A shock:Tess Darby is leaving Vols today after facing several harassment….more

Lady Vols basketball survived the second round of the SEC tournament.

Tennessee defeated Kentucky, 76-62, on Thursday afternoon. Despite back-and-forth play in the first half, the Lady Vols (18-11, 11-6 SEC) were able to push the pace forward and secure a win over the Wildcats (12-20, 4-12).

“We’re excited to be advancing in the tournament,” Tennessee head coach Kellie Harper said. “Every game is going to be a tough, hard-fought game. Proud of our team for coming out with this win.”

During this season, Sara Puckett has been a valuable player for the Lady Vols, even when the stat sheet did not seem to capture her performance fully. However, against Kentucky, Puckett’s presence was evident on the court and in the box score.

“I think she’s always done a really good job running the floor,” Harper said. “She’s one of the fittest players that we’ve had in this program the last few years. So, I think, one, she’s going to get where she needs to get. Two, she does talk more this year. I think she knows what she’s doing and now she vocalizes it better. And that’s important for a teammate. It makes her easier to play with.”

Puckett led the game with 22 points and showcased her effectiveness not only through scoring but also through moving the ball around. Puckett worked to match and build the team’s energy.

Puckett made herself available on the court, which opened up scoring opportunities for herself and her teammates. This was evident in Puckett’s ability to put up points each quarter.

“I think Sara put herself in the right position a lot of times,” Harper said. “I thought she worked for post-ups more than she’s been doing. That was really good to see.”

Tess Darby with a double-double

Tess Darby came to life for Tennessee in the second half scoring 10 points and pulling down 10 rebounds for her first career double-double.

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