KNOXVILLE (SUBMITTED) -- The University of Tennessee Lady Vol basketball team cruised to an 86-53 exhibition victory over two-time defending NAIA champions Union (Tenn.) on Sunday at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Union hung tough for much of the first half and drew to within 21-18 before the Big Orange closed the half on an 18-3 run to take a 39-21 lead into the locker room. Tennessee was keyed by the play of sophomore Glory Johnson, who led Tennessee with 20 points and 11 rebounds, both game-highs.
After being critical of her team's defensive performance on Tuesday night against Carson-Newman, UT coach Pat Summitt spoke much more glowingly about today's defensive effort, but emphasized that the team still has improvements to make.
"I thought our defense was better than it was Tuesday night," Summitt said. "We've got to look at the other team's personnel and have a sense of urgency about finding their best shooters. Our two freshmen will get better, but we expect our upperclassmen to know what to do and communicate."
Tennessee got a spark from the return of Vicki Baugh. A junior forward, Baugh had not played since suffering a second torn ACL on Feb. 3, 2009. She entered the game to a standing ovation from the 11,252 fans at Thompson-Boling Arena, something she said really meant a lot to her.
"It was awesome," Baugh said. "It was just a pleasure to be back on the court. I felt like one of the veterans coming back to play with the young kids. It's just been too long since I've been on the court."
Three other Lady Volunteers scored in double figures, led by Alicia Manning's 13 points. Taber Spani and Shekinna Stricklen added 10. UT pulled down 49 boards (20 offensive) to Union's game total of 23 and forced 19 turnovers.
Union head coach Mark Campbell said he was proud of his team's effort.
"We pride ourselves on being able to play on the same level emotionally no matter what is going on during the game," Campbell said. "I think we competed the entire night."
Kayla Hudson led the Lady Bulldogs with 17 points on 6-of-14 shooting, including 5-of-10 from way downtown.
Tennessee will begin the regular season on Friday, Nov. 12 with a trip to Louisville. Tip for that game is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.
Fans are reminded to follow the Lady Vols on Twitter at www.twitter.com/UTLadyVols.
Courtesy: Tennessee sports information