The Lady Vols looked rather poised for their first regular season game at home with an entirely new starting lineup this year, not to mention Pat Summitt's presence gone from the team bench.
In her first official season home opener, Holly Warlick's 24th ranked team ran away with a 101-48 victory over Rice on Thursday night.
The game featured two of the youngest teams in the country.
Junior guard Meighan Simmons led the way in scoring with 22 points and sophomore forward Isabelle Harrison finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds, for her second double-double on the season. Both shot 8-of-12 from the field and were key factors in bringing home the victory.
"For me I think it means a lot because it's starting her legacy," Simmons said of what it meant to be a part of Warlick's first ever home victory as head coach. "Holly is just one of those coaches that wants to be a great coach and be a great asset to us and not a liability. She wants the best for us."
The two teams exchanged buckets early on. Lady Owls junior forward Jessica Kuster, who was tabbed preseason Conference-USA player of the year, sunk all five of her first attempts from the field and her jumper with 13:51 put Rice ahead by the score of 16-12.
Kuster led the Lady Owls in the game with 16 points, but that wouldn't be nearly enough.
Harrison had an answer on the other end for the Lady Vols (2-1), as she banked in a highly contested shot the possession after for her seventh and eighth points of the first half.
Freshman guard Andraya Carter hit her first three-point basket of her career and her intensity on defense created havoc for the Lady Owls.
Harrison continued her dominant force down low as she scored two offensive possessions in a row keying the Lady Vols 18-0 run, which lasted over a span of five minutes resulting in a 34-22 lead.
Simmons capped off a very impressive first half on offense for the Lady Vols, as she kissed a three-pointer from the right wing off the glass with ten seconds left.
UT took a comfortable 45-27 lead into the break at half.
Harrison led the Lady Vols scorers in the first half with 12 points and also hauled in seven rebounds. Her offense was not the only thing she provided her team with, but leadership as well.
"Isabelle has really grown a lot since last year," Simmons said. "She's made an impact on these younger freshmen who are post players. She goes out there and does her job and does it very well."
The Lady Vols wouldn't let up in the second half either on offense or the defensive end.
Simmons, Harrison and freshman forward Bashaara Graves continued to lead the offensive attack.
The three combined for 27 points in the Lady Vols 29-11 run in the first eight minutes of the second half and from there they would cruise to victory.
Graves finished the night with 16 points and has scored in double digits in all of her first three games.
If tonight was any sign of things to come, Coach Warlick and the team are very excited about where the team is headed especially after being defeated by UTC in the first game of the season.
"I loved the up-tempo," Warlick said. "I love how we are playing on the defensive end it creates a lot of things for us. If tonight is an example of what we need to continue to do I think it is a great sign for us."
The Lady Vols next matchup will be against No. 23 Miami (2-0) at 2:05 pm Sunday afternoon.