No. 16 Vandy's frustrating history in Knoxville continues with 81-53 loss to No. 8 Lady Vols
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Vanderbilt's history of road futility against Tennessee will continue for one more season.
One month after beating Tennessee in Nashville, No. 16 Vanderbilt posted its lowest point total of the season Monday and fell 81-53 in a rematch with the eighth-ranked Lady Vols.
Vanderbilt (17-6, 6-4 SEC) has never beaten the Lady Vols (20-4, 9-2) at Knoxville in 29 attempts. The Lady Vols never trailed Monday and put the game out of reach when Vanderbilt missed its first 12 shots of the second half.
"They just dominated us inside," Vanderbilt coach Melanie Balcomb said. "They used their height this time. We really, from the tip, had trouble guarding their size inside. They buried us. They were on the boards, and basically in the paint we got killed. They were very aggressive from the tip at doing that, which they weren't last time."
Tennessee outrebounded Vanderbilt 34-20 and outscored the Commodores 36-18 in the paint. The presence of Tennessee center and Nashville native Isabelle Harrison made the difference.
Harrison, the daughter of former Vanderbilt defensive lineman and assistant football coach Dennis Harrison, had played just 10 minutes before fouling out of Tennessee's 74-63 loss at Vanderbilt on Jan. 12. Harrison, a 6-foot-3 center and Nashville native, stayed out of foul trouble Monday and scored 18 points while shooting 8 of 10 as Tennessee handed Vanderbilt its most one-sided loss in this series since an 89-53 Tennessee victory on Feb. 18, 1999.
"Ever since we lost in Nashville, I've been kind of upset about that in my mind," Harrison said. "I feel like let my team down, my coaches down. And since it was in Nashville, I felt I let my family down. I really wanted to play my best and take care of business."
Meighan Simmons scored 22 points for Tennessee, which clinched its 38th consecutive 20-win season. Andraya Carter added 11 points, seven assists and five steals without committing a single turnover.
Christina Foggie scored 22 points and Marqu'es Webb added 12 points for Vanderbilt. Foggie shot 5 of 6 from 3-point range and scored 15 points in the first half to keep Vanderbilt in the game, but she cooled off after halftime. Jasmine Lister, who scored 21 points in Vanderbilt's victory over Tennessee last month, had just eight points Monday.
Vanderbilt was held without a basket for the first 9 minutes, 25 seconds of the second half.
"It was a little frustrating," Lister said. "I think because we didn't get stops on the defensive end, that made us tight on offense."
Harrison made her first seven shots and scored 14 points in the first half to help Tennessee grab a 42-31 lead at the intermission. Tennessee made its first six shots overall.
The Lady Vols broke a 12-12 tie and took the lead for good with an 8-0 run featuring a pair of Carter steals that led to baskets.
Foggie kept Vanderbilt in the game by shooting 5 of 6 from 3-point range in the first half, but she wasn't getting much help.
Once Foggie cooled off in the second half, the game got out of hand.
"We definitely felt like we were still in the game (at halftime) and that we had a very good chance of coming back," Lister said. "We just didn't execute our game plan in the second half."
Tennessee opened the second half on an 18-2 run by turning up its defensive intensity. Vanderbilt missed its first 12 shots of the second half and trailed 60-33 by the time Lister finally sank a 3-pointer to end the drought with 10:35 remaining.
"When you get beat down in Nashville, you're not happy campers," Tennessee coach Holly Warlick said. "We haven't been happy for a while. Yeah, we had a little chip on our shoulder, and I loved it. I love that we're competing. I thought tonight we played every play like it's our last play."