LAARNE, BELGIUM – The Tennessee women’s basketball team improved to 2-0 on its European tour, blowing past KBBC Upkot Sparta Laarne, 106-64, on Saturday night at Gemeentelijke Sporthal.
The Lady Vols, who traveled to Bruges in the morning to explore that city and returned in the afternoon to Ghent for a tour inside Gravensteen Castle, took a while to hit full speed after making the 30-minute trip to Laarne. An 18-0 UT run over the first 5:51 of the second quarter, though, turned a narrow 19-15 first-quarter lead into a 52-25 runaway by halftime.
Junior guard/forward Rennia Davis led five Big Orange players in double figures, hitting 11 of 15 shots to produce a 25-point, 10-rebound double-double. Sophomore guard Zaay Green tallied 15 points, followed by freshman guard Jordan Horston and sophomore guard/forward Rae Burrellwith 14 each and junior center Kasiyahna Kushkituah with 10.
Horston (7-8) and Green (6-7) missed just one shot apiece, while Burrell nearly recorded her second double-double in as many games on the tour, finishing with nine boards. Sophomore guard Jazmine Massengill, meanwhile, was just shy of her own double-double, firing in nine points while pulling down a game-high 12 rebounds and dishing out six assists.
“Right now, it’s good to play a lot of people, a lot of minutes,” first-year Tennessee head coach Kellie Harper said. “We started a little slow today, which could be a result of our travels, but we did a really nice job of changing that, grabbing some momentum and pushing us forward in the second quarter.
“The most important thing for us, I think, is just finding a way to get better each day. It may be little details right now, but that’s going to matter later on.”
UT hit eight of 16 shots in the opening stanza for 50-percent accuracy, but it gave up 15 points to the home team in that period before picking up the intensity in the second frame. UT outscored KBBC Upkot Sparta Laarne 33-10 in the quarter, connecting on 13 of 20 field goals while limiting Laarne to 4-of-23 shooting (.174). Davis tallied eight of her points in that 10 minutes, including six in the opening moments of the second.
UT, which hit 57 percent for the game on 44-of-77 marksmanship, knocked down seven of 14 field goal tries in the third. The Lady Vols, however, allowed 20 to the hosts and headed to the final stanza leading 72-45. UT closed out the contest by knocking down 16 of 27 field goal attempts to outscore Laarne, 34-19, over the final 10 minutes. Davis had 10 points during that quarter to help UT improve to 23-7 all-time on foreign soil, including 16-7 vs. non-NCAA teams.
For the second straight game, UT was 17 of 24 at the free throw line for 71 percent. Tennessee also had command of the glass, out-rebounding Laarne, 62-23, and grabbed 10 steals, including three each from Green and Horston, and two from Burrell.
From a turnover standpoint, the Lady Vols committed 19, but had only one in the final frame. The staff continues to distribute the minutes to get looks at the entire roster, which includes six players who had never suited up for the Big Orange before this season.
The Lady Vols make their way to France on Sunday and will meet Parisian Select at Gymnase Joliot Curie in Brétigny-sur-Orge on Tuesday at 5 p.m. local time (11 a.m. ET) to close out the three-game schedule.