The Tennessee Lady Vols decided to step on the gas in big way Friday afternoon to start the third quarter against Liberty.
The result was a 38-20 scoring advantage in the quarter and a commanding 100-60 win in the opening round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament in Knoxville.
The win keeps the Lady Vols NCAA home streak unblemished at 57 and sets up a match with Oregon State Sunday. The game will be on ESPN2.
The game was never really in doubt as Tennessee built a 50-33 lead midway through the third quarter and wore down the Big South Conference and tourney champs.
Rennia Davis led Tennessee in scoring with 18. Sheridan Green added 15. Five other players were in double figures. The Lady Vols had 30 points in the paint and shot 62 percent.
To their credit, the Flames hung in with the Lady Vols in the first half. Liberty hit 5 of 11 three point shots despite struggling against the Tennessee press. The halftime score showed the Flames down by only 36-28.
Tennessee had plenty of first half free throw attempts but hit only 10 of 18. Despite trying to get the ball inside, Mercedes Russell and Jamie Nared scored only 5 and 4 points respectively.
The Lady Vols used their height advantage and pressure in the third quarter. The Flames tallest player was 6-1. Tennessee pounded the ball inside and built a 74-48 end of third quarter lead. It was only the fourth game the Lady Vols scored over 30 in a quarter.
Oregon State ran to an easy victory over Western Kentucky by a 82-58 margin and should prove to be a much tougher opponent for the Lady Vols.