there were more pressing arrangements on the schedule by the time they came out in the second half.
The other record? Glory Johnson entered the Lady Vol annals as the fourth player to reach 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in her career. She joins Tamika Catchings, Chamique Holdsclaw, and Sheia Frost in that exclusive company. (Yes, she's in a group that even Candace Parker couldn't join in her ...well, three years, so yeah she would've made it but it sounds cooler this way.) It would've been nice to have her break 1,000 boards in Knoxville - preferably during that Georgia demolition job - but given the crowd, it was pretty close to a home crowd by that point anyway.
Not surprisingly, Glory also brings home the breadsticks. 15/14, 3 steals, 2 blocks, 6 offensive boards, and approximately 80 fouls drawn against her. Game notes below the fold.
Next up: the fun starts. Kentucky, at Kentucky, on Thursday. 7 PM tip. Kentucky will be the seventh ranked team Tennessee's faced this season, and the fourth in the top 11. A'Dia Mathies is still around, but Victoria Dunlap isn't, not that it's stopped them. They're 13-2 with 2 wins over top 10 opponents, both at home. I'd say more, but I bet Hooper's going to have 1,500 words on that game alone. Bring a snack.
- I can't give enough credit to the team defense this game. Simply outstanding, even after the offense checked out in the second half. Arkansas shot 18% from the floor and only broke 30 points because they shot 15-16 from the line. Arkansas's leading scorers combined to shoot 1-13 from the floor, and if that shot attempt number looks low, that's because Sarah Watkins spent most of the game in foul trouble.
- Shekinna Stricklen came out of her shooting slump just in time. 8-12 from the field, 2-6 from beyond the arc (not great, obviously, but do the math and figure out how she shot inside the arc), and 8 boards. Good night from her, but not outstanding, and if 19/8 is good but not great, well, that's what happens when you're an All-American.
- Ariel Massengale didn't have the shooting night she had against Georgia, but 3-8 is at least enough to draw a defender, and 5 assists to 0 turnovers is a pretty good ratio, isn't it? (That being said, the rest of the team had an A/TO of 0.55, so ball control wasn't great. It wasn't spectacular in the first half either, so it's not something I can easily blame on sloppiness in the second half.)
- Again, defense. I wouldn't expect sub-20% every game out, but after wrecking Georgia's offense, I'm not particularly scared of any set-operating offensive team. That being said, Kentucky runs, so it's going to be a different challenge.
- One of our own was at the game; credit to Joe for making more noise than the entire Arkansas contingent combined. He gets the lozenges of the game. Good effort.