The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis - Imperial Arena - Nassau, Bahamas

Jackson powers No. 11 Lady Vols past Rutgers

9 days ago
Tennessee Athletics
Photo: Tennessee Athletics

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas - No. 11 Tennessee took a commanding victory in its first game at the 2022 Bad Boy Mowers Women's Battle 4 Atlantis, defeating Rutgers, 94-54, in Imperial Arena on Saturday afternoon.

The Lady Vols (2-2) shot a sizzling 53 percent from the floor, including 48 percent from behind the arc, and were led by senior forward Rickea Jackson who poured in 26 points on 11-of-12 shooting while grabbing six boards in only 20 minutes of duty. Senior guards Jordan Horston and Jasmine Powell were also in double figures with 12 each, as well as redshirt-sophomore Marta Suárez who finished with 10. Powell and Suárez led UT with eight assists and seven rebounds, respectively.

All 15 of UT's active players saw the floor with 12 contributing at least two points toward the final score.

Kaylene Smikle was the high scorer for Rutgers (3-2) with 16 on the day. Kassondra Brown and Awa Sidibe were also in double figures with 12 and 10, respectively.

Tennessee jumped out early to a 7-0 lead started by back-to-back layups from Jackson and capped off with a trey from Powell. Rutgers got on the board just over two minutes into the game off a Brown layup. The Lady Vols went on to lead by as many as 13 before Smikle set off a 6-0 Scarlet Knight run in the closing minute of the quarter that trimmed the Lady Vol lead to 22-15.

RU whittled the Big Orange's lead down to six with a free throw at the start of the second period, but Tennessee responded with an 18-3 run spanning just three minutes and 40 seconds that put UT ahead 40-19 by the 5:13 mark. Eleven of those points were scored by Jackson who racked up 18 first-half points while going a perfect seven of seven from the floor.

Brown snapped the Rutgers scoring drought with a pair of free throws with just over five minutes remaining in the half. The Scarlet Knights scrapped back within 14 at 42-28 off a 7-0 run, but the Lady Vols closed out the half with 10 straight points punctuated by Powell's third 3-pointer of the game just before the buzzer, moving the halftime score to 52-28.

Both teams struggled offensively following halftime with neither scoring until almost 90 seconds into the quarter when Sidibe knocked down a jumper. Horston opened the second-half scoring for UT with a three on the fast break at the 8:12 mark and went on to score eight straight points, building Tennessee's lead up to 30 a minute and a half later.

Kai Carter knocked down a jumper for Rutgers with 6:40 left in the period, but Jackson hit back-to-back layups to set off a 22-0 Lady Vol scoring streak that spanned the rest of the quarter and was contributed to by six different UT players, sending the game into the final stanza with Tennessee up by 50 at 82-32.

Sidibe opened the fourth with a jumper to cut the deficit down to 48, but Jackson responded with a layup that was the first of six straight Tennessee points to give UT its largest lead of the game at 88-34 with 8:07 to play. The Lady Vol reserves got some quality minutes during the closing minutes, with sophomores Kaiya Wynn and Karoline Striplin both logging two buckets apiece as Tennessee road out the clock to a 94-54 victory.

UP NEXT: The Lady Vols will be back in action at noon on Sunday, facing undefeated UCLA (4-0). The contest will be streamed on FloHoops (subscription required) and can also be heard on Lady Vol Network radio stations and by audio stream.

MAKING RUNS: Tennessee was explosive offensively against the Scarlet Knights, posting three double-digit scoring streaks of 11-0 and 10-0 in the second quarter and a 22-0 run in the third. Entering today's match, UT had yet to post a double-digit run during the 2022-23 season.

BIG TIME BENCH PLAY: All active players on UT's bench saw the floor against Rutgers, combining for 37 points and 23 rebounds. Suárez led that effort with 10 points and seven boards, while Karoline Striplin scored her first points of the season, finishing with six.

SUÁREZ GETS HER GROOVE BACK: Redshirt-sophomore Marta Suarez, who missed last season due to injury, turned in 10 points against the Scarlet Knights, marking her first 10-point performance since dropping 10 against UConn on Jan. 21, 2021.