Harrison returned from a holiday break at home with family to score 26 points and grab 15 rebounds in just 18 minutes of play in the fifth-ranked Lady Volunteers’ 110-42 win over Lipscomb on Sunday.
“It helped a lot because I missed my family. Sometimes you need that grounding to just get you back to realizing what you need to do,” Harrison said. “We came back, and everybody was ready to work.”
A dominating game is just what Tennessee coach Holly Warlick was looking for after the Lady Vols suffered their first loss of the season, a 76-70 decision at then-No. 6 Stanford on Dec. 21.
With Thursday’s Southeastern Conference season opener against No. 16 LSU on the horizon, Warlick returned to Knoxville with a laundry list of things to fix against the Lady Bisons.
“Very pleased with the outcome,” Warlick said. “We had a pretty tough practice the day we came back. It was mentally testing, it was physically testing, it was up and down. . I’m really not surprised the way we played. I think Stanford maybe got us focused a little bit more.”
The Lady Vols (11-1) scored first against Lipscomb and never trailed, using a 17-0 run early to build a 25-4 lead with 12:29 left in the first half in the first-ever meeting between the two programs.
Harrison led the way, notching a double-double by halftime with 12 points and 10 rebounds and outscoring all Lady Bisons in the second half 14-13.
The Lady Bisons (3-8) managed to create some traffic in the lane on defense, but Tennessee played right through it, outshooting them 57.9 to 22.4 percent and outscoring them 66-16 in the paint.
Lipscomb struggled to get clean looks of its own inside as half of its baskets from the field before halftime came on 3-pointers. It wasn’t enough to keep up, and the Lady Vols pushed the margin to as many as 35 points and took a 62-29 lead into the locker room.
The strong paint presence created opportunities on the perimeter for Lady Vol Meighan Simmons, who responded to the Lady Bisons’ 3s with baskets of her own. Simmons scored 14 of her 15 in the first half.
Cierra Burdick added a double-double of her own for Tennessee with 13 points and 10 rebounds, and the Lady Vols finished with a 61-31 advantage on the boards.
“Physically they’re superior,” said Lipscomb coach Greg Brown, who was an assistant coach at Tennessee from 2003-04. “Tennessee did a good job of exploiting and doing what they had to do. They did not take a possession off. In the end, they were still demanding the ball inside, they were still working angles.”
Danay Fothergill scored a team-high 13 points for Lipscomb before fouling out with 13 minutes left.
Tennessee limited Lipscomb’s Ashley Southern, who entered the game ranked seventh in the nation with 12.4 rebounds per game and was averaging 16.1 points per game.
Southern picked up her first foul 13 seconds into the game and her third with more than 6 minutes left in the first half. She finished with just eight points and five rebounds.
Though Harrison and Simmons led the offensive charge for Tennessee, the Lady Vols managed to share the load, with the bench scoring 48 points. Mercedes Russell added 12 and Bashaara Graves and Nia Moore each had 11.
Lipscomb has lost four out of its last five games, including an 81-46 loss at then-No. 16 Georgia on Dec. 17.
“It was a great experience playing an SEC team like that,” Fothergill said. “You learn the little things that we need to get better at.”