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AP photo by David Crigger / Tennessee women's basketball coach Kellie Harper reacts to a call during the Lady Vols' season opener last Tuesday at East Tennessee State in Johnson City.

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. — The Tennessee women's basketball team survived 41 points from East Tennessee State guard Erica Haynes-Overton and defeated the Buccaneers 72-68 at Freedom Hall in Kellie Harper's debut Tuesday night as head coach.

The Lady Volunteers host Central Arkansas on Thursday at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Zaay Green had 17 points to lead four Tennessee players in double figures. Rennia Davis had 13 while Tamari Key and Lou Brown scored 11 each. Key added 12 rebounds, five blocks and three assists, while Davis had 10 rebounds. Jordan Horston scored only four points but had six assists, a team high.

Here is the Good, the Bad and the Verdict from the win:

 

THE GOOD

The Lady Vols' second unit provided a much-needed spark in the first quarter. With the team down 10-4 at one point, the second unit went on a 13-0 run propelled by defense. Lou Brown scored nine of her points during the run, while Horston infused some energy despite playing out of control at times. Key was a presence inside throughout the game with her rebounding and shot blocking.

 

THE BAD

The fouls. Tennessee was whistled for 17 infractions in the first 20 minutes of the game, with the Bucs making more shots at the line (11) than from the field (nine). The long-range shooting — expected to be an issue this season — wasn't there, as the Lady Vols made just three 3-pointers in 18 attempts.

 

THE VERDICT

Nobody would dare suggest that the Lady Vols looked good Tuesday. Their deficiencies — shooting, experience — were glaring. But it was a win for Harper, something that neither Pat Summitt nor Holly Warlick did in her first game. Tennessee will be a work in progress all season, and Tuesday was just the first installment of what could be a long road ahead.

For more coverage, stay with the Times Free Press.

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @genehenley3 or at Facebook.com/VolsUpdate.

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Tennessee's Lou Brown yells to her teammates after hitting a 3-pointer against East Tennessee State during an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, Johnson City, Tenn. (David Crigger/Bristol Herald Courier via AP)
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