No. 9 Lady Vols stay perfect on season, beat Georgia State

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tamari Key scored 16 points to lead No. 9 Tennessee to a 84-60 victory over Georgia State on Sunday.

The 6-foot-6 Key, who also collected 11 rebounds, was one of five Lady Volunteers (9-0) in double figures. Keyen Green scored 14, Sara Puckett had 12, Brooklynn Miles 11 and Jordan Horston 10.

“We were hoping Key had a final (exam) and wasn’t going to show up,” Georgia State coach Gene Hill quipped. “We tried to do the work early and box out. We went a little overboard and got into some foul trouble. We had to try to do it by committee.”

Taniyah Worth scored 13 for Georgia State (4-5), which had no answer for Tennessee’s size. The Lady Vols controlled the boards, 62-33.

“If you ask any of our players about the priority of the coaches, it’s rebounding,” Tennessee coach Kellie Harper said. “We work on it and have high expectations. We drill it on both ends of the floor. Our players have taken great pride in it.”

Tennessee committed 19 turnovers and shot just 39% (29 of 74) from the field and 25% (5 of 20) from 3-point. With defending national champion Stanford on the horizon next Saturday, Harper was looking for improvement in some of those numbers.

“We wanted to take care of ourselves more than anything,” Harper said. “It wasn’t necessarily for Stanford. We tried to clean things up throughout the game and get some people extended minutes. We just tried to be a little bit cleaner with all our stuff.”

Miles, Puckett and 6-3 Karoline Striplin are three freshmen who have had to shoulder more of a burden this season since standout senior Rae Burrell suffered a knee injury early in the season.

“We’ve told (the freshmen) that any game at any point they may be called on,” Harper said. “They’ve got a great attitude about it.”

Georgia State is only the second team (the other was Texas) to score at least 60 points against Tennessee.

“When we pass and execute, we get in the best rhythm,” Worth said.

“I always talk about sharing the ball,” Hill said. “These players know how much I like to score. But shooting (28%) from 3 (10 of 36) is not good.

ODDS & ENDS

Tennessee’s victory over the Panthers was win No. 1,410 in the program’s history, compared with 351 losses. … Burrell, the top scorer back from last year’s team, remains out indefinitely. … Marta Suarez, another starter this season, will miss the entire year after having foot surgery.

BIG PICTURE

Georgia State: Georgia State will continue its season relying on experience. The Panthers returned five players who started at least 10 games in 2020-21.

Tennessee: The Lady Vols have had fourth-quarter comebacks in four games this season to remain undefeated. They continue to gain confidence while playing without injured starters Burrell and Suarez.

UP NEXT

Georgia State: The Panthers host Florida A&M on Tuesday in a tuneup for next weekend’s GSU Classic featuring Tulsa and Charleston Southern.

Tennessee: The Lady Vols have a week off to prepare for defending national champion Stanford, which visits Thompson-Boling Arena next Saturday in Tennessee’s first marquee game as a top-10 team.

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More AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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