KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE)- The Lady Vols season tipped off a day later than anticipated after Florida A&M called off their season due to COVID-19 concerns. While it was a day delayed, the wait was worth it for Lady Vol fans as Tennessee posted a dominant performance at Thompson-Boling Arena Saturday against Western Kentucky in their season opener.
Head Coach Kellie Harper said Tennessee’s returners have improved from last year and it showed.
Rae Burrell lead the team in scoring with 18 points and a career-high seven assists.
“Everybody knows Rae Burrell has a high motor and plays hard and you’re always going to get that, ” said Harper. “But now you saw a Rae that’s more confident, a Rae that is very poised, made great decisions…she let the game come to her but honestly, that’s not surprising her game today is exactly how she’s practiced.”
Rennia Davis posted her 30th career double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds to tip off her senior campaign.
Tennessee’s new faces making a big impact early. Western Michigan transfer Jordan Walker added 13 points and four assists, and freshmen Destiny Salary and Marta Suárez combined for 21 points to help the Lady Vols to an 87-47 victory.
11 of the 12 Lady Vols available for the game contributed points, with five players scoring in double figures.
Tennessee shot 44% from the field, and scored 48 points in the paint.
Defensively the Lady Vols held the Hilltoppers to 25% from the field and forced 21 turnovers– scoring 23 points off of turnovers.
Tennessee has won its last eight season openers and 20 of its last 21 after defeating WKU in the two team’s first meeting in the regular season since 1990.
The Lady Vols take the court next again at TBA, hosting ETSU. Tip-off is set for 7 P.M. and the game can be streamed on SECN+.