Graves, Vols too much for Tech

Knoxville, TN - In Sunday’s game against Georgia Tech, the Tennessee women’s basketball team displayed scoring balance befitting of a top-5 team. Bashaara Graves equaled a career high with 23 points to lead four players with double figures and seven with at least seven points and Associated Press No. 4 Tennessee won a non-conference game 87-76 at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Georgia Tech (2-1) had gotten within four points on a jumper by Tyaunna Marshall, part of a strong stretch at the start of the second half that saw Kaela Davis score 15 of her game-high 28 points, but the visitors couldn’t get any closer. It was 70-65 after Sydney Wallace’s field goal at the 6:48 mark, then Tech went the next four minutes without a point as Tennessee (4-0) put the game away with a 12-0 run.

The sophomore Graves also grabbed a career-high 18 rebounds for the Vols, who moved to 6-0 all-time against Georgia Tech.

Davis continued the sterling start to her first collegiate season. The freshman guard from Buford, who was named Atlantic Coast Conference rookie of the week for averaging 20 points and 10.5 rebounds in Tech’s first two games, hit 9-of-20 shots from the field Sunday, though she didn’t score a point from the time her 3-pointer with 10:54 left in the game made it 63-58 until a conventional three-point play with 52 seconds to play.

“The day Kaela Davis signed with Georgia Tech, it changed our program forever,” Tech coach MaChelle Joseph told ramblinwreck.com. “She elevated our program before she ever stepped foot on campus.”

Jasmine Jones hit a jumper that allowed the Vols to equal their largest lead of the opening half at 43-25. Tech fought back and finished the half on an 8-1 run, led by Aaliyah Whiteside (16 points), who had a jumper and was 4-of-4 from the free throw line over the final two and a half minutes as the Yellow Jackets cut their deficit to 44-33 at the break.

Sydney Wallace hit a pair of 3-pointers early, part of a 13-point night for the junior, which got the visiting Yellow Jackets to within 12-8 at the 15:39 mark. But Tech went cold over the next nine minutes, converting only one field goal while Tennessee went on a 17-5 spurt to go up 29-13 on a free throw by Isabelle Harrison (10 points, 18 rebounds).

Tech got within 35-23 on a 3-pointer by Davis at the 5:01 mark before Tennessee pushed the lead back to 18.

Tennessee had a huge advantage on the glass in the first half, out-rebounding the Yellow Jackets 33-18, including grabbing 20 offensive rebounds, thanks to Tech post players Shayla Bivins and Nariah Taylor each being saddled with three personal fouls before the half came to a close. Tennessee finished the game out-rebounding Tech 65-38.

“I’m proud of our team,” Joseph said. “Obviously, we’re going to go back and see how to keep a team from getting 65 rebounds. When we do that, it’s a different ballgame.”

Mercedes Russell had 14 points and Meighan Simmons added 13 for Tennessee. Marshall had 11 of her 13 points in the second half for Georgia Tech, which next visits rival Georgia November 24.