In their third SEC match of the season, the No. 9 Lady Vols raced off to an early lead and never looked back against the Missouri Tigers as they remained undefeated in conference with an 84-39 victory.
Sophomore center Isabelle Harrison filled up the stat sheet with 12 points, 15 rebounds and four blocked shots, her sixth double-double of the season.
The Tigers shot under 20 percent on the night and attempted 36 3-point shots.
"Pleased with the win," head coach Holly Warlick said. "Any time you get (a) win, especially at home, and Missouri only getting nine threes, that's exciting for us because we seem to give up threes. It was a great win for us, proud of our kids, but there are a lot of things we can get better at."
Sophomore point guard Ariel Massengale jumpstarted the UT scoring offense, which came into the game ranked first in the SEC scoring 78.7 points per game.Instead of passing the ball off to one of her teammates, Massengale went on to drain the open 3-pointer to give the Lady Vols (12-3, 3-0 SEC) an early 10-3 lead just two minutes into the game.
"I feel like we can play like that the entire game, it just has to be something that comes within us," Lady Vols junior guard Meighan Simmons said about the fast start. "If we play like that for the rest of the time in the SEC we're going to do some really good things, even coming up to the tournament as well."
Harrison highlighted a 22-5 run, lasting over seven minutes, in which she scored seven hard earned points and was a force on defense.While the Tigers (12-5, 1-2 SEC) hit a conference record 18 3-pointers in their previous game against Auburn, their shots weren't falling in the first half.
Missouri only scored two points in the paint the first half against the Lady Vols' stingy defense.
"We knew they were going to shoot the 3-point shot, so we definitely wanted to stop that," Harrison said. "I feel like once we really did that they tried to go down inside, but we're such a presence in there we were able to affect their shot."
In the first twenty minutes of play, the Tigers shot just 6-of-31, including 5-of-14 from three point range and trailed UT 48-21.Harrison led the Lady Vols in first half scoring with nine points to go along with 11 rebounds.Guard Morgan Eye led the scoring attack for the Tigers with nine of her 18 points, which tied Simmons for the game high.
The first half lead was too much for the Tigers to come back from on the road at Thompson-Boling Arena.
"I think no matter what outcome or what the score is, we have to play hard, especially on the defensive end," Harrison said. "That's something I feel that we could have done a little better in the second half. We just need to not let things like that get to us."
UT will now gear up to face Florida (13-4, 2-1 SEC) in Gainesville, Fla. on Sunday at 11:30 a.m.