Tennessee appeared set up for a follow-up.
A day after the UT men delivered their best performance of the season in blitzing Kentucky by 30 points, another rout was building Sunday evening at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Supposedly well rested after a week off, the Lady Vols breezed to a 14-5 lead in the first five minutes against Vanderbilt, whose lineup was almost unrecognizable at times because of injuries.
But don't let the final 83-64 score in UT's favor fool you. The game didn't match the start for Tennessee, mainly because its defense didn't match its offense.
Little seems to affect the Lady Vols offensively. Rested or fatigued, they usually can score.
Defense is a different matter, as you might remember from an 80-63 loss to Missouri two weeks earlier, or the career-high, 33-point game that Notre Dame's Skylar Diggins dropped on UT the week before that.
If that's not enough evidence, check out Vanderbilt junior guard Jasmine Lister, who too often wasn't checked at all by the Lady Vols.
Lister matched her career high in points with 24. She hit 5-of-11 3-point attempts and was just as adroit driving to the basket against a forgetful defense.
She made it sound as easy as it looked.
"As long as I went slow and read the defense, I could get whatever I wanted," Lister said.
No argument here.
Lister just didn't have enough help. Otherwise, the game might not have gotten out of hand.
Leading by 10 with 5:06 to play, Tennessee outscored injury-strapped Vanderbilt 13-4 down the stretch.
Already deprived of three injured starters, Vanderbilt lost a fourth at halftime when forward Tiffany Clarke became ill. She didn't play in the second half.
Clarke's sudden illness left the Commodores without three of their top four scorers in the second half.
Relying heavily on four freshman, they still had success running coach Melanie Balcomb's pass-oriented offense. They had five layups in the first 12 minutes of the second half during which they shot 50 percent.
"They're difficult to play because they penetrate and shoot the 3," UT coach Holly Warlick said.
She wasn't crediting Vanderbilt's second-half shooting solely to its offensive expertise.
"Defensively, we keep saying we've got to get better," Warlick said. "We've got to be more consistent."
She doesn't cite lack of effort as the problem, nor does she attribute it to a lack of commitment or education.
And in the week between games, defense was stressed repeatedly in practice.
"They know what to do," Warlick said. "They've been taught what to do.
At some point, they have a lapse."
Sunday's lapses often involved leaving the floor. A Commodore would fake a shot and up a Lady Vol would go. A clear shot followed.
Whatever Tennessee gave up defensively, it more than got back at the other end. Six of the eight UT players who scored made at least half of their field-goal attempts.
As good as the Lady Vols are offensively, Warlick isn't oblivious to the danger of an off game.
"There's going to come a time when the ball isn't falling," she said. "Then, your defense and rebounding have to be solid."
The defense was anything but solid against the Commodores.
John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj//twitter.com/johnadamskns.