Lady Vols Eliminate Alabama State 95-43

Tennessee (29-4) raced to a 12-0 lead and never looked back as it cruised to a 95-43 victory over Alabama State in the first round of NCAA Tournament action played at Thompson-Boling Arena this morning.

The top seeded Lady Vols used a new starting lineup that featured Shyra Ely in a starting role at the high post with Gwen Jackson taking over the low post role previously held by Ashley Robinson. The switch paid dividends as Ely led UT in scoring with 17 points while Jackson finished with 11 points and six rebounds. Brittany Jackson came off the bench to hit 4-of-6 three-point attempts and finished with 16 points. Courtney McDaniel added 12 points on 3-of-3 shooting and 6-of-7 from the foul line.

Alabama State (20-11) making its first appearance in an NCAA Tournament was led by 6-5 center Crystal Kitt who scored most of her team-high 16 points in the paint. Leading scorer Shameka Jackson was the only other ASU player in double figures with 11 points.

Playing an up tempo game that put a lot of pressure on the ball and created transitional scoring opportunities, the Lady Vols held Alabama State to only 24 percent from the field on 17-of-70 shooting. Tennessee, which improved its NCAA record to 76-15 and 41-0 at home, connected on 31-of-60 from the field and 26-of-33 from the foul line.

After Tennessee opened its early advantage, Alabama State rallied to cut the deficit to six points midway through the opening stanza, but the Lady Vols went on another spurt to build their lead to 13 and went into intermission with a commanding 52-28 cushion.

Tennessee will next meet Virginia in Mideast Regional play on Monday at Thompson-Boling Arena. The eighth seeded Lady Cavaliers knocked off No. 9 seed Illinois 72-56 in Knoxville this afternoon.

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