In an up and down top ten matchup, the Lady Vols were able to gut out a win in Columbia, but perhaps the biggest break came before the game even started. Star South Carolina senior A'ja Wilson was declared out prior to tipoff. Tennessee took advantage.
The first half was an offensive affair for the Lady Vols, putting up 43 points. It's the most amount of points South Carolina has given up in the first half all season. Mercedes Russell rolled, scoring 14 points in the first twenty minutes of action.
The second half started out with much of the same, Tennessee hit its first four shots, including a three pointer from freshman Evina Westbrook.
But, the Gamecocks would slowly chip away the lead, with the help of 18 turnovers from the Lady Vols, and things got dangerous in the 4th quarter. South Carolina junior Alexis Jennings made a free throw with 5:46 left to cut a once 18-point lead down to just 4.
The Lady Vols showed poise over the final five minutes however, going on a 16-4 run to close out the game against the No. 9 Gamecocks. During that stretch, Jaime Nared scored five points and Evina Westbrook scored 9.
The Lady Vols bounce back after losing to Texas A&M in overtime, moving to 16-1 on the season, 4-1 in conference play. Next up, a road matchup against No. 2 Notre Dame on January 18 at 7 p.m.