OXFORD, Miss. — The Lady Vols closed out the regular season with a commanding victory over Ole Miss, winning 81-56 on 51.8-percent shooting on Sunday at the Pavilion at Ole Miss.
Tennessee (18-11, 7-9 SEC) was led in scoring by Meme Jackson, who hit five threes in route to 20 points while tying her season high of six assists. Rennia Davis and Cheridene Green also were in double figures for UT with 13 and 11, respectively. Evina Westbrook narrowly missed a double-double, tallying nine points and nine assists.
The Rebels (9-21, 3-14 SEC) were led in scoring by redshirt senior Crystal Allen, who turned in 30 points. Freshman Gabby Crawford also was in double digits for UM with 16 points and nine rebounds.
Ole Miss jumped out to a 5-0 lead off back-to-back buckets by Crystal Allen, but Rennia Davis put UT on the board by knocking down a 12-foot jumper just over two minutes into the game. Davis struck again at the 5:34 mark to give UT its first lead of the game at 6-5. The score was knotted at 10-all with 2:20 to play in the first quarter, with Allen accounting for all of the UM’s points. The Rebels then pulled ahead 13-10 off an old-fashioned three-point play by Crawford, but Tennessee closed out the final two minutes of the quarter with a 13-0 run, fueled by two Zaay Green steals, to take a 10-point lead into the second period.
La’Karis Salter knocked down a jumper on the Rebels’ first possession to end the streak, but Rae Burrell answered for Tennessee, knocking down back-to-back buckets to kick off another double-digit run, as UT scored 10 unanswered points to lead 33-17 with 6:10 remaining in the half. Ole Miss rallied back, scoring on two straight possessions, but Tennessee answered with another 10-0 run to lead 43-19 at the half.
The Lady Vols picked up where they left off in the second half, outscoring the Rebels 14-6 in the first five minutes of the third quarter. Davis led UT in scoring in the frame with six points, all of which were scored from the free throw line. She hit her final two charity tosses of the third quarter with 1:07 remaining to put Tennessee up 64-31, but Taylor Smith knocked down a layup just before the buzzer to send the Rebels into the final stanza down 29.
Ole Miss outscored UT 16-8 in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter, led by Allen, who poured in 12 of those points. Tennessee went on to hit 4-of-5 from the floor the down the stretch, though, while holding Ole Miss without a field goal for the final 2:53 to claim an 81-56 victory in Oxford.
Up Next: The Lady Vols will head to Greenville, S.C. to compete in the SEC Tournament. With the win, they will begin play at noon on Thursday as the No. 8 seed versus No. 9 LSU.
Big First Half: UT poured in 43 points in the first half against Ole Miss, the most first-half points Tennessee has scored against an SEC opponent since tallying 43 vs. Arkansas on Jan. 4, 2018.
Meme Back To Her Old Ways: Senior Meme Jackson went 5-of-6 from behind the arc to finish the day with 20 points. It’s the eighth time this season Jackson has hit three or more treys, but the first time she has hit 3+ threes or scored 20+ points since logging five threes and 27 points against Auburn on Jan. 3.
Raining Threes: UT went 8-of-14 from the three-point arc against Ole Miss for a 3-point field goal percentage of 57.1, marking their best percentage from behind the arc this season and their highest total of made treys in SEC play.
Unselfish Basketball: UT had season-high 25 assists on 29 field goals with six different Lady Vols logging at least one assist. It was the most assists Tennessee recorded since tallying 38 against Troy on Dec. 6, 2017. Westbrook led Tennessee with nine assists while Jackson tied her season high of six. The game moved Westbrook’s apg. to 5.3 on the season, placing her third all-time for Lady Vol sophomores behind only Dawn Marsh (5.6) and Lea Henry (5.4).
Cleaning The Glass: The Lady Vols out-rebounded the Rebels 36-32. They have now out-rebounded 24 of 29 opponents on the season, including 14 of 16 in SEC play. UT has now out-rebounded opponents 43.9 rpg. to 34.5 rpg.