TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Tennessee found its lost scoring touch Thursday night.
The Lady Vols put some distance between themselves and Monday’s program-worst 44 points against Notre Dame with an 86-56 SEC women’s basketball victory over Alabama before a crowd of 2,049 at Foster Auditorium.
Usual starter Shekinna Stricklen came off the bench to score a team-high 14 points, leading four double-figure scorers. Glory Johnson added 13 and eight rebounds as the Lady Vols pulled away in the second half.
Kamiko Williams and Isabelle Harrison each scored 10 for No. 7 Tennessee (15-5, 6-1 SEC).
Kyra Crosby scored 15 for Alabama (10-11, 0-7).
After shooting just 27.9 percent from the floor against Notre Dame, the Lady Vols hovered around 50 percent for most of the game against the Crimson Tide before leveling off at 45.1 percent (32 for 71). They also had 22 assists with freshman point guard Ariel Massengale recorded half of that total.
“We were happy with the pace we played,’’ UT associate head coach Holly Warlick said. “Obviously we wanted to score, but we wanted an untempo game.”
Tennessee also wanted a better start and shook up its lineup, giving Briana Bass and Cierra Burdick their first starts of the season. Stricklen’s streak of consecutive starts, which led the nation, ended at 121.
Warlick said that the coaching staff deliberated on its choices until right before the game.
“The ones who started we thought had a good practice after the Notre Dame game,’’ Warlick said.
Although Johnson held her place in the starting five, she got the message that the coaches were sending.
“Some of the starters that were starting before have to pick their game up, myself included,” she said.
The lineup worked because the Lady Vols no longer were facing Notre Dame’s defense and hit their first six shots. Furthermore, Johnson had nine points in the first four minutes.
The biggest problem for the Lady Vols against overmatched Alabama was one of their own doing. Johnson, Stricklen, Vicki Baugh and Meighan Simmons had two fouls apiece before the break. Collectively, the foursome played just 23 first-half minutes.
At times, the Lady Vols had three freshmen on the floor. While the defense suffered, they maintained their shooting accuracy and limited the turnovers to a manageable four. The tradeoff was a 47-32 halftime lead.
UT sacrificed defense and some rebounding for the sake of sharing the playing minutes. Burdick played the most with 31 and everyone had at least 13.
In her 15 minutes, Williams scored 10 points, dished out five assists and committed zero turnovers. It was her best game since returning Jan. 3 from offseason knee surgery.
“This is a game I was looking for,’’ she said. “It was good for my confidence, getting back in the flow of things. Hopefully I can build on it from here. I still have to get there. I have a lot of work to do.”
Stricklen departed after taking a blow to her sore right knee in the second half. Warlick said that she thought the senior forward was fine.
After playing Monday night, junior guard Taber Spani again sat out with a nagging bone bruise on her left knee.
Dan Fleser may be reached at 865-342-6288. Follow him at http://twitter.com/FleserKNS and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/fleser