Lady Vols topple Florida 64-56

Lady Vols topple Florida 64-56

February 8th, 2015 by Associated Press in Sports - College

Tennessee forward Bashaara Graves, right, and Florida guard January Miller struggle for possession of the ball during their game in Gainesville, Fla., on Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015. Tennessee won 64-56.

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — With her team trailing Florida 30-28 at halftime, Tennessee coach Holly Warlick gave the Lady Vols a message.

It wasn't about the game of basketball itself, but rather about her team needing to display energy and heart.

The No. 6 Lady Vols responded to that message, turning their game around in the second half and defeating the Gators 64-56 on Sunday.

"Maybe I need to make my halftime speeches before the game starts," Warlick said.

Isabelle Harrison led Tennessee (20-3, 10-0 Southeastern Conference) with 17 points and Jordan Reynolds added 13 more to keep the Lady Vols undefeated in conference play and pick up their 16th win in the last 17 games.

Tennessee jumped out to an 11-4 lead in the first seven minutes — with all of the Lady Vols' points coming from Harrison in the early run — before Florida (11-12, 3-7) clawed its way back, making nine of its final 17 first-half shots and 6-of-8 free throw attempts to take a 30-28 lead into intermission.

"Florida played hard," Warlick said. "I'm shocked at their record. I just think they've got a solid team and they don't have quit in them."

The Gators extended that lead to five on two separate occasions in the second half before Tennessee went on a 21-6 run over 8:17 to take a 10-point lead with about five minutes to play. Five different UT players scored on the run, with Cierra Burdick leading the way with six points.

Harrison saw limited action in the second half after picking up her third foul of the game less than two minutes after intermission.

But in Harrison's time off the court, Reynolds picked up her play, leading the Lady Vols with 10 second-half points.

"In the second half, we moved the ball much better," Reynolds said. "It was easier for me to get to the basket because the floor was opened up more."

Cassie People led the Gators with 18 points. Ronni Williams, who started in place of freshman forward Haley Lorenzen (concussion), added 11 and Kayla Lewis had 10.

"I loved our fight," Butler said. "I loved how hard we fought and battled and played, especially one woman down."