GREENVILLE, S.C. – Some teams may be able to slow her down, but it’s never easy to stop Rickea Jackson.
After being held to four points in the third quarter, the senior forward scored 16 of her 34 points in the fourth quarter to lead Lady Vols basketball to its second win over Kentucky this week. Jackson scored a season-high 34 points on 10-for-15 shooting and went a career-high 14-for-14 from the free-throw line.
No. 3 seed Tennessee defeated No. 14 seed Kentucky 80-71 Friday at Bon Secours Wellness Arena to advance to its third straight SEC Tournament semifinal. The Wildcats (12-19) kept it a single-digit game late in the fourth, but the Lady Vols (22-10) stayed poised to close out the win.
Tennessee will face No. 2 seed LSU (28-1) on Saturday (7 p.m. ET, ESPNU) in the semifinals.
Jackson recorded her seventh straight game with 20-plus points and added four rebounds, an assist and a block. Jordan Horston had 21 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and seven blocks.
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Tess Darby, Rickea Jackson get Tennessee off to hot start
Tennessee outscored Kentucky 27-17 in the first quarter, and a big part of that was Tess Darby. The junior was a perfect 3-for-3 from behind the arc and had 12 points on four 3-pointers by halftime.
Her production kept the Lady Vols in the lead, accounting for all of Tennessee’s 3-pointers in the first half. Jackson led the team with 14 points at halftime, going 5-for-9 from the field and 4-for-4 from the free throw line.
Darby also grabbed six rebounds, second on the team, to help Tennessee outrebound Kentucky 43-24.
Lady Vols hurt themselves with turnovers
Tennessee had a 10-point lead early in the first quarter – then it had three straight turnovers and Kentucky pulled within two points.
Then the Lady Vols had a 17-point lead in the second quarter. Tennessee followed it with two turnovers and an empty offensive possession and Kentucky cut the lead to six points. By halftime, Tennessee had 10 turnovers and Kentucky scored 19 points off them.
Kentucky kept forcing turnovers in the second half and ended up scoring 38 points of 22 Tennessee turnovers.