Lady Vols run past Blue Raiders

The Tennessee Lady Vols used a trapping defense and a quick pace in cruising to a 82-43 victory over the MTSU Blue Raiders Tuesday night.

The Lady Vols went on a 17-0 run to take a 19-7 lead and never looked back in the win.

MTSU was unable to handle the full-court and half-court trap looks Tennessee gave them, which led to 22 turnovers and 15 Tennessee steals.

“We had great intensity on the defensive end. We were aggressive with our traps. I was really proud of our defensive effort,” associate head coach Holly Warlick said.

Freshman point guard Ariel Massengale was active in the press and leaked out for some easy transition buckets on her way to a team-high 14 points.

She also led the team with five assists and came away with two steals.

“It was great, just attacking the basket. At times (this season) I was settling for the outside shot, so just attacking the basket (was key),” Massengale said.

Alicia Manning and Glory Johnson played at the top of the press for much of the night and each had three steals.

Cierra Burdick had a productive night, recording her first career double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. However, Burdick was appreciative of the defensive performance.

“My teammates did a great job getting in passing lanes. We switched to a 2-3 zone and started trapping the wings. That really threw them off,” Burdick said.

Shekinna Stricklen continued to be a consistent scorer for the Lady Vols this season. Stricklen came into the game leading the Lady Vols in scoring at 17.3 points per game average and finished with 10 points.

This night was all about the defense though. The Lady Vols held the Blue Raiders to 28.6 percent shooting in the first half and 23.8 percent for the game.

Tennessee’s length proved to bother the Blue Raiders throughout the night and was a major factor in the poor shooting percentage. The Lady Vols also held a 53-30 rebounding edge.

The Blue Raiders only had two scorers in double figures on the night. Guard Kortni Jones led the team with 16 points but shot just 6-25 from the field. Ebony Rowe added 10 points for the Blue Raiders.

The Lady Vols have a tough stretch coming up with four of its next five games against ranked opponents. They will return to action to face the Texas Longhorns Sunday at 2 p.m. at Thompson-Boling Arena.

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